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LETTER: Property manager calls city's proposed licensing rules an 'assault' on small landlords

'This cost will inevitably be passed on to the tenant, through rent increases, and adjusted market rent,' says letter-writer
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at raymond@barrietoday.com. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter, from Rob Hilton at A.G. Secure Property Management Inc., is in response to a story titled 'Enforcement against absentee landlords in east end could have 'significant benefits' published Oct. 18.
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Let me start by saying when I read the title of this article I was excited, but then when I read the article I realized this was not about enforcement of the rules that the City of Barrie currently has at their fingertips, but instead another assault on the small landlord that provides affordable housing options in the city of Barrie.

Let’s start with a simple concept: there is a clear problem with some landlords that do not maintain their property to a desirable standard, and cheat rules around occupancy and property standards. These people cheat today and the current enforcement is not working, so what makes you think they will follow the licensing rules?
 
I believe we can all agree this is unfortunate, and that if the rules were better enforced we might have some impact. 
 
The solution being proposed is one of licensing landlords by requiring them to pay a fee of $966.76 annually, which is an increase of over 50 per cent from the first time I talked to Coun. Riepma, who quoted me about $600 when this was first proposed.
 
For a city that talks about affordable housing, this clearly is an action that flies in the face of this. And if you think that $966.76 is all that it will cost, you are fooling yourself.
* Licensing fee: $966.76
* But now at least once a year, a landlord or a representative, such as ourselves will be required to meet someone at the property to do an inspection. Assume travel time and costs associated with this of at least three hours at a rate of $65 an hour is $195 for many of which, as noted by Mr. Riepma, will be in full compliance.
* So now we are $1,161.76 in an additional cost to be carried by the landlord.
 
Be honest with yourself, this cost will inevitably be passed on to the tenant, through rent increases, and adjusted market rent. For those landlords not able to download these costs, you can expect that many of them will get out of the rental market, leaving even fewer rental properties available, and increasing price points more as supply shrinks.
 
Let’s be clear, this politically sounds good to the local residents of Ward 1. But this will not solve the problems that these residents want addressing and will make things even worse for those that are desperately seeking affordable housing in Barrie.
* The good landlords and their tenants will pay for this.
* Good landlords will exit the rental business.
* Cheaters will continue to cheat the system and abuse the neighbourhoods
* Neighbours will still complain about parties, overcrowding and general upkeep.
* Rental costs will go up five to 10 per cent just to cover these costs
 
How about working with the great landlords to stop the abusers and enforcing your existing rules, instead of taking a bite out of the landlords and the affordable housing so many of you promote whenever there is a political opportunity to do so.
 
Rob Hilton
Barrie
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