"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 

(Nelson Mandela)





"The primary code of law in England, dating from the middle ages and supplemented by legal decisions over the centuries. Not written down in any one place. Supplemented by statute laws passed by Parliament...."


"Common Sense is not widely enough used in society today."


As a result parties find themselves in needlessly stressful situations that could have, and should have, been avoided at all costs in the first place!

We'll never be perfect of course, but we can.........





"To be a successful landlord in Ontario it is imperative that you seek out the knowledge required to effectively manage all aspects of your property investment."



How to Prequalify Tenants Before You Waste Time, Money

by Chris on August 30, 2010

“I have seen most everything, and heard just about every excuse and lie that can be used.”
- Vincent Shanahan, Alpha Omega Property Management

“There is no guaranteed way to ensure anything you receive from prospective tenants is legitimate,” warns experienced rental property manager Vincent Shanahan. “We can only try our very best to gain as much insight as possible, and act swiftly when things take a wrong turn.”

Prior to working as a property manager, Shanahan spent 16 years as a paralegal representing landlords before the courts and boards, and has seen most everything, and heard just about every excuse and lie that can be used in these situations.

He always conducts a preliminary tenant screening over the phone.  “When they call, I want to ensure we are not going to be wasting each other’s time going forward,” he says.  One thing that boggles his mind is the number of calls from people who can’t remember which ad they are responding to.  “I need to find out which ad they saw, or whether it was a for-rent sign in a window. Getting the information you require from some of these callers is like trying to pull eye-teeth.”

During a preliminary tenant screening of a prospective renter, Shanahan will cover things like:

Do you require parking?
Do you have pets?
Do your have children?
Do you smoke?
Are you employed, and if so where?

“These are some of the things I need to ascertain to ensure I am not leading them into something that prohibits pets or smoking, has no parking,  or is outside their budget limit.”

“Sometimes prospects are calling for all the wrong reasons. “You wouldn’t believe how many calls I get from guys stating things like, and I quote, ‘Me and the girlfriend need a pad right away!’  How much time do you think I want to waste on these people?”

Most of the calls Shanahan receives from prospective renters are from local persons seeking accommodations.  “That makes it a bit more manageable to check things out,” he says. 

When dealing with local applicants, Shanahan makes it a point to drive by their current address to see what kind of property it is, and the condition of the exterior overall. Also, when he calls the previous landlords for a reference, he looks for their address so he can verify its validity, and drives by there as well to see what kind of landlord they present themselves as. 

A credit check is always done of course, but Shanahan has found that it is not a total indicator of whether or not the person pays rent on time. “Experience is my strong suit I guess. Reading people comes easy after you’ve spent so much time in the trenches dealing with bad tenants.” 

Vincent G. Shanahan is President of Alpha Omega Property Management in Barrie, Ontario, providing expert property management and consulting services for landlords.  Mr. Shanahan was invited to appear on the television program “Inside Toronto Real Estate”, and is an advocate for landlord rights throughout Ontario.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only). 

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.


Ontario’s Bedbug Solution: Penalize Landlords

by Chris on September 27, 2010

No doubt something has to be done about the bedbug pandemic.  Landlords who encounter the pests suffer from unhappy tenants and others are stepping up inspections and cleaning efforts to reduce outbreaks.   

Yet, when it comes to eradicating bedbugs all eyes seem to turn to landlords as the enforcers.  Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo is proposing that any landlord who wishes to renew a rental license obtain a bedbug inspection on the rental property.  DiNovo refers to this solution as “self-funded” because landlords will pay a fee for every inspection.

Many feel Ontario landlords are already overburdened with regulation, and that they are among the victims of this troubling issue.

While landlords have a duty to provide a safe, healthy environment for tenants, which implies a unit free from pest infestations, many experts are blaming the sudden surge in bedbugs on the government’s banning of the pesticides used to control them in the first place.

Ontario Property Manager Vincent Shanahan points out, “If the banning of pesticides is the major contributor to the problem, and landlords are forced to clean up the infestations, then there should be a fund established by the government for landlords to turn to for compensation.”

It is impossible to trace how bedbugs get into a particular rental unit.  The bugs can travel easily from one unit to the next, and have also been know to remain dormant for over a year – the time it takes for a tenant to come to the end of their lease agreement and move on. While the proposed law requires accountability on the part of landlords, there is no corresponding requirement that a tenant report to their new landlord that they found bedbugs in the same furnishings they are about to introduce into another building. 

