Landlord Licensing

September 17th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Landlord Advocacy, Rental Property

In today’s landlord news, the Toronto Sun talks about a initiative from Cheri DiNovo an NDP MPP to pass a members bill to force landlords to get a license.

The idea is based on a report by a former rental agent Carolyn Peters that during the course of her workday, she had to show bed bug infested units to new potential tenants. Here’s me acting surprised, the last time I was working as a rental agent, we had to show units that had cockroaches too, and that was before bedbugs started to be a problem. We all learned to go in ahead of our showings and sweep up any cockroaches that were dead from the last spraying. We also learned to act surprised when getting cockroach reports.

Landlord Licensing Is A Stupid Idea

First of all what are you going to do if a landlord doesn’t renew his license? How is this going to be enforced? Are all the low income tenants going to have to move as the landlord is shut down? Are you going to sell his building? So you can see that without a “what if” this is just another stupid cash grab. All the landlords would definitely sign up if the bedbugs would leave if they didn’t have a license!

What landlords need is a low cost method of getting rid of bed bugs!

Bedbugs are here to stay unless landlords can start to get rid of bedbugs for around $100 – $200 per treatment. Unless they get funding to pay for the shortfall. We can’t afford to pay several months rent just to get rid of bedbugs. That’s the bottom line. I’m not sure where people got the idea that landlords are rich. Most of the building belongs to the bank, not the landlord. Mortgage payment, utilities, property taxes all take a huge chunk out of what’s left. Rent is used to pay all that stuff. What’s left over is small.

Toronto Public Health Will Have To Take A Stand

We already have a great pest and compliance system in place for restaurants. If a restaurant has a pest or safety problem they get a yellow or red sign and have to clean it up. What a great idea to implement this in buildings. People already understand how this works and so there is a minimum amount of education required.

A similar sign could be posted right outside the front entrance of every building, a tenant reports a bedbug (or cockroach?)  problem to Public Health and the sign changes until the bedbugs are verified to be gone by a health inspector. People who live there and people who are coming to rent will be immediately notified when there is a problem.

As soon as the offending cockroaches or bedbugs are gone, the building gets good status back. Finito.

Landlord Don’t Want Bed Bugs !

We don’t want them but we can’t afford to treat them either. Get us some funding or solutions we can afford.

No one has even come close to addressing the problem created because lots of tenants don’t have the means to do all the work required to do their very considerable half of the bed bug eradication process. Mental illness, age, illness, family situations all make it very difficult for tenants as well. Most tenants can’t afford to throw out all their stuff. That means the bedbugs come back.

Landlord Class

Now this is a another good idea from your favorite blog. Landlord class, where the basics of landlord rights and responsibilities could be learned. How to fill out an N-4, how to screen tenants and so on. I can’t tell you how many landlords are not even giving tenants applications to fill out, have no leases, and don’t know the first thing about Landlord & Tenant Law. Make it cheap like $200 for five classes and you’re all set. I volunteer to teach!

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