On Monday, at District council’s last meeting of the term, Councillor Mike Peppard said he was surprised to see the number calls the OPP have had to attend to related to landlord and tenant disputes in the past four years.
Peppard was referring to a report submitted by the OPP to the District’s finance committee. In the report, compiled for billing purposes, police indicated that on a four-year average they have had to respond to almost 180 calls every year between 2018 and 2021 related to rental disputes.
Although landlord and tenant disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the Landlord and Tenant Board – Tribunals Ontario, Peppard asked what the District was doing to alleviate the situation.
Commissioner of community and planning services Arfona Zwiers told Peppard that the District has engaged a third party to train tenants and landlords under the Rent Smart program, “which helps to teach prospective tenants and even permanent tenants on how to be good tenants as well as landlords on how to be good landlords.”
She said the District was able to pursue that training prior to the pandemic and said it was being delivered by a local not-for-profit organization that the District works with. “So we do try and do what we can in terms of providing people with tools that they need in order to be good tenants and good landlords. During the pandemic, there has been some rising escalations of behaviours and I think we all have heard media reports of that kind of situation. And I’m not surprised to hear that in some circumstances the police have had to be called in to be able to address some of that,” she said. “I can understand that it would be a challenging situation for potentially a landlord to have gone several months without receiving rent or conversely for a tenant to go several months without being able to get timely repairs made to their property… it does seem like the pandemic has not seen favourable trends in terms of those types of statistics,” said Zwiers, adding that the District continues to work with its partners on such issues.
In Muskoka, the OPP received 142 call related to landlord and tenants disputes in 2018; 188 calls in 2019; 199 calls in 2020 and 190 calls in 2021.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!