Shanahan points out another problem: a landlord faces an almost impossible task when treating bedbugs, because the unit has to be adequately prepared for the pest control treatment.  This is work that the tenant must perform.  But when it comes time for treating an outbreak, Shanahan finds that the tenants are never ready. “When you can’t force the tenants to do their part properly, how can a landlord ensure successful remediation?” he asks.  Shanahan finds that the LTB system moves slowly and is too tenant-friendly to be of any use in resolving the situation.

In addition, the newest pesticides don’t seem to work.  DDT was a major deterrent to bedbugs in the past, but was found too toxic for widespread use.  At that time, however, bedbug populations had been severely reduced. As a result, few manufacturers focused on an alternative to DDT in treating bedbugs.  Landlords are now faced with paying for costly treatments that may have a minimal affect on the bugs.  Leaving any adults alive to breed or eggs to hatch literally guarantees a re-infestation.

Still, Shanahan attempts to manage any potential threat of bedbugs in his properties.  “I have distributed information sheets to my tenants concerning the bedbug infestation in North America, and how to recognize and treat infestations. However, try posting all that information in the common lobbies, etc., and see how many new tenants you will obtain!”

Vincent G. Shanahan is President of Alpha Omega Property Managementin Barrie, Ontario, providing expert property management and consulting services for landlords.  Mr. Shanahan was invited to appear on the television program “Inside Toronto Real Estate”, and is an advocate for landlord rights throughout Ontario. 

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.



Canada’s Landlord Associations: Finding Strength in Numbers

by Chris on September 27, 2010

Forming a community with other landlords is paramount to success in the rental property business. 

Jane Schweitzer, the Assistant Moderator for Ontario Landlords Association, points to one of the most crucial reasons for joining a landlord association: strength in numbers.

“Unfortunately, landlords are caught in the political crossfire in Ontario, and many of us are fighting for basic rights, as well as keeping our heads above water in a difficult legislative environment,” she says.  “By joining together we can further our cause.”

Ms. Schweitzer points out that Ontario landlords badly need to reform the Landlord and Tenant Board and OLA has been in contact with the Ontario Ombudsman to take up that cause. “All the support we can garner from members is crucial to making this happen,” she says. The OLA is also a regular contributor to news organizations around Ontario to make sure that the rights of landlords are not forgotten.

In Alberta, Directors of the Edmonton Apartment Association participated in committee to review and revamp the new Residential Tenancies Act, Ministerial Regulations and Code of Practice.  In addition, the EAA collaborated with the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations on federal tax issues.

The voice of landlords in British Columbia, the British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association, was instrumental in eliminating the Provincial portion of HST on energy costs for landlords, and has made strides to obtain economic incentives for landlords.  Government lobbying is BCAOMA’s most important benefit – lobbying for their members with one strong, well-respected voice. BCAOMA develops and maintains key relationships and monitors municipal and provincial government officials who are critical in ensuring the success of the rental housing industry.

Small landlords can find a loud voice by joining with others who share the same economic interests and concerns.

Property Management Advice

Landlords can turn to their associations to offer tips and a forum to discuss everyday issues.  For instance, the Ontario Landlords Association landlord forum has over 30,000 posts in a year.

Edmonton landlords can participate in a number of networking and social functions and swap stories with other landlords.  In addition, the EAA website tracks market trends and offers notifications of changes in the tenancy laws.

BCAOMA offers a number of networking opportunities, as well as its Best Practices for Landlords 101 and 102, seminars that cover tenancies from tenant screening through eviction and dispute resolution.  BCAOMA hosts industry related meetings and seminars on a regular basis with a focus on important topics to assist landlords in making important decisions to secure a good return on their investment. Topics have included maintaining your property, attracting and keeping good tenants and understanding the provincial and municipal laws around apartment ownership.  BCAOMA members also have exclusive use of over 30 types of professionally-drafted tenancy forms, including applications, agreements and condition inspection reports. 

Access to Landlord Services

Landlord Associations list trades persons and suppliers who support the rental industry.  From tenant credit checks to eviction assistance, the suppliers listed with landlord associations have been found to be excellent companies and are approved by other landlords.

In many cases, these companies offer the best pricing and many offer special discounts to association member landlords.

BCAOMA vows to increase a landlord’s net income on rental properties if landlords take advantage of the discounts it has brokered with trades and suppliers.

There are a number of Canadian landlord associations that offer landlords valuable benefits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities offered, find your voice, and profit in your rental business.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only). 

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.






The Bill makes several amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, including the following:

1. The Bill increases the time limit for most tenant and some landlord applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board from one to two years. Tenants can go back in time two years to file a complaint, meaning they can take you to the LTB up to two years after they move out of the unit they rent from you!

