Warning : Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts – Water Bill Edition

February 16th, 2012 · 14 Comments · Landlord Advocacy

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Ignore this post at your peril, landlords of Ontario. Back in this post in 2010 I was upset about the City of Toronto’s Water Billing Tactics where you can hardly even send a bill to your tenants and they must pay $26 per bill to get it sent to your rental property in their name. If the bill doesn’t get paid by your tenants, no worries, it just gets transferred to your taxes. Why would you have a problem with that? You’re a landlord and therefore rich.

Tenants Treated As Subhuman

First of all these policies are very discriminatory against tenants as they remove the right of the tenant to not pay their bill without the landlord knowing – violating their privacy. They also penalize all tenants by not treating them as equals. Everybody else gets to pay their own bills. Tenants should also have the same rights as other people to get chased by collection agencies and have to provide deposits for services if they don’t pay their utilities. Landlords already know that many tenants are deadbeats and won’t pay their bills; however it’s not really our problem to collect the water charges for the city from the tenant. We have enough problems dealing with rental payments.

Landlords Expected To Pay Instead

The landlord rents the property in good faith to a tenant who they believe will pay their rent and utilities. They do not use the water, they cannot cut the water off if the tenant doesn’t pay for it and it’s a total miscarriage of justice to expect landlords to pay for the water bills. Every other business that provides services has a collections department, including landlords. In fact our ability to collect from tenants is already seriously impacted by the ridiculous delays enacted by the Residential Tenancies Act. To collect water bills from a tenant we would have to go to Small Claims Court at our own expense. How cool is that?

A Little Bit Of History…

I often hear the question… “How did it get so bad?” or “Landlord have no rights” For the most part this is true and there has been a marked erosion of Landlord Rights in this province because landlords allow themselves to be divided. For example our Water Billing issue was enacted in different cities at different times. It doesn’t affect each landlord right away. For the most part tenants do pay their bills. One poor sucker at a time the landlord gets the bill. At that time they are outraged, but $500 water bill is not enough to go to court for. Maybe he collects from the tenant. Eventually it will be your turn to take the hit on the water bill.

It’s the same with the Residential Tenancies Act and the delays there. In Toronto you can expect 6-8 delays for the sheriff. That’s two month’s rent! But again it’s only a few landlords at a time, and it’s not you. So no one does anything.

Landlords Working Together As A Cohesive Group

I’ve said for a long time that landlords need to get together and work as a cohesive group. Just because in your city right now your water bills aren’t being transferred to your taxes doesn’t mean they won’t. It means now now, not yet. So when I was contacted by Kayla Andrade a landlord in Cambridge who is getting a petition together and going to Queen’s Park I was more than happy to help and give her additional information.

Do You Want To Make A Difference?

Right now, we’re working on getting all landlords in Ontario to sign a petition. That’s it. Take five minutes of your day and download the form and fax it or scan and email it or mail it to Kayla. Make a difference for landlords.

Petition

Fax to: 1-647-724-1619

Email : andrade_k1985@hotmail.com

Mail To: Kayla Andrade, 6 Glen Road, Cambridge On, N1R 4L2

Call Kayla: 1-519-740-7903

Spreading The Word

Download the form, attach it and email all your friends and family and as many people as possible, share this post on Facebook and Twitter. Please folks care enough about your fellow landlords to make a difference. Seriously.

 

 

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Lewin

    I’m a tenant (who pays his bills) and completely agree with you. If Toronto Water is concerned about a particular person’s credit (tenant or not) then make that individual leave a deposit.

  • Dom

    How about having the landlord “include” the water charges in the rent (and mark up the rent accordingly)?

    • Devore

      Is it a fixed utility cost, or metered? I don’t know, haven’t had to pay for water, ever.

      • Rachelle

        Devore,

        Water is metered so you pay for what you use. As for water bills and paying for water it usually depends on which kind of apartment you live in. Townhouses can also not be metered and the complex will pay for it.

    • Rachelle

      Dom,

      If you have existing tenants you can’t do that. Also for houses and townhouses it’s standard for the tenant to pay for water, hard to jack up the rent when everyone else is not including the water. Also as for most utilities it’s really hard to estimate what people will use. From a conservation standpoint it’s also bad as tenants who don’t pay their own utilities use 30% more

  • passive income

    I totally agree that it is ridiculous how ontario construct the landlord and tenant act. They consider landlord a piece of cake and everyone can take a slice for free. What we want is just some passive income so that we can retire happy. Instead of income, it soon become nightmare. Including the water charges is not ideal because the tenants tends to abuse it. It is not good for the environment too…. Like that Ontario care. We talked about green energy act all the time, but the truth is this is only for politics, no one really care about the outcome.

  • Kayla Andrade

    Dom …Normally that would sound like a good idea but it some cases tenants stop paying rent , which means the water bill is not being paid . This issue has to be the Cities problem and Landlords should not be the middle man . We are Landlords not debt collectors or Mom and dad . With this protest we are going to save Ontario Landlords and the affordable housing of Ontario

  • Kayla Andrade

    Yes …I been real busy contacting everyone and talking on the phone with our other Watch Team Members lol This protest is going to go a long way . Bottom line …No one should pay for someone else DEBT .

  • tanvir.

    thank you so much,kayla,to taking this on,no one has,done this and city have suckers ,ll,s to pass on every thing they can on law obiding ll.i mean how unfair are most of tenants ,rules,sooo bad.one time one police man told me rantel laws are made for tenants because in elections lot more voters are tenants and landlords are less.

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