Tuesday 15 February 1994

Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act, 1993, Bill 21, Mr Wessenger / Loi de 1993 modifiant des lois

en ce qui concerne les terrains à bail, projet de loi 21, M. Wessenger

David Rice

Brad Morgan

Legal Clinics' Housing Issues Committee

Paul Rapsey, representative

Ontario Land Lease Federation

Jo-Anne Homan, secretary

Craig Maxfield

Big Cedar (Oro) Residents' Association

Venner Lambert, representative

Donna Fenton, vice-president and treasurer

Subway Mobile Home Park Tenant Association

Bernie Emoff, president

Forrest Estates Inc

Marie Hughes, owner

Ken Hughes, president

Larry Gillard; Ralph Eades

Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute

Douglas Barker, vice-president

Fringewood North

Phil Sweetnam, owner

Strathmore Communities Corp

Clayton Hudson, president

Golden Horseshoe Court Developments Ltd

Terrell Heard, president

Trenton Trailer Park Tenants

Robert Cove and Bill Williams, representatives


*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Daigeler, Hans (Nepean L)

Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)

*Dadamo, George (Windsor-Sandwich ND)

*Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)

Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L)

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)

Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND)

Sorbara, Gregory S. (York Centre L)

*Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND)

*White, Drummond (Durham Centre ND)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L) for Mr Grandmaître

Fawcett, Joan M. (Northumberland L) for Mr Sorbara

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC) for Mr David Johnson

Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Morrow

Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Les Iles ND) for Mr Dadamo

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Johnson, David (Don Mills PC)

McLean, Allan K. (Simcoe East/-Est PC)

Morris, Noah, policy adviser, existing housing stock, Ministry of Housing

Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Carrozza, Franco

Staff / Personnel: Richmond, Jerry, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1003 in the Humber Room, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


Consideration of Bill 21, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Land Leases / Projet de loi 21, Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne les terrains à bail.


The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The business of the committee today is to listen to public deputations regarding Bill 21. We will commence this morning's hearings with Ridge Pine Park Inc, Mr Rice. Good morning. The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. The members always appreciate some time for questions and clarifications.

Mr David Rice: I appreciate the opportunity to be here today. I'm here on behalf of our family-owned company called Ridge Pine Park, which owns Wilmot Creek, a retirement community in Mr Mills's riding out in Bowmanville area, also representing Grand Cove Estates, which is up on Lake Huron in Grand Bend, and also on behalf of my father, who's a partner in Sandycove Acres, which is a retirement community in Mr Wessenger's riding just south of Barrie. Basically, I should say that all of these communities represent about 2,000 home sites in the province.

Firstly, I just wanted to say I've been advised that apparently the Ministry of Housing is putting forward 20 or 30 amendments to the bill and I just wonder if it might be appropriate to adjourn the hearing to another time. I don't want to waste your time or the audience's time because I've researched and planned what I'm planning to say to you here based on how the bill is and I gather it's bound to change considerably. More importantly, I guess, is that if there are changes, I think I and probably the people sitting behind me would like the opportunity to have some input into amendments. So I was wondering if it might be appropriate to adjourn and have this hearing at another time.

The Chair: Obviously, the Chair doesn't have that particular discretion.

Mr Rice: All right.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I just would like to make a comment, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Unless the presenter wants the comments to happen now during his time, it might be more appropriate to wait until the proper rotation starts.

Mrs Marland: On a point of order then, could I ask, is Mr Wessenger sitting in that place rather than this place as parliamentary assistant?

The Chair: This is a private member's bill. Mr Wessenger is the private member. If it were a government bill, someone from the ministry would be sitting here to answer questions about it.

Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): I thought you'd know this, Margaret.

Mrs Marland: It's not always the case.

The Chair: Because it's a private member's bill, Mr Wessenger is sitting here so he can answer any questions that might arise from the bill.

Mrs Marland: It's not always the case.

The Chair: On the same point of order, Mr Daigeler.

Mr Hans Daigeler (Nepean): Not on the same point of order, but if you permit me to say something to what you just said, because it's your time. I think you're raising an excellent point and you're quite right that obviously if there are very substantial amendments coming forward there will have to be additional opportunity for the public to be heard. Nevertheless, I do think, since you are here and since other people are scheduled to be here, it would be useful, frankly, for me at least, to hear what you have to say about this project. What will happen then -- I would quite frankly agree with you that there will have to be further opportunities to study the matter and I would expect that there will be such things perhaps later on through a bill the government brings forward.

However, I do think it would be useful for us to hear what you have to say about the project that had been announced. That's my view.

The Chair: I should just point out, as the Chair I'm relatively familiar with this issue, having chaired the committee on Bill 4 and Bill 121 which heard numerous deputations with regard to this issue.

Mr Rice: All right, Mr Chairman. I just wanted to raise that and I appreciate the member's position. That's all, I guess, I could ask for.

Specifically, with respect to the bill the way it's proposed today, it deals with the amendments to three acts, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and the Planning Act. Our family and our company -- we have no problems with the changes that are proposed to the Planning Act or the Rental Housing Protection Act. Our concerns are with the Landlord and Tenant Act changes, specifically with respect to two areas, and they are with the inclusion or permission to allow for-sale signs within retirement communities and, secondly, with the exclusion or the elimination from leases of the first right of refusal, as it's proposed.

I've got to go back to a little bit of history. In the mid-1960s my dad and his partners started a plan to build Sandycove Acres, which now has about 1,200 homes located in it. In their planning they went around North America, they went throughout Canada, trying to determine what's good and bad because, at that time and a little bit existing today, mobile home parks did not have a good connotation. They had a connotation of almost a second-class type of living and they wanted to build Sandycove so that it wasn't that way.