2. The Bill requires a landlord who terminates a tenancy for personal use to compensate the tenant and expands the circumstances in which a landlord is required to compensate a tenant if the landlord terminates a tenancy for the purpose of demolition or conversion to non-residential use. Formula given for compensation.

*3. The Bill prohibits a landlord from increasing the rent charged to a new tenant by more than the guideline and abolishes landlord applications to the Board for above guideline rent increases where there has been a significant increase in the cost of utilities. No new rent increases to market rent beyond the guideline when you have tenant turnover.

4. The Bill requires that the Board dismiss an application from a landlord who has been given a work order under section 225 of the Act or an order under section 15.2 of the Building Code Act, 1992 and has not completed the items in the work order or the order. Excuse for not paying rent. If you bring an application to the LTB to evict a tenant for non payment of rent, they will have the ability to have your application dismissed by a simple call to the local property standards officer, with no prior complaint to you, about maintenance deficiencies they very well could have caused themselves! You could be ordered to repair defects they caused, and until you do so, they continue living for free in your unit, courtesy of the RTA!

5. The Bill requires a landlord to obtain a licence with respect to a rental unit in a residential complex containing six or more rental units in order to enter into a tenancy agreement or renew an existing tenancy agreement. Money grab for Multi-family 6+

Something that we should not ignore! This would not only radically change the rental industry affecting each and every landlord from the smallest LL to the largest corporation, it would demand the creation of a huge new bureaucracy policing the actions of all of us! Fight this Bill! Your survival depends upon it!

Find your Ontario MPP here: www.ontla.on.ca

Make sure they know how you feel. Call them or put something down in writing, make sure that they hear their constituents point of view.

Please also make your feelings known to the Minister of Housing:

Hon Rick Bartolucci, MPP
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Ontario Liberal Party

Contact Information:


Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
17th Floor
777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5
Tel 416-585-7000
Fax 416-585-6470

Become a member of the Ontario Landlords Association, www.ontariolandlord.ca to join the fight for justice!!!




It Is Your Choice!

This week we share a powerful reminder from Tony Robbins that no matter what is going on in the economy or our lives, we are ultimately in control of our destinies.

Take control of your decisions and your life with these strategies.

What is the single force that shapes the quality of our lives? What power do we have that can change everything? As you and I both know, the answer is the power of choice.

During the past 30 years I’ve had the privilege of working with an incredibly diverse group of people, from presidents of countries to professional athletes, from managers to moms, from gang members to high-powered business executives. I’ve had the unique opportunity to see people in the midst of real challenges, whether it’s the professional athlete who wants to regain his competitive edge, the business leader who wants to expand her influence or the political leader who struggles with a difficult decision. I may not have all the answers (who does?), but after working with so many people and observing the patterns that make them succeed or fail, one thing I am sure of is this: It is our decisions, not our conditions, that determine the quality of our lives.

Take a look at your own life. Are you where you want to be? Are you as healthy or financially secure or as happy in your relationships as you would like to be? Or, even if things are going well, are you looking for that extra edge to retain the competitive advantage? Perhaps you feel that in spite of your success, there’s more out there for you, but for some reason, you haven’t grasped it yet. Your first instinct may be to blame the economy, or the housing market, or someone who has treated you unfairly.

Before we go any further, we need to understand that we are where we are today because of the decisions we’ve made—decisions about what to focus on, decisions about where to place our priorities, decisions about what things mean and decisions about what to do. For example, if your business or career has been affected by the recession, do you feel that you are being punished or challenged to find a new path? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to give up or give more? No matter what we have experienced in the past, our history is not our destiny—we all have the power to make new decisions today.

Here’s another way to look at it: Success is a result of good judgment; good judgment is a result of experience, in most cases. And what about experience? Yes, experience is most often a result of bad judgment.

So here’s the good news: The experience gained from bad judgment and bad decisions is unbelievably valuable—it’s priceless! So don’t waste time beating yourself up over poor decisions you’ve made; learn from the experiences. Really, failure is actually one of the best ways we learn. When people succeed, they celebrate. When they fail, they ponder. They stop and think, What happened here? What could I have done differently? It’s only through self-evaluation that we learn how to make better decisions. So, when you make mistakes, learn from them; use your experience to improve your judgment and make better decisions.

The Path to Freedom—Financial or Otherwise

We’re living in extraordinarily difficult times. Every day we read about and experience more challenges, often related to things we can’t control, whether it’s the economy, the environment or unemployment. We can allow the stress and uncertainty caused by these events to overwhelm us or we can transform our lives by making different decisions.

