Archive for March, 2012


well that didn’t last long…….

RBC raises mortgage rates, signals end to price war

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest mortgage lender, is increasing its rates.

The move is a sign that the mortgage price war could be drawing to a close as banks seek to reinflate their profit margins.

RBC announced Monday that its special rate on four-year fixed-rate mortgages will be increasing by half a percentage point to 3.49 per cent.


..courtesy of the Globe and Mail.


Interesting piece on NBR


Bank of America is trying a new tactic to help struggling home owners- providing the owners meet certain criteria, 60 days late with their mortgage, failed attempts at getting out of the hole, the bank will take over the title, and rent out the house to the current owners. Sounds like a win-win, but definitely a great idea for the bank to pick up these houses at for a low cost, and having tenants in place is half the battle.


the value of reading……


No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

– Confucius


In any business, field, or hobby one must continually strive to learn more, to become better at what you do, and in our case, to separate ourselves from the competition.  I was asked the other day what I read, how I stay current in my field.

Well, I read my fair share of books, usually reading one fiction book and one non-fiction book at the same time.  There are good real estate investing books out there – check out Chapters and get a couple!

I also read some business and industry mags – Canadian Real Estate Magazine is pretty good – every month they feature investors that have grown their portfolios substantially, some good tips about getting the maximum return from your investments, and financial experts that discuss proven strategies to get you access to capital..

Check industry blogs as well…I’ve heard the AG Secure blog is pretty good (shameless plug), but there are others as well that have full-time writers contributing their knowledge – check them out, you have nothing to lose, and only knowledge to gain!


it’s the law (rent increases)…


Many questions are asked by both landlords and tenants about rent and the increases that a landlord can and will charge.  There are different rules depending at what point you are at – negotiating a lease or already into a tenancy agreement.

When a unit is vacant, and a landlord is looking to rent the unit we have what is known as a ‘Free Market Rent System”.  The landlord has the right to establish whatever rent they want to charge, and the tenant has the right to negotiate whatever rent they are willing to pay.  Once both parties come to an agreement, then everything changes.

Upon an agreed upon rent and lease, the rental unit now typically falls under what is known as “Rent Control”.  Simple rules are as follows:

  • Increases can only happen once every 12 months
  • To do an increase, a tenant must be given at least 90 days notice
  • The maximum increase allowed without an application to tribunal is set by the provincial government.  (It is based on the previous year’s rate of inflation)
  • You can’t go back and retroactively increase for past years

For 2012 the increase guideline set by the province of Ontario is 3.1%.  A landlord may decide to increase a tenants rent any amount between 0% and 3.1%.  This increase has to be provided in writing to the tenant using the proper form through the Tribunal, and must be delivered at least 90 days before the increase takes effect.  Once increased, there can’t be an additional increase for a period of at least 12 more months.

There are some conditions where increases can be greater than 3.1% but these require an application to Tribunal, and approval on such an increase.

As a side note, some things to consider when giving an increase:

  • If you are already at the top end of the market rent in the area, could an increase force a great tenant to look somewhere else and possibly cost you a vacancy?
  • If your unit is at the low end of the market rents you should look for the maximum increase available.
  • If your increase timetable is at the end of the year you might want to check out next years increase rate before processing.  For example, the 2011 increase was 0.7% .  If a landlord put an increase through for November, then the maximum they could get for 12 months was 0.7%.  But if they waited to Jan 1, then they could put an increase through for the full 3.1%.

It’s the Law ! (an intro)


Many people, both landlords and tenants, get a little confused sometimes about where the rules that apply to rental properties actually reside in the province of Ontario.

So in order to just shed some light on a few of the frequently asked questions, we thought it would be best to help answer those questions in a few of our blog updates.

In Ontario, the rental of residential properties falls under the Residential Tenancies Act  (RTA), and are interpreted and enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board (part of Ontario’s social justice tribunals cluster).

The representatives of the board for the purpose of hearings are considered “Members” and are non elected representatives.  These individuals are appointed to listen to tribunal cases and then interpret the facts that they are presented with and apply the Residential Tenancies Act to those facts.  They are not judges, and as such they have varying interpretations of the act.

The Residential Tenancies Act, does not apply to the following:

  • Room rentals within your personal property
  • Commercial rentals
  • Hotel room rentals
  • Rent to own agreements
  • Storage rentals
  • The legal status of an apartment (basement Unit)

Looking forward we will discuss some of the following topics;

  • Rent increases
  • No Pets allowed
  • Security Deposits
  • Subletting
  • Notices for landlords and tenants
  • Applications to the board
  • Hearings process
  • Eviction process
  • Advertising and screening of tenants (Ontario Human Rights Act)

another property to manage starting next month…..

20 inquiries in 3 days…..Newmarket is hot!



this just in…


Mortgage rates slashed to 2.99% at CIBC, TD, RBC and BMO.

…definitely a good time to have mortgages up for renewal..




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