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LETTER: Landlord licensing fees will just push rent up even higher

'You do not need to have a PhD in economics to understand that the last person in line will always be paying the bill,' letter-writer says of proposed licensing fees
2021-08-16 rental keys
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'Enforcement against absentee landlords in east end could have 'significant benefits' published Oct. 18. The letter-writer says their real estate investments group does business across Canada and the U.S., including in Barrie, Innisfil and Orillia.

I am representing a group of real estate investors, which owns over one hundred rental houses and townhouses in Barrie. We have about 25 per cent of them in the east end and we signed every letter of local residents about the bad tenants in that area.

We signed those letters because those bad tenants disturbed life of local residents, and our tenants, and often destroyed other properties. We signed those letters because the police ignored all the time the calls from local residents for their intervention, and
Georgian College also does not want to be involved, as those students are “golden cows,” paying three times higher tuition than Canadian students.

It was exceedingly difficult to contact the landlords, as most of the students get their rooms in a rental unit agency in India.

We signed those letters in hope that city hall will use existing bylaws and will do something with those annoying situations. But it will be too easy. Better is to use that situation to grab more money and to punish all landlords, and in the end all good tenants. It is interesting how many people who do not know anything about the subject take the voice in the housing crisis, which is cooking for years in Canada, and looks like it takes by surprise all levels of politicians.

Coun. Clare Riepma, who represents the east end of Barrie, said introducing licensing fees will be a very important tool to help neighbourhoods that have been negatively impacted by landlords who let their properties deteriorate and do not manage their tenants well. He also said that there is certainly interest throughout the city to expand the program.

Well, Coun. Clare Riepma forgets one thing: people do not elect him and other city hall members to rule, or even lead them; they elected him and the other to serve them. By saying that, I cannot recall that there was any public consultation about introducing those licensing fees. Not with the people of east end, not with the people of Barrie, and not with the people who own houses for rent, landlords, and investors.

We agreed 100 per cent with Rob Hilton. He is an exceptionally good, intelligent, highly professional property manager, and probably the most competent person in Barrie to be asked about rental units and bad tenants. But I am sure that nobody from city hall asked him for advice or his opinion.

As usual, a group of our elected representatives made the decision not knowing the facts, based only on complaint letters from the residents in the east-end area.

You do not need to have a PhD in economics to understand that the last person in line will always be paying the bill. When gasoline prices rise, we not only pay that higher price at the gas pumps, but the cost will also spread to everything: food, goods, services, housing, etc.

After almost two years of the pandemic, we all feel pain in our pockets created by breaking the chain of supplies, and that higher gasoline cost. The same is going to happen with that licensing fees; the tenants will pay those bills, or landlords/investors will sell the houses.

H. John Bielinski
North Bay