One of the decisions we can make is to live with a mindset of abundance. What I mean by this is if we live as though wealth has more to do with what’s in our minds than what’s in our wallets, if we understand that how we feel is more important than what we have, we can discover an immense sense of freedom and happiness.

Think about it: Do you know anyone who has a lot of money but doesn’t feel free, doesn’t feel loved, doesn’t feel like he has a choice? Sure you do. You may even feel that way yourself. That feeling happens when you’re not in control of your emotions because you’re looking for someone or something external to fill internal needs.

I don’t care what you’ve achieved or how much money you’ve earned, if you live with an attitude of scarcity and limitation, if you wait for someone or something else to fulfill you, you’re not going to be happy. You must make the decision to live with a mentality of abundance, and you will experience true freedom.

It’s Your Time
Everything that happens in your life—what you’re thrilled with and what you’re challenged by—began with a decision. Your life is the outcome of the decisions you’ve made and the actions you’ve taken as a result of those decisions. Different decisions produce different results.

If you want to control the direction of your life, you must consistently make good decisions. It’s not what you do once in a while that has an impact on the direction of your life—it’s what you do consistently. Make decisions today about how you are going to live in the years to come. For your decisions to really make a difference in your life it’s imperative to decide what results you’re committed to—and know specifically how these results will transform your life. It’s equally critical to decide what kind of person you’re committed to becoming. Get clear about what you want to be, do and have, and what your life will be like after you accomplish this. With that clarity, you’ll find it becomes easier to make the kinds of decisions that will move you in the direction you desire.

What are your standards? What will you demand from life? Decide today if you’ll accept life as it is or if you’ll live your life on your own terms, at the edge and at the highest level.
Have a great week unless you choose otherwise!



The Trifecta of Success

This week we would like to take time to publicly thank all our veterans, soldiers and their families for supreme sacrifices you have made so that we can enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have in our great country.

Today we share a powerful message about the fundamentals of success in life and business from Chris Widener.

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." Lou Holtz

There are three primary aspects of your life that will determine whether or not you are successful in your endeavors. You will not be successful if you have only one or two. You must have all three working together. Consider them like the three legs of a "stool of success."

Ability – the level at which you are able to actually do things. Your skill level. If you have a high level of skill, that´s good. And the better you get, the better it will be for you. To the degree that you can perform your actions at higher and higher skill levels, the more and more success you will find in your chosen field.

Motivation – the level at which you are able to find "a reason to act." This is the internal drive that you find that enables you to exercise your abilities. To the degree that you can find a way, or ways, to keep yourself motivated, you will see yourself right in the thick of things, carrying out your actions to the best of your abilities and succeeding accordingly.

Attitude – this is the mental state that you have while carrying out your actions to the best of your ability. It is the way you view the world around you and choose to see it, either positively or negatively. To the degree that you can maintain a positive attitude about yourself, others, and the circumstances you find yourself in, you will see yourself achieving greater and greater things.

"But Chris, can't I get away with just two?"


What if you have high skills and motivation but a rotten attitude? People will stay away and hinder your success. What if you have a good attitude and motivation but poor skills? People will like you, maybe even root for you, but go to someone else with the skills they need. What if you have great skills and attitude but no motivation? Well, you'll be sitting on the couch like a lazy slug while the go-getters are out there making your money and achieving your dreams!

No, it takes all three. So let's ask some questions:

Ability: How highly skilled are you? Is your skill level holding you back? How so? What could you achieve if you just took your skills to the next level beyond where they are right now? How would improving your skills improve the bottom line of your success?

Motivation: How motivated are you? Why do you answer that way? What would your spouse or close friends say? Would they say you are as motivated as you say you are? Why or why not? Why do you have the level of motivation that you have? What could you do to find a higher level of motivation? What would happen if you became super motivated for the next period of your life. What great things would happen?

Attitude: Do you have a good attitude or a poor one? How would you rate yourself? What about when things go wrong? Are you more of an optimist or a pessimist? What would happen if you took your attitude to the next level for the next 60 days? What if you just chose to have an incredible attitude? What would be the ramifications?

"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts." Booker T. Washington

This is so true. People will judge you on what you accomplish, not what you know or what you talk about. In fact, if you know a lot or talk a lot but do not accomplish anything, people will wonder what happened. So the question is whether or not you will take the actions necessary to deliver on your potential. To do so, you will need to focus in on the three legs of the stool of success: Your ability, your motivation, and your attitude.

