If the City can't even be a responsible tenant, how can it even pretend to have the authority to license landlords?
With respect to the City's proposed landlord licensing program, I had previously suggested that if anyone ought to be licensed at all to "potect [sic] the residential amenity, character and stability of residential areas" it would be far more useful to license renters instead of landlords. If the other purpose of the program is to create a "fair playing field" in the rental housing market, then workers in the City's Department of Community Services ought to be added to the licensee list.
John Brotzel, an owner of several rental properties in east London, sends us this email. We are reprinting it with his permission:
The City's Department of Community Services has been paying rent directly to me for one of its welfare clients on account of his drug addiction. But the cheque never arrived this month, and when I called the social worker she told me that I would not receive a cheque this month or the next and "I can't tell you why." I found out later, not from the City of course, that the tenant had been sent to jail for a short sentence and that he is planning on returning to my property.
Now here's something to ponder. Privacy laws probably prevented the City from telling me about the jail sentence, but since the City has assumed the role as the tenant's agent, it's the City that must provide me with 60 days notice of any change in tenancy under the Landlord-Tenant Act, which it has not done. Even if the law didn't require it, the City should have done so out of plain decency. So the City seems to be thinking, no, arbitrarily assuming, that I am going to hold this guy's place for his return without rent. Furthermore, if push comes to shove, this guy's nephew and brother live in the same place (of course they're behind in the rent) and I'll bet that they'll invite him in and I'll be obligated to let him stay. I am awaiting further info from the City but I know it will be bullshit.
This in my thinking shows very poor due diligence on the part of City at the very least and an attitude that doesn't even consider a landlord's rights. At best it's a very poor example to set to a client who even under normal conditions wouldn't hesitate to screw a landlord or anyone else. This is such typical communist thinking, or is it thinking at all?
More adventures of the City's Ontario Works program in action to follow from another east London business owner…
Update: Mr. Brotzel adds:
This wasn't even the first time I've been cheated by the welfare department acting on behalf of the very same client. The City has a policy (they say it's a provincial policy) that when they approve taking over paying a client's rent they make out the first cheque to the tenant to "speed the process." Yeah, right. So when I never saw any of that money, naturally, the welfare office told me that "it's up to you to catch up to the tenant and get your rent." I asked which Money Mart I ought to stand guard over, or if I should just pretend to be a crack dealer and get my money the "honest way" as far as the City seems concerned. OK, well I didn't say it exactly that way, but it doesn't matter one way or another to the welfare office, and I'm still out the money for good.