Posted on: Tuesday, December 16/08
Landlord's Self-Help Centre is the only non-profit legal clinic geared exclusively towards Ontario's small-scale landlord community. LSHC's range of services is aimed at aiding property owners, many of whom have become landlords solely to generate enough income to maintain proprietorship, and lack the necessary knowledge surrounding renting regulations.
With its website drawing 4,500 visitors each month, LSCH helps approximately 10,000 landlords each year, advancing its mandate to broaden landlord awareness. It is the only legal clinic in Ontario that operates without a staff lawyer.
While LSHC does not supply legal representation, it will assist landlords who meet eligibility guidelines in preparing documents, providing follow-up assistance and monitoring case progress.
Eligibility requirements include:
There are no eligibility demands on the 2-hour limit casework services LSHC also offers to walk-in clients.
LSHC can consult on the following issues related to the life cycle of a residential tenancy:
LSHC cannot provide assistance on any of the following:
LSHC's casework services are generally provided as information, summary advice, brief services and referrals on rental related issues encompassing all of the following:
The pre-rental phase:
typically involve the rental unit, zoning, property standards, rental applications and tenant selection
matters that arise throughout the course of the tenancy, such as subletting and assignment, entering a rental unit, overcrowding or late payment of rent
Breakdown of the tenancy:
may include dispute resolution, enforcement of rights, termination notices and agreements, filing or responding to applications at the Landlord and Tenant Board, requests to review orders, and eviction by sheriff
Post tenancy issues:
removal and disposal of a tenant's belongings, small claims court and collecting money owed.
As limited resources challenge the centre's ability to serve an expansive community, LSHC's website (www.landlordselfhelp.com) is proving to be a valuable self-help and learning resource that supports the clinic's casework.
Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI)
To further its agenda in enhancing client awareness, LSHC is involved in several initiatives regarding rights and avoiding potential disputes. In addition to publishing a quarterly newsletter on issues relevant to their rental relationships, LSHC website offers proprietors
LSHC was also able to address the need for landlords to better understand their obligations under the Code with the issue of the Ontario Human Rights Commission "Right at Home" consultation and report.
In its approach to community development, LSHC carefully considers the potential impact projects will have on the demand for clinic services. As a result, either in conjunction with or independent of other community organizations, LSHC's move towards community advancement includes
Current Significant Activities/New Projects
The recent development and launch of its audio podcast, Sound Advice for Landlords, has enabled LSHC to better deliver basic information on common issues affecting Ontario's landlord community. The podcasts, available around the clock on the centre's website, are created in-house and include transcripts to facilitate the hearing and visually impaired. Much interest from the community to collaborate on this project has encouraged LSHC to compile a list of potential topics for future release.
Annual General Meeting
LSCH uses its large-scale AGM as a platform to provide learning opportunities for members, province-wide, in addition to its yearly fiscal review.
For those unable to attend, the AGM will be available province-wide as a webcast.
LSHC continues to develop strategies for utilizing the website to educate and interact with small-scale landlords. Future plans include the use of streamed video as a learning tool and a moderated forum to allow communication between landlords online.
HGTV's Income Property
Fall 2008 will see the premier of the HGTV production Income Property, for which LSCH provided information resources and assisted in recruiting candidates for the show.