THE GREATER SUDBURY LANDLORD’S VIEW ON THE VACANCY RATE
THE GREATER SUDBURY LANDLORD’S VIEW
ON THE VACANCY RATE
The Greater Sudbury Landlord Association (“GSLA” ) is a not for profit organization educating landlords in the city of Greater Sudbury. Membership into the GSLA includes monthly meetings and information to educate landlords with the knowledge they need to be successful in an industry that continues to challenge landlord’s rights.
Recently CMHC released an article quoting a 2.1 % vacancy rate here in Greater Sudbury. There are many contributing factors as to why a vacancy rate is either high or low. Understandably with all industry the cost is determined by supply and demand. There are economic factors including an influx in population contributing to this low rate.
The City of Greater Sudbury has made changes with SU units also known as secondary units within a home. Once these units are registered with the city, the home owner can rent out the unit to alleviate the strain of lack of housing and also provide an extra income for the home owner. These changes work better with new build. Existing structures are faced with the burden of upscaling to today’s building codes. Home owners are not willing to take on the expense, time or construction in their personal space. Home owners might want to rent out their basements to students or smaller families however the restrictions and the cost are a deterrent to have a tenant. A few adverse challenges in creating these units are raising ceilings, widening stair cases and adding sprinklers systems to an already existing structure among others. Add in the city inspectors wait times and permits and this idea is left behind as quickly as it was started.
At the GSLA we continuously hear form landlords and their concerns about the laws that govern our industry. Most complaints are regarding unethical tenants. The governing body which is the Landlord Tenant Board of Ontario is one sided toward the tenants. Landlords are under duress. Landlords are facing the reality of leaving the business and selling properties to find other alternatives to invest their money or sometimes changing the unit to an Air BnB. A defaulted tenant can take up to 3-6 months to evict from a unit. Costs can exceed thousands of dollars. The expense of the damages in the end many never be retrieved. There are investments that are more stable and not costing thousands of dollars to repair or thousands of dollars in unpaid rent due to long waits for a hearing at the Landlord Tenant Board (“LTB”). Fewer landlords affects lower vacancy rates and higher rents.
Landlords want to protect their investments and provide a quality living space to the public. In order for this to occur and for tenants to have a quality living space, screening is detrimental to a landlord Landlords have been left incurring many costs including destroyed units, garbage, abandoned furniture and unpaid rents to name a few. Landlords are becoming more and more educated and don’t want to be stung. They are leaving units vacant in order to find a quality tenant to fit the space and for some struggling to cover costs for repairs with no income on the unit for months. This further hampers the vacancy rate. The LTB should cooperate with the landlord and allow the removal of the tenant in an expedited manner to protect the landlord from the unethical tenant. These units would return to market at a quicker pace. There is ongoing dialogue between the GSLA and other associations in the province to rectify a broken system with the LTB. There is an Ontario Ombudsman who is investigating delays at the LTB.
To help alleviate the low tenancy rate some of the issues mentioned above need to be corrected. Although the vacancy rate is 2.1% Greater Sudbury’s rental market is an affordable place to reside compared to the averages of rents in Ontario.
Sherry Jordan, Vice President – Greater Sudbury Landlord Association.