They arrived at a conclusion that the biggest problem within mobile home parks was the devaluation of the homes that the home owners owned. It followed that if these homes devalued, then eventually the third or fourth or fifth purchaser of the home might be of a financial calibre that he wouldn't be able to pay the rent to maintain the high standards of the community.

So they came up with a number of ideas to include in our leases, and these all took place 25 years ago and are still being used today -- a number of items in the leases, two of which were the exclusion of for-sale signs and the first right of refusal to give the landlord that right. I should say that both of these, along with a number of other things they have done, succeeded. They succeeded in making Sandycove, Wilmot Creek now, and also Grand Cove Estates what we like to think of as three of the best mobile home parks not only in Ontario but in Canada. Certainly, that's been proven by the number of people who have wanted to imitate and copy what has been done.

My dad and his partner succeeded in creating a mobile home park where the tenant had an investment that was secure. That was really the first time we were aware that had happened. So we're very adamant on our position relative to these for-sale signs in particular. You might say, "Well, why?" You have to picture these communities. I have to talk as a community being a retirement community. There are a lot of other mobile home parks that are family communities and I think the committee has to be aware that there are a lot of variations and it's difficult to paint a brush with this bill to apply to everything.


In a retirement community, we sell the way of life. The homes sell themselves; what we sell is a way of life. It's a way of life where the people choose to live in a retirement community like Wilmot Creek because they don't want to live in a condominium. Mr Mills, I'm sure, could vouch as to how the people are in Wilmot Creek. They're friendly. They want to help their neighbours. They want to know their neighbours. That's the way of life we sell.

I want to mention that because when you get into a retirement community, the figures are, from a planning point of view, that the annual turnover of homes in a mature retirement community is 12% turnover per year. In a normal subdivision like most of us probably live in, it's 7%. What that really means is that for the given same number of homes, there are virtually twice as many for-sale signs up. What that ends up doing is, when the purchaser comes in, whether he's coming to buy a new home or a resale home, he's going to see twice as many for-sale signs as he normally would have seen. Whether the signs are on the grass or in the window of the home, the fact is he's going to see these for-sale signs and a little red flag is going to pop into his mind asking, "What's wrong with this place?"

Based on that, it's our feeling, and I think it's pretty obvious, that homes will devalue to some degree because the market will shrink. There are going to be some of those people who get that little red flag who say: "I'm not going to buy here. There's something wrong."

Similarly, it's like saying -- this is exaggerating -- that if they permit for-sale signs on the front lawn or in the windows of a condominium building, a person is going to look at it and say, "Well, you know, there must be something wrong there," and they're going to think twice before they buy. That's the main point.

If you turn around and say you are going to permit for-sale signs, you have to remember that in our communities -- and I can only speak about our communities -- all of the people were well aware when they purchased. You're probably going to hear tomorrow from the home owners who live at Wilmot Creek and Sandycove, and they're going to tell you, I believe, that they don't want for-sale signs. They agreed to that and we think that's part of the reason they choose to live there today.

This has worked for 25 years in our community. I just want to tell you that even though there are no for-sale signs, resale homes outsell new homes five to one at Wilmot Creek. So resale homes are selling. Because there are no for-sale signs doesn't mean they're not going to sell. I've got to keep moving here; it's hard to deal with this.

Another little problem we have -- not a little problem, but it creates a complication of this -- is that at Wilmot Creek we have 250 lots left to lease or houses to build, and you run into the problem if you put up for-sale signs it's us, as a company, who are advertising and attracting the people to the community, because it is a private community. People coming into Wilmot Creek would not normally go into there unless they were being enticed to come in, whether it's to visit a friend or to buy. Here they'll come in and they'll see a Re/Max, or a Royal Lepage, or some sign, and some percentage of them will be lost. That's another wrinkle you've got to be aware of. It's not as easy, as I say, to paint the whole thing with one brush.

With respect to first right of refusal, in a retirement community it's a little different again. In a retirement community we end up having a number of estate sales because of the age of the children who are willed the home and they want to sell the home. Because the rent is going out monthly, there is a degree of saying, "Look, okay, let's sell this thing quickly." We've had examples in our communities where the estate sale has been put on the market at 50% below market value. That obviously affects the couple down the street who are trying to sell their home. In those cases we use this clause. In 10 years we've only used this clause 12 times at Wilmot Creek, so it's like an item that's blown out of proportion. What we do is we step in on that estate sale if it's below value, refurbish the home, put it back on the market at value and now the couple down the street is once again competitive.

The other example is that as a retirement community, and as it becomes older, now and then you get an individual, say a husband, who's the remaining person in the home who may not have the health or the financial means or the desire to maintain his home properly. That happens. I know with my grandparents, I remember it was a job to get them to eat properly.

In this case, we find at Sandycove once in a while that an individual hasn't maintained his home properly for the last few years and it turns out that when he passes away or decides to sell, the home is below standard. That again affects the value of the couple down the street. What we do in that case is, if the price is right, meaning that it is well below market, we step in, purchase the home, put in a new roof, siding, carpeting, whatever it needs, and put it back on the market. Not only have we made the home that the couple down the street is trying to sell competitive with it again, but we've refurbished the whole community and helped in both of these things.

I know I'm talking quickly, but both of these items, the for-sale sign and the first right of refusal, are items that without a doubt have worked to maintain the value of the homes of the tenants. Getting back to what I started saying, it's essential in retirement communities or in mobile home parks in general that nothing be done to devalue those homes. If they devalue, we're going to go right back to what we all had in the 1950s and 1960s with the typical community. We're very proud of what we've been able to do in our communities. We know that the people who choose to live in our communities are proud of what they've got and we don't want any of that to be hurt.

