Sudbury landlord group welcomes Ombudsman investigation into backlog
Landlord, tenants frustrated with delays in system
The Greater Sudbury Landlord Association is in favour of the Ombudsman investigating a backlog of hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Vice President Sherry Jordan says landlords are getting frustrated with delays and some are getting out of the rental business.
Jordan says in the interim, more cases of tenants failing to pay their rent should be conducted over the phone, which could resolve those cases in three weeks instead of months.
"Once we file, you get your date, you call in, they can speak to the tenant to find out why they're not paying," Jordan said. "Nine times out of ten the tenants don't even show up for those hearings because they know why and they need to move that process along much quicker."
But Monique Woolnough, the Executive Director of the Sudbury Community Legal Clinic, a group that represents many tenants before the board, says a telephone hearing is not a good way to hear both sides of a complicated matter.
"Let's say it's a complicated issue, it's an illegal eviction, and you're trying to figure does the Residential Tenancies Act apply?" Woolnough said. "And there's lots of evidence and witnesses. Can you imagine doing that over the phone?"
"I've had a few experiences with that and it's just impossible."
But she hopes the Ombudsman's investigation does address a shortage of adjudicators.
She says there is one for all of northern Ontario, and they don't speak French.
Currently, Woolnough said, some regions hear cases by phone, but still too many cases are hanging in limbo.
No date has been set for the Ombudsman's report.