An April 1st Rent “Strike” Seems Inevitable in the Face of COVID-19 Outbreak

We’ve never seen anything like this. Not even remotely. A state of emergency. All non-essential businesses closing. Hundreds of thousands of people working from home or already out of work. The past few weeks in Ontario have been nearly impossible to believe. Every day another update, another extension of the COVID-19 crisis, another financial promise or accommodation. So why would paying rent be any different? RELATED:  What Toronto Condos and Apartments Are Doing to Stop the Coronavirus Ontario to Lower the Cost of Hydro for the Next 45 Days: Report Toronto Residents Granted 60-Day Grace Period to Pay Utility Bills Tenants Warned After Resident in Downtown Condo Tests Positive for Coronavirus At a time when mortgage deferrals and slashed rates are available for homeowners, why would anyone expect that a province currently having its economy brought to its knees would be filled with renters who will still be able to ante up their rent payments on April 1? It simply, and quite literally, doesn’t add up. I urge all landlords across the city to do what they can to help tenants who suddenly find themselves in very different circumstances due to this pandemic. — John Tory (@JohnTory) March 24, 2020 Combine this with the recent suspension of all evictions in the province, and landlords throughout Ontario will have little, if any, recourse once a tenant does not pay their monthly rent. The Landlord and Tenant Board is closed until further notice and is not hearing any cases related to eviction while the COVID-19 outbreak continues. Even in a relatively smooth scenario, it can already take months or even a year for an Ontario landlord to properly evict a tenant. And the current situation is far from smooth. In short, while the governments in this country have addressed a lot of new issues arising from the current pandemic, they have failed to so far properly inform and or reassure landlords and businesses that they’re own mortgages and loss of income will be protected to some degree. And while there are a great deal of people who now find themselves unable to pay rent in the coming months (and this number will likely only grow moving forward), there are surely a subset of renters who will also simply take advantage of not having to pay rent without any consequences. It’s no wonder then, that an online petition to “Cancel rent and mortgage payments during Covid-19” has earned over 630,000 signatures in just its first week. As a paralegal, and former adjudicator of the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario, Harry Fine broke down in a video yesterday, there’s simply not much anyone can do for small landlords right now; “There is no answer right now.” Speaking with Robert Klopot, CEO of luxury property management company The Forest Hill Group, it’s clear that there are simply too many unknowns right now. The difference between one or two months of missed rent or maintenance fees and five or six months missed is massive. And no … Continue reading An April 1st Rent “Strike” Seems Inevitable in the Face of COVID-19 Outbreak