I've got to say very quickly with respect to another situation, when you get into land leasing and rent controls, if there were for-sale signs and no first right of refusal, it's very possible for somebody to drive into Wilmot Creek, see a Re/Max sign and decide to buy the home. They could buy the home without ever going to our sales office, without ever being aware of the details of the lease or of the way of life, because under the Landlord and Tenant Act we must assign the lease. So you end up that a major part of the community, the fact of understanding the complications of the Rent Control Act, would be lost to this individual.

We've had cases like that where we've had to sort them out. Sometimes in a case like that we say, "No, we're going to step in and buy this home and sort out the problem." The realtor is interested in selling the home. He's interested in making a commission on the sale. Sure, we want to sell homes, whether they're new homes or used homes, but we also are a landlord and we want to live, and live happily, with the tenants for 20 years. That basically is all I want to say on that.

I'm going to refer very quickly to the reserve fund that's mentioned in the bill. We don't think it's necessary, because we believe that the Rent Control Act keeps the landlord in line.

Finally, I'm going to conclude, and I'll be glad to answer any questions that members might have. I'd just like to say that communities are very different. There are family communities and retirement communities, and I think it's very important that the members realize the differences. Our communities are retirement communities. We believe that the market should dictate. If the market out there says, "We don't want you to have this first right of refusal," it won't be long before we aren't selling that way. But the proof is that the people who buy are very convinced that this should be there. There may have to be some changes in how it's handled, but the fact is that it should be there. It's a tool that has made our communities what they are today.

As I said, and I'm repeating myself, the tenants and ourselves are very proud of our communities. I just ask the committee to consider not to hinder the value of the homes of the people who live there. They have invested in these communities. What may appear to be affecting value properly will in reality affect the value detrimentally.

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Chair: The reserve funds, for example, we have been told are out anyway. I'm just wondering if we could expedite and facilitate our questions if Mr Wessenger could put on the record what he is doing so that we don't waste time, Mr Daigeler, Ms Fawcett or I, asking questions that are redundant in light of his own amendments to the bill.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): We're here to listen, Margaret.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I have no objection indicating that there will be an amendment brought forward, first of all, deleting the reserve fund requirement under the bill. There is also going to be an amendment dealing with first right of refusal. I think those two should clarify some of the aspects. The question of the signs is obviously a matter we're going to have to consider and listen to all the representations, and after hearing that, make a decision on what is appropriate on that issue.


Mrs Marland: What is the amendment for the first right of refusal, so we know?

Mr Wessenger: What is under consideration is a provision that first rights of refusal will be permitted, but they'll be subject to normal time limits and there will also be no discount.

The Chair: We have time for one question and Mr Daigeler's going to ask it.

Mr Daigeler: Just on that point of order still, this clearly points out again the difficulties we are in. It is highly unusual to have amendments at this point when we haven't even heard from the deputants yet.

Frankly, it just reinforces what I said earlier, that obviously we're not at all ready to go to clause-by-clause. I certainly will be pushing for further opportunities for the public to be heard on this, once we know exactly what the bill is going to be like. At this point, as I said, I appreciated hearing from you, and frankly I understand much better now what your concerns are and what the issues are. I was not aware as to why not having a for-sale sign would be such a problem. I understand that much better and I appreciate that.

Let me ask you, because we have so little time --

The Chair: If that is on the same point of order, Mr Fletcher has a point of order.

Mr Mills: Is this his time? Come on, we're going to lose our time if this goes on.

The Chair: I should tell you that we have lost our time.

Mr Mills: This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

Mr Fletcher: This is on the same point of order.

Mr Mills: You take up points of order, you run up the clock and then we can't have anything.

The Chair: There was only four minutes, Mr Mills.

Mr Fletcher: Is Mr Mills okay now?

The Chair: Mr Fletcher.

Mr Fletcher: Thank you. Settle down. I was just wondering, Mr Wessenger, when you made your amendments, are your amendments from listening to people, consulting with people, or are these just things that came out of our own head?

Mr Wessenger: Mr Fletcher, amendments will be tendered hopefully this afternoon. Some of the amendments I intend to make are the result obviously of discussions with people like the participant here today and other people who have talked to me.

Mr Mills: Right on.

Mr Fletcher: Since this is a private member's bill, that was an admirable thing for you to do. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rice. I apologize that we didn't have some time to talk to you directly.

Mr Mills: That's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful that we don't get time.

Mr Wessenger: I would have liked to ask some questions.

Mr Mills: Someone comes down and we want to ask questions and there's no time at all. Why are we here?

Mrs Joan M. Fawcett (Northumberland): That's a very good point.

Mr Daigeler: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I think if Mr Mills is allowed to make his interjections, there should be some room for us to comment on that.

Mrs Fawcett: Yes. I certainly have a comment, Chair.

Mr Mills: I wasn't on the record.

The Chair: I think we should all be reminded that these are public hearings. The business of the committee is to speak to the deputants who come before us, and if we can restrict our comments to that it's most helpful to the way we proceed.

Mr Daigeler: Including Mr Mills.


The Chair: The next presentation will be from Morgan's Mobile Homes. The first thing I'm going to have to tell Mr Morgan is that he's going to have to remove the sign.

Mr Brad Morgan: That's fine.

The Chair: This committee hearing is an extension of the Legislature. No demonstrations or placards etc are permitted. Now, good morning, Mr Morgan. You've been allocated 20 minutes for your presentation. It's always appreciated if there's some time for conversation with the members. Would you please introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard and we will begin.

