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How to manage the relationship between tenants and landlords

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Last week, the dryer in your apartment stopped working. You emailed your property manager, but they haven’t responded. Plus, they’ve sent you notice that the unit that you’ve been renting for the past five years will increase in cost on your next contract renewal. What are your rights? Who do you talk to?

Judy Maybury of JBM Realty provided us with some advice and resources so that both property managers and tenants know how to best communicate with each other, and to share who is responsible for what.

Judy Maybury

The Property Manager acts on behalf of the owner while generating income. They are responsible for all property management services, to both tenants and landlords, including: all financial arrangements, government required documentation, dealing with contractors and suppliers for upkeep and refurbishment of rental units.

If a tenant feels that they need an advocate, they should find out if their unit is under rent control, (meaning an Annual Rental Value (ARV) of $22,800 or less). If it is, they can contact Consumer’s Affairs – Rent Commission or view their website for information on Rent Control Properties at consumeraffairs. bm

For properties not under rent control, a tenant can contact a property lawyer, arrange for a summons to go to court, and/or settle by arranging for arbitration in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Rules.

“Before proceeding with any measures,” shares Judy, “I would advise the tenant to review the Landlord and Tenant Act 1974 and the Rent Increases (Domestic Premises) Control Act 1978 as this will assist in determining if they will move forward and the process to action their issue(s).”

As for repairs, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to communicate with the landlord regarding any maintenance issue(s) in a timely manner assuming that the repair or maintenance issue(s) are part of the landlord’s obligation.

“I would recommend that the tenant document electronically/written format and send photos if applicable to the landlord,” explains Judy. “This will assist in expediting the repair and allow both parties to have backup support for maintenance issues to eliminate or reduce any potential future disagreements.”

When it comes to rent increases, rental units are covered by either of the aforementioned Acts. These laws exist to make sure that landlords offering residential housing units for rent operate fairly with their tenants and ensure that the legal rights of landlords and tenants are protected.

For properties not considered under rent control, there are no guidelines for calculating a rent increase. Any escalation of rent would be required to be mutually agreed between the two parties -landlord and tenant.

Do you feel you are being ignored by the landlord/Property Manager?

“Communication, transparency, compliance and understanding of their responsibilities as per lease and laws applicable to landlord and/or tenant obligations are essential for a mutually beneficial rapport with a landlord or Property Manager,” Judy explains. “I would also advise tenants to ensure that they always do their part to take care of the property as this shows respect for the landlord.”

When problems arise Judy recommends that you first try to arrange a meeting by putting this request in writing. If that request is not fruitful, contact the Property Manager’s supervisor (if applicable) and if there is still no response or resolution, contact the Rent Control Office on 297- 7700 if your property is under Rent Control.

It is important to note that the Rent Commission serves as a source of information, guidance, intervention, and referral for landlords, tenants, and the public who may have concerns and issues relevant to landlord and tenant matters. They safeguard the rights of landlords and tenants and encourage them to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.

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