Take some time this week to give serious thought to these three areas. Your success depends on it!

Have a great week unless you choose otherwise.










OTTAWA — Danny Dear bought a triplex on Gougeon Street three years ago as a retirement nest egg. He says he doesn’t want to be a burden on society down the road.

So imagine how he feels having a tenant who is exactly that and more: A middle-aged crackhead receiving social assistance because of a medical condition.

Dear says the man, who has strange visitors, including prostitutes, day and night, might drive him to an early grave.

“Landlords don’t have any rights,” he says. “I wish I never got into this.”

He plays a voice mail in which the tenant tells Dear that he’s been talking to his (legal-aid) lawyer about the landlord’s eviction attempt. “I’ll sue your ass and then I’ll own your building.” He spews a familiar F-phrase before hanging up.

Dear, who operates an auto-repair shop on Industrial Avenue, says he can only imagine the damage done to the upstairs unit since the tenant moved in last June.

At the time the lease was signed, Dear had no idea the man had a drug problem and was on social assistance. And he thought he was renting the apartment to the man and a woman.

The man moved in with another fellow, and he never saw the woman again.

Within days, Dear received a letter telling him that the Ontario Disability Support Program would pay him directly for their $875 monthly rent. But the other tenant moved out late last fall, and the disability support program is now only covering half that amount.

Dear says the problems started last August when the man rented a shed behind the triplex to a young couple who was using it as a flophouse. He was charging $200 a month. “It was like a scene from Deliverance,” says Dear.

He called police. They gave him the lowdown on the guy.

Dear wonders how much he’ll have to spend in legal fees, trying again to have the man evicted through the Landlord and Tenant Board. A previous application last November was dismissed outright, even with an Ottawa police constable on hand, ready to testify about the numerous police visits to the apartment. In one incident, police had to kick in the door to stop a fight involving several people. In another, a group from the apartment had collected in the furnace room.

The officer didn’t get a chance to testify as adjudicator Greg Joy, a former executive director of the Ottawa Food Bank and a 1976 Olympic silver medallist, determined the eviction documents lacked information. Dear didn’t hire a lawyer because he feared a huge legal bill, so he prepared the eviction papers himself, as many landlords do. He’s been told by the Ottawa constituency offices of Premier Dalton McGuinty and Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur to get legal help next time.

Like other landlords caught in similar situations, he can’t understand how the system can weigh so heavily in favour of his tenant. But the Landlord and Tenant Act was created primarily to protect tenants. A spokesman says illegal activities including drugs, damage to property and interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants in the building are all grounds for eviction. But Dear has to convince an adjudicator first.

Dear says, “I’m scared like hell,” every time he goes to the triplex to clean and check the common areas. He calls the police if he has to deal with that tenant. The other day, two officers arrived to check on him. The force would not comment on the case, saying the man is protected by privacy laws.

Dear worries about what might happen if he runs into one of the drug addicts visiting the resident crackhead. “Maybe I’ll get jabbed with a needle.”

The hand-printed signs on his apartment door give Dear the heebie-jeebies. Says one:

“F--- youF--- OFFKNOCK ALLYOU WANTNobody liveshere anymore”

Another sign tells visitors to stay away because police have threatened him with eviction after “to (sic) many calls (sic) for stupid bulls---.”

The sign goes on to say: “therefor (sic) sorry guys but I’m not becoming homeless.”

Dear is looking for answers, particularly from the Ontario Disability Support Program. Why isn’t it forcing recipients like his tenant to undergo drug counselling? Are there checks on how he spends the monthly income it gives him?

That money is supposed to be for food, transportation and other needs. But he is free to buy drugs, too, because the disability support program does not require recipients to account for their spending. And though counselling and treatment is available through the disability support program and other provincial programs, disability support recipients have to ask for help first.

“The whole system stinks,” says Dear. “As a (taxpayer), I should have some rights (over my property). But (the tenant) gets all the perks, including a lawyer.”

The Ontario Disability Support Program hasn’t told Dear why it still isn’t covering the rent for the man who moved out. After all, the lease was for the year and the disability support program had informed that it would be paying both men’s rent. The Ministry of Community and Social Services wouldn’t speak about the case either, but said the maximum it pays for rent is $474 per recipient.

Rent arrears can also be cause for eviction. Could it be in this case? Dear says he’ll add it to his list.

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Public+Citizen+landlord+discovers+tenants+have+cards+stacked+their+favour/4115770/story.html#ixzz1BiBgjZkg