Mr Morgan: I'm Brad Morgan from Morgan's Mobile Homes in Clinton. I've never been in front of the House of Commons type of thing. I'm a little nervous.

The Chair: Just relax. You'll be fine.

Mr Morgan: Okay. To the members of the committee: My name is Brad Morgan and we own two parks with 66 homes in them. These parks were purchased in 1967. They're not of higher-class calibre, but very good people in them.

I thank you for the opportunity to share my views on Bill 21. How does a bill like this one get through readings and to committee with only a few landlords knowing about it? Should we be in contact with the government on a daily basis? Are we to represent landlords from all over Ontario when I believe the majority of them never heard of Bill 21?

I do not want to offend anyone personally, but my presentation is a little sarcastic. I'm very frustrated with trying to run a family-owned and -operated business, and I stress it is a business, when the government has made it practically illegal to be a park operator. Can anyone say they have read the Rental Housing Protection Act, the Rent Control Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Land Lease Statute Law Amendment Act and the Planning Act and are able to understand them completely? I would like to get some names so I can call for explanations, so I don't have to hire extra lawyers.

I personally do not support most types of government intervention with respect to renting and leasing of private land. The tenants' association of each park should be able to lobby their own landlords for necessary changes. I have a copy of the second reading of Bill 21 at the Legislative Assembly. In addressing why Bill 21 came to be, Mr Wessenger should have asked those tenants if they would rather give up restrictions and security in exchange for living beside so-called reformed murderers, rapists, thieves, paedophiles, an all-round great bunch of undesirables. With these bills you've taken away our right to govern our own property. The homes in that area certainly won't appreciate over the years and the families might abandon these areas altogether.

When there is a problem, the landlord is the one who's held responsible. Municipalities and police will tell you, "It's your landlord's property; you talk to him first." I bet most landlords can tell you of life-threatening situations and wilful damage concerning tenants and their guests. Examples are: being nearly run over by angry guests, being shoved through our front glass window or our front glass door by two party-going thugs, having our car stolen, truck stolen, tools, and break-and-enters in our warehouse.

Mr Wessenger talks about security and tenure in parks south of the border. This statement is very true, but the reason for their success is the municipal support, the lack of government intervention, and also the investment of labour and money by business to make the park a desirable place to live. He is also concerned about park closures. Well, one reason for the park closures is the demands from government which make it all but impossible to financially support a landlord and his family and to keep the park running smoothly.

The right of first refusal should be given to the tenants' association so that they would be able to buy the park if the park owner wanted to sell. Landlords in most parks don't have the right of first refusal or any other rights to refuse anything, let alone the money to purchase the home that needs updating.

How about this idea? Just pass another law that would ensure all mobile homes in parks be brought up to the new Building Code standards. I could just imagine the squealing that would go on in the tenants' circle. Sorry, no votes for the NDP today. At least I could offer my services as a contractor for these upgrades, or could I? I guess we'd have to change the Rent Control Act.

Here's one example of what recently happened in our park. We let an elderly man and his ancient 1957 mobile home stay in our park till one day God asked him to leave. We told the estate that we would buy the home and remove it, or they could move it on to a summer park, so that we could put in a more updated home and a bigger one. How many tenants do you think would be upset if we let riffraff move into this unit as it was? It would certainly have devalued the neighbourhood, homes and the park in general.

About the reserve fund, I think it's ridiculous. Who is going to police and administer the fund? I don't know, but I'm sure it will cost a lot. There will have to be countless professional surveys, engineers' reports, tenders, all sorts of red tape, and after the lawyers and accountants send their bills in, I would think $20,000 per park would slide through the government administrators' fingers quite easily without ever reaching the parks for upgrades.

Our park is situated in a snowbelt area on the lee of Lake Huron, which adds the high cost of snow removal that some other parks do not have. We've had expensive repairs on a road tractor and have had to buy another newer one just to keep our obligation fulfilled. We've had watermain breaks because of the frost. We've paved the roads and tried to maintain a decent park. No municipality has ever offered financial assistance to us. They just double our taxes every few years, then ask for more permits, more regulations and some very expensive surveys. They want our park to comply with subdivision bylaws. How can we be the criminals here?


We only get $98 a month rent. If you can grant me $400 a month, I will gladly set aside money for upgrades. The low cost of living in our park as compared to elsewhere keeps few for-sale signs from showing. A few times we have let real estate sell and they've asked outrageous prices. The homes sit unsold for ages, and they also do not inform us of the new tenants before the deals are signed. I think the tenants would rather see me govern the signs or erect a notice board than to see the signs I had up situated on the streets, maybe 10 of them.

I had a joke, but I guess it's not suitable.

Mr George Dadamo (Windsor-Sandwich): Try.

Mr Morgan: Okay, it's time for a joke. What two businesses in Ontario can you not quit or cease operating the business? The Mafia and the land-leased mobile home park business. If you quit either one, you will be penniless or you will be dead.

A fair way to deal with the landlord-tenant relations is to deregulate the parks and let free enterprise regulate or for the government to purchase our properties at a fair market value, before it became a poor investment. Another idea might be to supply government funds for tenants to buy the properties so they can manage the park properly, and maybe we could expropriate this land from the town and use our high taxes for our own new-founded village and its services. I think I would call it Morganville. Most of my tenants respect and like me, and I in return try to be as helpful as I can to the tenants, whom I respect. I believe the whole park wants a bad apple removed so it doesn't spoil the whole bushel.

Thank you again for allowing me to speak, and I hope you can see my point of view. I would seriously like to get some information on how to groom one of my boys to become a member of Parliament.

