Monday, May 29, 2017

REVIEW: Ontario Fair Housing Plan – What You Need To Know

Housing is all the rage in our province these days.  Everyone is talking about it.  Markets are at all-time highs and there seems to be no end in sight.  It has also become extremely unaffordable in markets like the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  Naturally, the governing Liberal party has decided to do something about it.  Last month they introduced a comprehensive package of measures to stabilize the market called the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.  Today, we are going to review some these measures.

A 15% Foreign Buyers Tax In The GTA
This is the big one you probably saw in all the headlines.  Essentially, they are imposing a 15% non-resident speculation tax on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area of Ontario.  The tax will apply to individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada and foreign corporations.  This will only apply to single family homes (or condominiums), and not to multifamily, agricultural land, or commercial/industrial property.  It will also not apply to the rest of Ontario (including our hometown of Windsor).

Expanding Rent Controls
Previously, rent control only applied to rental units built before 1991 in Ontario, but this will no longer be the case.  The allowable rent increases will be at the rate posted in annual provincial rent increase guidelines and run in-line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate (also referred to as inflation).  These increases will also be capped at 2.5% per year.  For example, if you had a rental unit that was tenanted, when you come up to the 1 year anniversary date from your lease, you will only be allowed to increase the rent by this provincial guideline rate (say 2%).  So if you charged $1000/month, you could increase the rent to a maximum of $1020/month.

Changes To The Landlord Tenant Act
The Landlord Tenant Act is the legislation that governs the relationship between Landlords and Tenants in Ontario.  These changes to the Act will include developing a standard lease in multiple languages, tightening provisions for “Landlord’s own use” evictions, ensuring tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule, and technical changes at the Landlord-Tenant Board.  Landlords will no longer be able to use their own leases with their own clauses and will need to use this standard lease that is being introduced.  The tightening of "Landlord's own use" evictions will make it more difficult for Landlords to evict Tenants when they claim to need the unit for themselves or an immediate family member.  This has been used in the past in questionable manners at times to get around rent controls.

Vacant Home Tax
Introducing legislation that would empower municipalities to impose a tax on vacant homes to encourage property owners to sell or rent unoccupied units.  This is pretty self-explanatory with the hopes of stopping speculation and to increase supply of properties for sale and for rent.

Levelling Property Tax Levels For New Multi-Residential Buildings
Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a rate similar to residential properties.  High property taxes on apartment buildings lead to higher rents for tenants and also make it less economical for developers to build new rental supply.  This measure hopes to encourage more rental unit developments.

Those are the big measures to take away from the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.  Next week, we are going to talk about some of the takeaways from these measures as they affect our local market.  What are your thoughts on these measures?

Friday, May 12, 2017

GUEST BLOG: A Day in the Life of a Lawyer

Today we have a guest blogger! Continuing on with the theme of "a day in the life of", we have another professional that realtors often work with - a lawyer. Lyndsey Lalovich, an associate with the Willis Law Firm (and my Sister), is going to take us through a typical day.

Ever wondered what a day in the life of a corporate lawyer would look like?

I am a lawyer with Willis Business Law, a new, cutting edge business law firm, located in the heart of downtown Windsor at 1 Riverside Dr. W. Around here, they call me the “closer”. I am the lead associate lawyer on all our firm's transactional work, overseeing all aspects of a deal and going the extra mile to ensure timely completion of deliverables.

So what does a day in the life of a transactional lawyer look like? While no day looks quite the same in this field, below is a snapshot of my day!

7:00am – Rise & Shine! Hearty breakfast and morning news.

8:00am – En route to the office, Willis Business Law, to start another day.

8:30am – The calm before the storm. Catch up on emails and get organized for the day.

9:00am – Join Willis Business Law’s founding partner, William Willis, for a meeting with clients in the beautiful boardroom at Willis Business Law to discuss a proposed commercial real estate purchase. Complex factors related to the transaction made the face-to-face effective to strategize the best approach.

10:00am – Return calls and emails.

11:00am – Time to put my head down and do some work! Prepare closing agenda for an upcoming commercial acquisition and work with our corporate and real estate clerks to get the package of closing documents prepared.

12:00pm – Networking lunch! Relationship building is key in this career. One of the best parts of working downtown is our close vicinity to our referral sources and, of course, the great restaurants!

1:15pm – More emails.

2:00pm – Signing with client for a commercial financing transaction. Once the client leaves, the pressure is on! Our team needs to get the signed documents to the other lawyer as fast as we can to ensure there is no hold up in the closing of the transaction. With our experienced clerks, we have it down to a science!

3:00pm – Uh oh... Residential real estate closing gone sideways. Various phone calls (and emails of course) with the other lawyer and our client to get the issues resolved.

4:00pm – Wrap up work projects for the day. Have I mentioned responding to emails? Much like other fields, nowadays email is the primary mode of communication for lawyers. At Willis Business Law we try our best to maintain a 24 hour response time on emails, even if we are just responding to let the client know we will look into their inquiry and get back to them. This means a significant percentage of my day is spent sitting in front of this computer keeping up with my inbox!

6:30pm – Head home for some dinner with the hubby.

7:30pm – Gym time. After sitting at a computer for most of the day it’s especially important to stay active in the evenings!

9:00pm – Wind down. Watch some Big Brother Canada while treating ourselves to protein pancakes!

10:00pm – Get a head start on preparing for tomorrow’s work day and, you guessed it, respond to emails.

11:00pm – Lights out!

So there you have it folks. Thanks for participating Lyndsey. Contact her for all your business law needs. You can find more info about her and the firm at Thanks for reading!