All statements below are my opinion & what I know to be true within the Toronto area at the time of writing them.
Laws may change, so please always check with a government site or official before taking my word for anything.
So it came to my attention a few years ago that Americans have a LOT more regulations in place when it comes to landlords, while at least here in Ontario, landlords get away with murder.
Tenants are for the most part treated like 2nd class citizens & generally (not always) the landlords win every case in the Tribunal.
After being ripped off regarding a rent to own scam, I learned a lot more about the whole Landlord & Tenant situation within the Toronto area. It was my first time going to court for a really big case having to defend myself against a landlord who had ultimately ripped me off.
Of course who won? The landlord.
During my many months defending myself, I learned the following:
- About 90% of all cases brought to the Tribunal are brought by the landlord, NOT the tenants. I know for a fact that most tenants either just move to avoid having to face the landlord in court, they don’t complain because they know nothing will ever be done, or a 3rd option is that they pay for the problem to be fixed even though it’s not their house so the landlord gets their house fixed for them free of charge.I believe this is why there is a constant war going on between landlords & tenants. I know that the minute the landlord lies to me or starts to disrespect me, I lose all respect for their house & while I would never go out of my way to harm the house I live in, I no longer care about keeping it as if it were my own.Why should I, they don’t respect me, so I don’t respect them.
To show you how bad the situation is amongst tenants, one time just as I was moving into a house, the guy living in the basement ran out to warn me about the landlady & what a bitch she was. He said I shouldn’t move in.
He told me he’s had water from rain flooding in his apartment for months, & she won’t fix the problem. I asked him why he didn’t take her to court. He just shrugged his shoulders. He planned on moving out within the next day or two.
That tells me that tenants just don’t want to deal with the stress, or they think they won’t win anyway which is most likely true. So, they just grin & bear the abuse.
Remember, moving is one of the top 3 stressors in life. People don’t want to have to move if they don’t have to.
I know that in every single house I’ve ever rented, the landlord has NEVER wanted to fix any of the problems & they either stalled in fixing the problem, or they brought in cheap unlicensed unskilled handymen instead of real contractors so essentially the problem still remained.
Since I was 18, I’ve lived in probably 10-15 different houses within the Toronto, Ontario area & it’s always been the same abuse. Either the house is freezing, the toilets don’t work, there is mold, the dishwasher doesn’t work well, the water pressure in the house is terrible, the lights don’t work, cupboards are broken, etc.
In that house where the guy in the basement warned me… in the end he was right. The slum landlord had had around 7-10 different tenants going in & out of her house (that’s how much mail was piling up) & the utilities were in HER name, so when it came time for winter, the gas company REFUSED to turn the gas on because she didn’t pay her bill. Can you believe that???
I called the property standards branch which is a joke, had them come over & you know what they said…
Because I didn’t have a lease, it was as if I didn’t live there, so there was nothing they could do about it.
I went the entire 3 months with NO heat in the dead of Canadian winter & no one cared. They didn’t even care that there was a child in the house.
Then the slum landlord was allowed to put the house on the market & I had no choice but to allow tons of people into MY HOME on a constant basis.
I was told this is the scam she pulls in order to get the tenants to move out. Once they move out, she changes her mind about the house going up for sale & she rents it out again.
- I also learned that most tenants don’t even know the laws that protect them. For example, in Ontario, a landlord can not tell you that you can’t have a pet, yet in 98% of all rental ads they say “no pets”.
- Most of the laws protecting tenants are not enforced & as you will see below, whatever laws that do exist, they definitely do NOT measure up to what the US has in place for their tenants.
- A lot of the adjudicators don’t even know the laws & make tons of mistakes in court.
- Lastly, I could tell that the adjudicator for my case was against me & for the landlord.That’s the problem, these people who judge these cases have biases against tenants because they are home owners themselves, & maybe some of them have also been landlords or they have a friend or family member who’s been a landlord, so in my opinion, there’s no way they can be partial to the situation.I know that almost ALL landlords think that all tenants are scum. I’ve even talked to governmental officials who let their disdain for tenants shine through during the conversation.
Here is what I learned about the States… If I don’t say otherwise, here in Ontario we do NOT have any of this available to us tenants in the Toronto area.
- Each municipality has a body that overseas the tenants’ rights.
- All landlords have to be licensed.
- Lawyers can not show up in court to represent landlords or tenants because the Tribunal (not sure what they call it in the States) isn’t a criminal or civil court.
- They aren’t adjudicators, but actual REAL judges who know the law.
- Landlords have to paint the entire house before a new tenant moves in.
- Landlords have to clean or replace the carpet before a new tenant moves in.
- In some cities there are associations that help the tenants if they are having problems with the landlord.All the tenants have to do, is call up, explain what is going on with the landlord, & the association takes over to fight their cause.In some cities there’s even a hotline tenants can call, like 311.
- In some cities there are housing inspectors that inspect the condition of the house, the quality of the contractor’s work, etc.
- Landlords can NOT put a house up for sale while there is a tenant living in there.
- The gas company can NOT prevent the tenant from having gas in the home, even if the landlord has not paid the bill.
- Not sure if this is a law in the US, but over here in Canada, the landlord does NOT have to disclose why you aren’t getting the rental property even if they promise it to you verbally. This allows for gender, ethnic, single mother discrimination, etc. which of course has happened to me several times & I’ve been told I’d get the house & then within a few days or a week, suddenly they aren’t returning calls, or I hear I’m not getting the house & I just wasted my time.
So you be the judge of which country you’d like to live in. Your home is your most precious commodity, it is supposed to protect you & make you feel safe.