The Chair: Perhaps Mr Daigeler can help with the last question.

Mr Daigeler: Are we starting here now?

The Chair: We really didn't have any questions last time.

Mr Daigeler: Let me ask first of all, how did you hear about the bill?

Mr Morgan: Just the newly formed land-lease federation brought it to our attention. Otherwise, we would not have known. The landlords the federation has talked to are the only ones who know. I don't know if I have ever seen it in the newspaper.

Mr Daigeler: You haven't received any kind of notification or anything like that.

Mr Morgan: Not to my knowledge. Maybe it's in the paperwork, but I sure didn't see it.

Mr Daigeler: How much time do we have?

The Chair: You have about three minutes.

Mr Daigeler: If this bill were to pass the way it is right now, what would be the overall effect on your operation?

Mr Morgan: I would like someone to pay us a reasonable price for our park so we can just get out of it and get on with the business of making money, because as it is, we are a welfare agency.

Mr Daigeler: In other words, basically you'd have to give up your operation. That's what you're saying.

Mr Morgan: Basically, yes. My dad started the park. Well, he bought the existing park and has updated two sections of it. A lot of those are retired people. We get along great. They have no beefs about any of these things, and to just put more legislation on us to keep these rules up is ridiculous. Like I said, we have under $100 rent per month and our taxes are upwards of $1,000 a year per home. What services do we get for that? I would rather just have our own little town. We'd run it the way we want to run it and use those taxes to keep it going.

Mr Daigeler: About how many units are in your park?

Mr Morgan: About 66 homes. That's mostly working-class, with some welfare and some retired.

Mr Daigeler: I'm looking to the Chairman because we all have a certain number of minutes that we can ask questions. I'm not sure whether it's fair to ask you, but are you aware of any major problems over the time you and your family have been involved that ought to be addressed by the government?

Mr Morgan: No. I think we could address them ourselves, and with the help of the town police, I'm sure most of the problems will be solved without all these regulations and limitations on rent. If it were run as a business on the open market, the open market would keep us in line. For our old existing parks, I don't believe this has anything to do with them, or shouldn't have anything to do with them.

Mrs Marland: Mr Morgan, I want to congratulate you on your presentation. You certainly didn't have to be nervous and you've done an excellent job. It's rather a depressing picture. I was just figuring, if you said your taxes per lot are $1,000 and your income is $98 a month --

Mr Morgan: Not all the homes. We have some pretty run-down homes in our park. There are ones there that are worth $1,000 which are taxed at almost $20,000 value.

Mrs Marland: But it's not a big money-making business is the point that I'm making.

Mr Morgan: It is not a money-making business. A money-making business is in the sale of homes to private lots or to second homes on a farm or granny flats, and that's where we make our money. This is just a time-consumer.

Mrs Marland: In the meantime, you see your property rights going out the window in terms of what you could do with your land if you wanted to get out of the business.

Mr Morgan: Yes. I would like to get out of the business and just sell homes, prefabricated housing.

Mrs Marland: I don't have a copy of your brief, but it will be in Hansard when we get Hansard back. But did you say how many units you operate presently?

Mr Mills: He said 66.

Mr Morgan: Yes.

Mrs Marland: Thank you. How would you feel about the for-sale signs if they were in the windows of the existing units, rather than on the property? Would that be a problem for you?

Mr Morgan: It's not a problem, as I said, in our park. I definitely see it as a problem in the big parks. In our park there's no problem selling a home because every place uptown is three times the price. We're on the edge of town, and if a home comes up for sale, it doesn't take long to sell it. I'm just saying there's no reason why there can't be 100 signs like I did have there in a park. Not in my park, but 10 or 20 of those home-made signs certainly wouldn't be very professional or look very good.

Mrs Marland: No, I'm talking about a real estate sign in the window rather than anything on the property itself.

Mr Morgan: Well, real estate doesn't seem to really know what it's doing in a park. They're trying to sell the property, which they have no right to sell. They're just supposed to be selling the home that's on the property. We've had real estate in, but we've cut a deal with them.

Mrs Marland: Have you had experience where professional realtors have sold units in your park and the purchaser has not been told either by the real estate agent or the vendor that it was leased land?

Mr Morgan: Oh, I'm sure they were told that it was leased land, but I don't think they ever got a copy of, say, rules and regulations. In our park we don't have very many. Maybe Mr Rice would like to sit back up here and use some of my time for questions back to him.

Mrs Marland: Well, I've talked to Mr Rice, so I know what their experience is, and I was just trying to get experience in another park.

The Chair: Mrs Marland, we're moving to Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Chair, at last. I would just like to thank you for coming here this morning, Mr Morgan, and I would also like to tell you that though it's quite fashionable to blame the NDP government for anything from static cling to the cold weather --

Mr Daigeler: And it's all true.

Mr Mills: -- I just want to tell you and my self-righteous colleagues across the way there that this legislation hasn't just come about. In fact, on May 11, 1989, a member of the previous Liberal government also introduced a private member's bill similar to my colleague's to bring these concerns to the Legislature on behalf of all the people who live in parks etc.



Mr Mills: Also, I'd like to remind my self-righteous friends across the way there that the resolution on the issue, the substance of which is this bill here today, was presented at the Durham East Liberal association, it was accepted as policy and it was submitted to the regional policy council. So they can't escape. This has been a problem for a long, long time that many, many legislators have tried to come to grips with, and we are the new boys on the block and we are trying to come to grips with this.

I'm interested in what you said in so far as you don't like this bill, that's obvious, and you feel the tenants of the organizations should lobby the landlords for change. I put it to you, sir, that that system has failed, and that's why we're here today. That's why the Liberals were there with their resolution. Lobbying landlords has failed the tenants. What do you say about that?

