Association class

Owners need a viable business model: association

The Yukon Residential Landlord Association wants to clarify a major point, says president Lars Hartling.

By Jim Butler on August 31, 2022

The Yukon Residential Landlord Association wants to clarify a major point, says president Lars Hartling.

“Deportation without cause in the Yukon does not exist. It’s really important to understand the rules,” Hartling told The Star on Monday afternoon.

He was responding to remarks made at a press conference held by the NDP last Thursday.

MP Emily Tredger and two residents of a 10-unit apartment building at 602 Cook St. discussed how all tenants have been ordered to move out by September 30.

None have long-term leases.

Reporters were told that the Cook Street tenants’ one- and two-bedroom units would be re-rented for an additional $500 to $600 per month respectively.

“I was given two months to wrap up 20 years of my life,” tenant Darlene Pollard said at the press conference.

Hartling expressed sympathy for the plight of the tenants.

“It’s very unfortunate for them that this happened. This situation should never have happened,” he said.

“We don’t need market-wide legislation, but specific programs to help these people.”

But, in cases of monthly agreements, he pointed out, both tenant and landlord have the legal right to opt out of what he calls a contractual arrangement.

“There is no notice without reason, but the end of a contractual agreement,” he said.

“These leases will exist in perpetuity until someone terminates them, and 99% of leases are terminated by the tenant; their life has changed, they have bought a house…”

The former longtime owners of the Cook Street building sold it about a year ago to retire, one of the tenants said at last week’s press conference. He said he was paying $1,080 a month in rent.

For Hartling, this suggests that the previous landlords essentially “subsidized” the tenants for many years – a situation that must have changed after the new landlords took over, he argued.

“The previous owners had a different situation,” he said. “We all know how much sticker-shock and inflation hit us.

“The person buys the building and must make his investment profitable. So this course of action (the higher expected rents) has to take place.

Every few years, a 20- to 30-year-old apartment building will require renovations that will cost tens of thousands of dollars per unit, Harting said.

In 2021, as a condition of official NDP support for the minority Liberal government, a system of rent caps was introduced. This year, landlords can increase rents by up to 3.3%.

The current owners of the Cook Street building have told some tenants that ceilings play a role in evictions, reporters heard last week.

The association was not consulted on the implementation of the caps, which Hartling said hurts the market.

“People had to work around this system to make their business model viable,” he said.

“If a consultation had taken place with our association, we could have helped them (the government). A lack of consultation is not good policy.

Yukoners are seeing a rental market that has “seized up” due to confusion over the laws, he added.

“A lot of owners aren’t business owners, they’re mom and dad operations. (The caps) add fuel to the fire and cause the market to stall.

About a month before the caps were announced last year, he said, he knew of two local apartment buildings that were up for sale.

“They were posted on a Friday night and sold out over the weekend. The lawyers worked all weekend like crazy.

Now, he said, a building put up for sale would take much longer to sell under a rent cap regime.

“We have to know for sure what rules we are going to play.

“We need good social policy in place that is not introduced for populist political reasons but is well thought out and will allow homeowners to thrive and the market to move forward as needed,” Hartling said.

“We don’t need media stunts.”

The evictions highlighted by the NDP represent “only a fraction” of the number of local rental units, he added.

The bottom line, Hartling said, is that “nobody wants to kick people out. I have 74 units and 99% of the people are great.

Pollard and Richard Lawrence, the other speaker at last week’s press conference, “were great tenants,” Hartling added. “They looked like perfect tenants.”

He said he had conversations with landlords who chose to sell their properties in direct response to rental caps, he added.

“If you bother people enough that they can’t make their properties a viable business model, they walk away.

“If I can’t keep control of my assets, who would invest in a market like this? »

A spokeswoman for the owners of the Cook Street building told The Star last Thursday that she would not comment on the evictions until she had consulted with her lawyer.