Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Landlords Screwed in Ontario

Take it From One Small Landlord to Another

My friend, Scary Fundamentalist, on Canada's left coast has taken the time to look at Barba Hall's insane human rights rental housing policy, and has thoughts on the Landlord perspective particularlyin this post, Scary Fundamentalist: Impending Ontario Housing Shortage: What Landlords "Should" Do.

Barb Hall and her advisers have shown just how much out of touch with reality they are over on the liberal side of nonsense as SF notes here:
The policy makes some “suggestions” to landlords under the heading “You [landlord] can advance human rights in housing”. The same heading is not present in the instructions to victims tenants.

Obviously, the OHRC considers that only tenants have rights, and not landlords. It does not recognize a landlord’s right to his own safety, security, and self-determination of his own property, most likely because the type that draft these policies don’t believe in private ownership of property to begin with.

It, of course gets worse for the landlord, who is about to become an endangered species in Ontario, so get one while you can. Where landlords could properly screen their prospective tenants, Barb says this is now discriminatory. you want to see discrimination. Watch the rental units come off the market. That is still a valid way of discriminating. SF says this:

Does a landlord have a right to the income derived from his property? Obviously not – (s)he is forbidden to determine whether a tenant has enough income to pay the rent (other than a ridiculous 100% threshold).

Does a landlord have a right to keep his premises safe by screening out potential troublemakers? Not according to the OHRC. Landlords cannot consider a lack of rental history or past references as a negative. Someone who has a bad rental record only needs to refuse to disclose it. There are no other “acceptable means” by which unsavoury tenants can be refused accommodation.

And, now once you have them, how do you get rid of them. it was tough before. It will now become impossible. Read on:

Can a landlord remove “disruptive” tenants? Nope. As a landlord, you “should assess your role to see if there are things you can do as a landlord to help the situation”. In other words, disruptive tenants are the landlord’s fault. As I pointed out earlier, the OHRC says that a disruptive tenant may be acting that way because (s)he is already a victim of discrimination, and it is incumbent on the landlord to rectify the situation. Get the picture? Tenants are victims, while landlords are obligated to solve all their problems.

Barb will be issuing landlords with red capes as they go forth and solve the problems of the world while they do the following:

Landlords are “encouraged” to develop anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, which, of course, cannot be enforced against anybody of a “protected” group because that would be discrimination in housing. Landlords are also “encouraged” to “remove barriers”, which will invariably throw up barriers to others, giving the OHRC even more opportunity to use punitive measures to figure out which “barriers” are higher up on the victim hierarchy. Not to mention, any anti-harassment or anti-discrimination policy could constitute a barrier, right?

Landlords are also responsible to “maximize integration”. At the same time, landlords will also have to deal with complaints of harassment from tenants who resent such attempts to integrate. Oh joy, even more complaints generated for the OHRC.

So, what's a landlord to do? Ignore the policy. May as well. Who can afford it, certainly not the tenants in increased rent, and not the landlord in loss of peace of mind. As SF says:

All of these “suggestions”, including inclusive design, education and training programs, and further Human Rightsish generalizations, would cost any landlord dearly if they were fool enough to carry them out. Either such costs would be passed on to the renters, driving up the cost of housing, or landlords would go broke, reducing housing supply. Is that what you really want, Barb?

Maybe it is what she wants. As supply diminishes and rents skyrocket due to OHRC regulations, it will become obvious that the only way to operate affordable rental property for low/no income earners under such rules is for the author of those rules, the government, to nationalize the housing market and subsidize everything.

As Barb moves us all to the left, with new rights, we can learn to do the Barb Hall Goose Step.

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