Mr Morgan: Failed, meaning what?

Mr Mills: It's failed; you know, you can't get anywhere. If the tenants rely on lobbying you, and you said, "We want to make more money," as I think I heard you say, how does this fit in with meeting the concerns of the tenants in these parks, if that's your philosophy?

Mr Morgan: The concerns of the tenants are, if the park homes go up in value and it's a desirable place to live, then we will make money because the rent will be up. If people keep putting more money into the park, into their homes, updating them, and also if we get a reasonable rate of return, the whole scene is worth more and I believe everyone benefits, as compared to the way we're letting it slide right now.

Mr Mills: I agree with what you're saying, but how are people getting this worked out if they appeal to you to get things done to improve their lot and you're not doing anything about it? What is their recourse, except through their MPPs, who subsequently bring forward legislation like this to come to grips with the problems?

Excuse me, sir, the NDP didn't make these problems. We haven't created the problems in land-lease lots and trailer parks and everything. The problems are there. We're here as legislators. I'm here representing the people in my riding to come to grips with the problems they're facing. Is that wrong of me?

Mr Morgan: In some places you are.

Mr Mills: Am I?

Mr Morgan: In my park, I don't believe there is a problem, because we try to work things out with our tenants if they have a problem. If there's 1,000 homes in a particular park, I'm sure not all the problems will be worked out. When it is our property, if someone wants to move out, I see no problem with them moving out.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Morgan, we appreciate you taking the time to come and see us this morning.


Mr Paul Rapsey: Good morning. I represent the Legal Clinics' Housing Issues Committee, which is an organization of over 70 legal aid clinics province-wide. A major function is to study housing issues in detail, and particularly legislation of this sort.

Our written submissions are some 25 pages and they're in four parts. A significant part of my submission has had the wind knocked out of it by learning this morning that the reserve fund amendment is about to be proposed, so I won't deal with that issue, but it was about one quarter of our submission.

I should also say that I was to be a co-presenter and Ms Wendy Bird from Sault Ste Marie had an accident and was ordered by her doctor not to travel. So there may be some questions I cannot answer in detail and I will take down any of those questions and reply in writing after I've discussed those particular issues with Ms Bird if I can't answer them satisfactorily for you.

The first part of our concern about the bill is that it creates a new class or subclass of mobile home, which is the non-seasonal mobile home park. The Legislature in 1975 first recognized the reality of mobile home parks and brought in the existing amendments, which govern all mobile home parks except those that are vacation properties alone and where the term of the tenancy is for under four months. What the bill is doing is providing a new class of mobile home park, which is this non-seasonal creature, and the differences in the definition are contained in three words. Those three words are "in all seasons."

We're not quite sure what that term means. I don't think it necessarily means it's a park that has to be open 365 days a year, but does a park that's open a few hours in each season fall under the category or not? I simply can't answer those questions. Our written submissions have given examples of many types of problems that will arise with this particular definition.

We have talked with a number of mobile home park tenants in the so-called seasonal premises. They were not at all consulted about this bill and are very concerned about the exclusion from the impact of the bill, because these are parks that traditionally close for a few months during the coldest seasons. Many of these people are your Anne Murray snowbirds who, for financial reasons, cannot afford to live in Ontario year-round. They are some of the most vulnerable of tenants and there is no reason why they should not be incorporated into this bill.

I think the aim of Bill 21 is admirable. I only regret that this problem of land-lease communities and mobile home parks has been one that has been studied by successive governments over the years and studied in detail. I was first contacted in 1989 by a government study and I find it unfortunate that, acknowledging the many problems, it had to be brought forward by a private member rather than by the government. If the aim is to protect tenants' security and it's to protect the investments tenants have in their mobile homes, then there is no less investment or no less right to security of tenants who live in so-called seasonal mobile home parks.

There are a couple of really interesting very recent court decisions which have acknowledged mobile homes are anything but mobile. To be forced to move them would cause the physical breakup of many of these homes, the total destruction of the tenant's major investment in life. Another court has acknowledged that there is a diminishing number of spots where tenants can move these mobile homes to. Therefore, they are stuck with the possibility of losing their investment if they are not given the full protection that this bill would offer to the socalled non-seasonal uses and the land-lease communities. In some of those court cases, more enlightened judges have granted relief from forfeiture to the tenants, but that is anything but assured to tenants. We have concerns there.

The reserve fund part, obviously, I will not address at all. It would not have worked. I think that is our basic conclusion. It would not have worked because of concerns under the Rental Housing Protection Act that I'm going to put forward now.

The bill, as it applies to the Rental Housing Protection Act, extends protection, as I said, to land-lease communities and to non-seasonal mobile home parks. The concern is particularly for northern Ontario, where many of these parks, both seasonal and non-seasonal, are located in municipally unorganized territories which are not covered by the Rental Housing Protection Act. These communities are the most vulnerable, and we simply don't understand why a bill which is as comprehensive as this one has failed to include the unorganized territory parks.

We have problems with mobile homes in Elliot Lake, in Sudbury, in Thunder Bay. We have problems in the Muskokas, we have problems in the Kawarthas and we have problems that are known to us in the Ottawa Valley. We feel that the protection must extend to all parks in the province and not just those in municipally organized areas. As you know, it's not only municipally organized areas; it's those that are specifically set out in the regulations.


Also, we have problems with the wording of the part of the bill that deals with the Rental Housing Protection Act. There are multiple new definitions that are, quite simply, confusing to read. We think that there is one definition which could be deleted entirely and, with some minor adjustments, make the statute read more clearly. We have proposed in our written submission the deletion of the definition of "residential unit." We think this simplifies the reading of the bill and accomplishes the same purpose.

