Stop landlords from paying for tenants unpaid utility bills
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This policy is causing rents to rise, a decline in rental properties and causing landlords to screen tenants more carefully through credit checks. Adding the extra cost to the property owner will be passed to the residents and overall costing all taxpayers.
TO The Premier and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: -
WHEREAS Section 398(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001 (the “Act”) allows a municipality to
add public utility arrears incurred by a tenant to the municipal tax bill of the owner;
AND WHEREAS Ontario Regulation 581/06 permits such arrears to have priority lien
status under the Act;
AND WHEREAS these provisions reversed the long-standing law in this area that held
that a landlord was not responsible for utility charges where the landlord was not the
AND WHEREAS landlords may now be burdened unfairly, and potentially
catastrophically, with fees and charges they have no control over;
AND WHEREAS these provisions will also impact tenants who are not in arrears with
their utility payments but who will now face rent increases and/or increases in utility
payments where such payments are pooled as landlords attempt to recoup these
AND WHEREAS a number of municipalities, including Penetanguishene, Bracebridge
and Niagara Falls, have reversed such policies as a result of the demonstrated and
unprecedented negative impacts on landlords and tenants;
AND WHEREAS municipalities and utility providers in Ontario already have at their
disposal a number of means by which they can control or collect outstanding arrears,
including by requiring deposits for the utility service pursuant to the Public Utilities Act
and by seizing personal property in the possession of the rate payer.
NOW THEREFORE WE the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of
Ontario to: -
Repeal section 398(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001, and amend Ontario Regulation 581/06
accordingly, to ensure that property owners are not responsible for the payment of
outstanding utility arrears where they are not the consumer.
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