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Newmarket Tenant Asks: What Can I Do If I’m Renting An Illegal Rental Apartment?

March 1st, 2017 · No Comments · Accessory Dwelling Unit, ADU list, Basement Apartments, Basement rental apartments, Dog Patch, Latest News, newmarket renters, Newmarket tenants

Slum Lord

Tenants Be Careful! There Are Lots of Illegal, Unregistered, Unsafe Rentals in Newmarket

If You Are Renting A Basement Apartment and There is No “N” Plate There is a Strong Chance Your Apartment Isn’t Safe, Registered and Legal

We have written a lot about why investing in Newmarket and Aurora rental properties is a smart move. And why not? With house prices appreciating fast investors are seeing terrific appreciation every year.

There are also lots of great tenants in Newmarket.  As the population grows Newmarket is no longer viewed as “way up North” and now we see lots of people from Toronto, Mississauga, Richmond Hill and other places moving here. 

With all the parks, low crime rate, good health care and convenient shopping Newmarket is a prime time location and lots of people are moving here and renting here.

Good Tenants Deserve Good Landlords and Safe Homes

This website was created to help landlords learn how to be responsible and successful and we’ve received hundreds of messages thanking us for the hard work and important information presented here. 

We’ve also received messages from Newmarket tenants asking for help and advice.

Newmarket Tenants Asking for Help and Advice

While there are lots of responsible landlords who are aware of their rights and responsibilities the sad news is we continue to hear about some Newmarket landlords who are not holding up their end of the deal.

Being a landlord is a business, not a hobby. Being a landlord also comes with legal responsibilities.

Tenants are expected to take care of the property and pay their rent on time.  Landlords are expected to fulfill their responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act and are required to provide safe and legal rental homes.

Unfortunately we have even heard some out of town real estate agents tell potential buyers “it doesn’t matter if the basement is legal or not” and “99% of basements are illegal so who cares!” 

This is unethical and unprofessional and simply BAD ADVICE for potential buyers. If you want to be a Newmarket landlord make sure you buy a property that has a registered basement apartment.

Tenants Have Rights

Several of the messages we’ve received have been from good tenants who worry about their safety.

1. They pay their rent on time. 

2. They treat the property very well. 

3. They are very cooperative and professional when dealing with their landlord. 

The problem is while the landlord is happy to take the rent money, they are not providing a quality and legal product for their tenants.

We received the following message from a Newmarket tenant:

“I know this is a landlord blog but we are looking for help! We rented a property in Newmarket, Ontario and signed a one year lease. 

We are responsible tenants and agreed to a credit check and even a criminal check. We are renting now to save up to buy our own house in a couple of years. With property prices so high, we never even expected to have to rent but it’s our reality.

The problem is we believe our basement apartment is illegal and we never were told this and we never agreed to this. 

We heard about this from some people down the street who told us that Newmarket has a system to make sure rental properties are legal and safe.  We read your blog and confirmed they were right. 

We feel the landlord scammed us and are very angry! They never told us we were renting an illegal and unsafe property…and we are paying a lot of rent to stay here! 

We are very worried because we have kids and with the high rent and us being good tenants it’s clear we are dealing with a slumlord who is breaking the law! 

What can good tenants do dealing with landlords who don’t follow the law and just want to be slumlord taking our rent money for illegal and unsafe properties?  Thanks in advance.”

First of all no tenant should ever be renting and illegal and unsafe rental property.

1. How Do You Know If Your Rental Property Is Legal and Registered?

In 2013 the Town of Newmarket passed an amended by-law 2013-13 which requires all residences with Accessory Dwelling Units (AUDs) to be registered to make sure they are safe to live in.

This was a great move by Newmarket to help tenants make sure they are renting safe, legal housing and not unsafe, illegal housing.

Tenants have two easy ways to get information about your rental home. 

First, take a look if there is an “N plate” on the front of the house. 

The "N" plate show the rental property is registered and legal. No "N" Plate means you are paying rent for an unregistered and potentially unsafe apartment!

The “N” plate show the rental property is registered and legal. No “N” Plate means you are paying rent for an unregistered and potentially unsafe apartment!

If there is an “N plate” it means it’s legal and registered (N stands for Newmarket.) 

The second way is to check the Town of Newmarket government website to see if your property is on the list.  You can see this list at this link to legal Newmarket rental ADU apartments. Is your rental home on the list?  If it’s not it’s not registered.

2. If Your Rental Property Is Not Legal and It’s Unsafe What Can You Do?

Paying rent and being a good tenant is fulfilling your part of the bargain.

But your landlord has to pay their part too, and that means obeying the law and providing you with a safe and legal property in return for your hard earned rent money.

You can contact the Town of Newmarket, the Fire Department, and the Enforcement Unit of the Ontario Government to make sure your rental apartment is safe.  You do not have to tell your landlord before making these calls.

(a) Report Your Rental Property to the By-Law Dept. at the Town Of Newmarket

This is your first step. You can directly call the Town of Newmarket and have a By-Law Officer come to make sure your rental property is safe and registered.  The By-Law Officer will meet you directly (not involving the landlord) to see if your home is safe. If there is any repairs needed the By-Law Officer will order your landlord to make the needed repairs or face fines.

You can go to the Town of Newmarket website

You can also call them at 905-895-5193 and report your rental property to the By-Law Department.

Don’t be shy and enforce your rights.

Your landlord cannot evict you for enforcing your tenant rights to rent a safe apartment.

Remember, you have done nothing wrong and if your landlord has rented out an illegal, unregistered apartment you might even be owed many months of your hard earned rent back to you.

(b) Call The Newmarket Fire Department (Central York Fire Services)

They will come to your place you are paying for to make sure it’s safe.They take this very, very seriously!

Go to their website at http://www.cyfs.ca/

Give them a call at: 905-895-5193 | 1-877-550-5575

They will come to meet you and inspect your property to see if its legal and safe and up to code or not.  If it’s not the Fire Department will contact the landlord and order them to make the necessary changes or the landlord will be fined.

(c) If Your Rental Property Needs Repairs You Can Call the Provincial Government for Help

You can also call the Province of Ontario Rental Enforcement Unit to demand your landlord provides you with a safe, legal and registered rental property.

Here is the information you need.

You can call the Enforcement Unit to help you at this toll-free number: 1-888-772-9277

The Province of Ontario takes tenant safety and tenant rights very seriously.

What Happens If the Landlord Gets Angry At You Or Harasses You For Ensuring Your Safety?

Tenants have rights and are protected.  If your landlord gets angry at you, threatens you, or harasses you call the Landlord and Tenant Board for assistance. 

You can file a complaint against the landlord and take them to the Landlord and Tenant Board where the landlord will have to testify about their actions in front of an Adjudicator (like a judge).  The landlord can me ordered to stop and fined.

Here is the Landlord and Tenant Board website: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/contact/

You can also call and get advice by calling the Landlord and Tenant Board at their toll free number: 1-888-332-3234

The Landlord and Tenant Board can also help you get free legal help if you need it.

Newmarket Tenants And Good Newmarket Rental Properties

There are a more and more hard working and honest tenants coming to Newmarket. There are also a lot of terrific landlords in Newmarket who offer great rentals.

Good landlords deserve good tenants and good tenants deserve good landlords.  It’s a win-win situation.

Make sure you rent a safe, registered and legal property. For the high rent you are paying, make sure you demand a safe and legal Newmarket rental apartment!

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