There is also an amendment to the existing subsection 2(2). We find the amendment complicating in that it seems to remove apartment buildings which are already covered by the act from the coverage under the act. We simply see no valid reason for the changed definition. Obviously, part of the reason for the changed definition is the inclusion of land-lease communities, but we don't understand their apparent -- and I say "apparent" because I have to confess I can't conceive that there would be an intention to remove apartment buildings, but it's the way we read the bill, in any event.

The bill also provides exemptions from the coverage of the act, and these exemptions are to be made by regulation. Again, we seem to read this exemption provision as excluding mobile home park sites. We don't understand why there couldn't be valid exemptions for certain mobile home park sites if they met certain carefully regulated criteria. I'm just raising that there are some actual drafting concerns we have.

Another major concern of ours is the provision that deals with the removal of mobile homes from the rental property, and this is the new subsection 4(2.2). In reading the provision, one can only hope, at least as a tenant advocate, that the purpose of the provision would be to allow a tenant who owns their own mobile home and rents the site to remove the mobile home without prior approval by the municipality and also to prohibit landlords from removing mobile homes without the prior approval of the municipality. But that's not the way it reads. It seems to indicate that a tenant who both rents the land and the unit can remove the unit, which doesn't make sense, without prior approval, but a tenant who owns their own unit cannot remove it. There's a problem in this. It could allow collusion between landlords and tenants to change the status of the park by the removal of units from the park. We simply hope there's a drafting oversight or some omission there that can be explained.

There are other provisions, the new subsection 10(4) and the new 9(4), which distinguish between premises already covered under the act and the new premises to be brought under the act. We agree that those distinctions need to exist because you don't want to impose retroactive restrictions, but we think the wording of those two provisions in particular is awkward. It requires constant cross-references between multiple definitions and definitions of definitions within definitions before one can understand the application. We hope the new thrust of legislative drafting is to make statutes comprehensible to the ordinary citizen. Certainly we don't think that this bill, at least in those instances, accomplishes that end.

We think the draft legislation requires fine-tuning and we cannot see the justification for the omission of tenants in unorganized territories from coverage of the legislation.

More importantly, we also think that this bill must be seen only as an interim measure. The nature of this special type of rental housing and the unique situations and problems faced by both landlords and tenants in these types of separate premises need specifically tailored legislation to govern them.

The Landlord and Tenant Act was first introduced to govern residential premises in 1970. It was amended in 1972, it had a major amendment in 1975, other amendments in 1981 and 1986, a major amendment in 1987, another amendment in 1989, a major amendment in 1990, another major amendment in 1992 and there is already Bill 121 before the Legislature with further major amendments. This type of Band-Aid amendment cannot go on. The reality of residential tenancies has changed markedly, particularly with respect to mobile homes and land-lease communities, and the 25 years since the introduction of part IV of the Landlord and Tenant Act requires comprehensive consideration.

I want to just touch briefly on the final part of my submission, and these are a few miscellaneous points: the right of first refusal and the for-sale-sign issue, which was addressed by the previous two speakers.

I have to say that we as tenant advocates agree that the right-of-first-refusal provision is far too broadly stated. There may be times when such an agreement between landlords and tenants would be to the mutual benefit of both. It obviously wants to ensure that the agreement is made in good faith, that it's not imposed upon the tenant by undue influence or an inequality in bargaining position, but this could be arranged, and we have suggested in our written submission the types of agreements that could be validated and the types of situations where they may be justified.

On the for-sale-sign issue I take a different point of view than the previous two speakers. I think the right to sell, which is now contained already for all mobile homes in the Landlord and Tenant Act, must obviously include the incidentals of a sale, and those include not only for-sale signs but the right to show potential purchasers and the right to advertise. We think there needs to be a right to have any disputes resolved in a summary fashion.

But we think the inclusion of the one provision, the right to have a for-sale sign, diminishes the existing rights. If the courts see that there is a right to have a for-sale sign, they're going to read that it means there is not a right to show purchasers the property, there is not the right to advertise the premises, there are not all kinds of other rights which are necessary to making a sale take place. We have concerns about the limited inclusion of a specific right to place a for-sale sign.

There, in a nutshell, is 25 pages of submissions. Our submission also includes quite a detailed legislative history and some of the jurisprudence dealing with mobile home park concerns. But I want to say, as an advocate who was involved in a number of very nasty and lengthy disputes between mobile home park tenants and their landlords, that it is definitely a time where there is a need for change. I commend Mr Wessenger for bringing forward this bill. As I said, there are some problems with it.

Those are my submissions.

The Chair: There is time for a very brief question from each caucus.

Mrs Marland: Mr Rapsey, are you a lawyer?

Mr Rapsey: Yes, I am.

Mrs Marland: Who funds the legal clinic's housing issues committee?

Mr Rapsey: It's funded through the clinic funding committee, which is a branch of Ontario legal aid.

Mrs Marland: So it's funded by the government.

Mr Rapsey: Indirectly.

Mrs Marland: Because you said you were a tenant activist.

You've identified that the bill is poorly drafted and requires fine-tuning. Could you tell this committee what, in simple language, is the solution to the fact that we have two kinds of property owners in this whole issue? We have property owners who own property and we have property owners who own buildings. What is the solution that would provide equity to both of those owners in this province?

Mr Rapsey: That's a very broad question.

Mrs Marland: Well, you have a 21-page draft, and that's what we need.

