The Ontario government will invest $19 million over the next three years in an attempt to clear the backlog at the province’s Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), which is still struggling to resolve disputes after its pandemic shutdown.
The LTB closed for five months in 2020 and began moving hearings online as lockdowns barred access to in-person services. Since then cases have piled up, with some landlords and tenants waiting almost a year for their dispute to be heard.
Announcing the $19 million windfall, the Ontario government said the funds would be used to appoint more impartial adjudicators and support additional technology as the LTB looks at staffing up and providing more services online.
“We recognize the important role the Ontario Land Tribunal plays in the province’s housing supply, and we remain committed to the principled and timely resolutions of the matters before us,” said Greg Bishop, Alternate Chair for the Ontario Land Tribunal. “This investment will allow the Tribunal to schedule hearing events and issue decisions quicker and more efficiently than before.”
New hires at the board would consist of both full-time and part-time adjudicators alongside more case processing staff, giving the LTB the ability to scale up in every department.
And with plans to improve the board’s digital platforms, landlords and tenants will be able to efficiently and easily manage their applications online via tools like video conferencing, payment portals, and electronic document filing.
The investment is welcome news for Toronto landlords who are feeling the strain after a year-long rent freeze and becoming increasingly frustrated at the slow pace of application processing.
Dealing with disputes
Whether you’ve been waiting to evict a problem tenant, or trying to negotiate a new lease condition, tenant disputes are never easy. Lengthy delays only add to the level of stress and anxiety as both parties wait for their chance to air their concerns at a hearing. Then there’s the added wait for any judgments, appeals, and restitution.
While extra funds should help ease the immediate backlog at the LTB, it’s still not somewhere you want to be if you can avoid it.
That’s why it’s important to cultivate a good relationship with your tenants where possible. Take the time to get to know them and let them know that you’re accessible and approachable if they’re having any issues. If a tenant feels they can come to you with a problem, you have a chance to work through it before it ends up before the LTB.
Remember to stay on top of repairs and other maintenance so the property is safe and comfortable for your renters. And be mindful of the fact that it is their space – tenants appreciate landlords who respect their privacy and have the courtesy to not show up uninvited or unannounced.
If it does appear that you and your tenant have reached an impassable stalemate, don’t be afraid to take formal action. Sadly, terrible tenants do exist and opportunistic scammers will take advantage of lenient landlords.
For complete peace of mind, consider hiring a property manager who will take care of any tenant relations so you can sit back, relax, and let them handle the headaches.
At Highgate Property Investments we offer full-service property management, including stringent vetting of prospective tenants and tenant management. We’ll collect the rent, handle problems, and deal with any disputes that arise. Our professional and highly-experienced team has helped hundreds of GTA landlords make the most of their investment, contact us today to see what we can do for you.