Mississauga Landlords – Is Your Basement Apartment Safe and Legal? Do You have Landlord License?
The news this summer about the Mississauga landlord licensing program was pretty shocking.
According to Mississauga.com only one (yes, that’s right… 1!) landlord licence had been issued by the City to a landlord in the first six months of the new bylaw.
This is despite the fact there are thousands of secondary suites and rental units in the city.
The report at Mississauga.com went on to say city of Mississauga staff are stating they are simply not receiving any applications from landlords to get a license.
We wrote about the need for Mississauga landlords to get a license before. The program started in January 2014 and is a way towards legalization and legitimizing secondary suites in the city.
If landlords don’t get a license they could receive a large fine and could lose their insurance coverage. This is a large price to pay when you can get a license for a yearly fee of only $500. If the landlord doesn’t live in the property the license fee is $1000 annually.
Mississauga by-law and enforcement staff have said neighbours and tenants can report an unlicensed basement apartment by calling 311.
Education and Information
In an effort to get the message out to Mississauga landlords there’s a terrific question and answer session between the Ontario Landlords Association and Mickey Frost, the director for enforcement for by-laws in Mississauga.
It’s a really helpful interview and a must read for all small residential landlords in our city.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. Huge Fines If You Don’t Have A License
If a landlord doesn’t have a license for their second unit they can be charged and if they are found guilty the fines goes up to a whopping $25,000 for an individual landlord and up to $50,000 if the property is under a corporation.
2. Grandfathered Suites
You can’t grandfather your unit in according to the bylaw. You require a landlord license.
3. Annual Fee
Landlords are required to renew their license yearly.
4. Tenants Not Paying Rent
If tenants don’t pay rent it doesn’t mean anything towards your requirement to get a license.
5. Tenants Reporting Non-Licensed Units
This happens a lot to Alberta landlords in Calgary. They rent their basements to tenants and tenants often end up calling the city to report the landlords after they move out.
If any tenants call the city an Enforcement Officer will investigate and take action if the property is not property licensed.
Mississauga Landlords and Success
It’s important you go through the process to make your basement apartment legal. It’s also important to rent to good tenants by running credit checks on your tenants.
You can join the Ontario Landlords Association for a low one time fee (no annual fee!) and begin running premium credit checks for only $10/check to find good tenants.