Mr Rapsey: The solution is, as I said, ultimately special legislation dealing with land-lease communities, and land-lease communities are communities where one party owns the land and the other party owns the structure. The normal residential premise is where the tenant rents and the landlord owns the building, but there isn't the same separateness. I think simply you've got the problem of dealing with planning acts, environmental studies, the various problem that these communities have sprung up without any thought, without any planning, without any legislation in place at the time they were created. You've got patchwork and it doesn't work.


Mrs Marland: So you don't have a solution.

Mr Rapsey: I have no solution, other than comprehensive legislative reform.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think some of the fine-tuning matters hopefully will be dealt with in the amendment which you raised, and amendments which will be presented.

But I was particularly interested in your comments with respect to the sale rights. You indicate that you think this right of sale should be further extended. Have there been problems with some of these areas; for instance, of refusal of access to common areas or refusing people the right to see?

Mr Rapsey: Yes. We've had one problem particularly -- this was in the Kawartha area -- where the landlord was basically prohibiting entry to all kinds of people, including would-be purchasers. It was a matter that just kept going to the courts, injunctions and multiple problems. So yes, it exists all the time.

I can't say it exists everywhere or with every landlord or that there aren't good landlords. I think we've heard from some people who may be good landlords. Unfortunately, you can't guarantee a good landlord. You can't guarantee that the premises won't be sold by one good landlord to someone who isn't a good landlord, and I think that's why you can't depend on goodwill.

Mrs Fawcett: Thank you for your presentation. I'm sure you are aware that we were given yesterday 27 amendments to a 26-section bill, and one of those amendments will strike out the retroactivity of the bill. I know that tenants have expressed to me that this is a real problem, especially the trailer park in my riding, and I'm just wondering how you feel about the fact that the retroactivity --

Mr Rapsey: I didn't know that the retroactivity provision had been struck out.

Mrs Fawcett: It hasn't yet, but that is one of the amendments that will be presented, which is the problem with this whole hearing.

Mr Rapsey: Normally, a retroactivity provision is put in from the date of first reading to prevent parties, in anticipation of a change that's going to affect them perhaps detrimentally, from taking anticipatory action against the other party. I would have concerns that if it were not maintained, there may be some abuses that have already taken place that could not be remedied.

Mrs Fawcett: Thank you. That is our understanding of what's going to happen.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rapsey.


The Chair: The next presentation will come from the Ontario Land Lease Federation. The committee has allocated 20 minutes for your organization for your presentation. Kindly indicate who you are and your position within the organization and introduce your colleague. Then you may begin.

Mrs Jo-Anne Homan: My name is Jo-Anne Homan. This is my husband, Keith Homan, with me. I'm representing the Ontario Land Lease Federation, of which I'm the secretary. My husband and I also personally own and run a 230-mobile-home park near Goderich.

I'm here today to submit comments on Bill 21. I represent the Ontario Land Lease Federation. It's composed of mobile home parks, land-lease communities, dealers and manufacturers. We represent a majority of the communities and the concerns that this bill will have on our businesses.

The purpose and objectives of the newly formed Land Lease Federation are: to voice the concerns of land-lease communities to all levels of government with regard to legislation, regulations and policies affecting land-lease communities; to secure the cooperation of all agencies and organizations, both public and private, that affect any aspect of land-lease communities in order to ensure the feasibility, continuance and growth of land-lease communities in this province; and finally, to promote land-lease communities as an affordable housing alternative.

Our federation represents the concerns of communities to date with over 9,000 units represented. The majority of the communities are owner-developed and -managed. The majority of the owners live onsite, with almost no absentee landlords. We have always in the past worked with, listened to and tried to resolve problems within the communities without outside government interference. We feel this bill, if allowed to pass in its present form, will adversely affect and jeopardize the continuance of this affordable housing alternative.

With the scarce supply of residential development land in the large urban centres, land-lease communities are helping to reduce the pressure and allow people to have an affordable housing alternative outside the large urban centres. We believe that mobile home parks and land-lease communities provide a necessary form of low-cost and affordable housing in Ontario. These communities receive no government-assisted subsidies. These communities pay their own way and provide an abundance of municipal tax to help the municipalities where these communities are present.

Ontario Land Lease Federation members have created individual lease agreements and commonsense rules which they feel are necessary on a community-to-community basis. All the tenants, prior to living in these communities, are given copies of the lease agreements and rules, and the tenants understand and agree to these conditions before choosing to move into the communities. So we do take offence at the suggestion that landlords have imposed unreasonable restrictions on tenants. This is not the case.

In the summer and fall of 1990, a group of mobile home parks and land-lease communities met with the interministerial liaison committee for mobile home parks and land-lease communities. They reviewed with us the terms of reference that they were operating under, described the role of the working group and a discussion of the report that was to be generated out of the meetings took place. Assurances were given to our working group of mobile home parks and land-lease communities that we would receive a completed report. To date we have received no report. This assurance was given to us by the chair of the committee from the Ministry of Housing, Ivy France. Since our federation represents so many communities in this province, we are respectfully requesting at this time a copy of the full transcripts of this hearing and the report from the interministerial liaison committee.

Bill 21 comes at an untimely and inappropriate time when mobile home parks and land-lease communities do not need to have imposed on them more regulations, requirements and increased operating costs. Some of our communities are desperately struggling in attempts to survive. We feel this bill is an attempt to resolve tenants' problems, but in our opinion it is only going to increase their problems, their level of frustration and burden the taxpayers of this province with an unwarranted expenditure to administer this ill-conceived and poorly drafted bill.

The Ontario Land Lease Federation is uncertain why this bill has had second reading when there has been no consultation with mobile home park or land-lease community owners. Landlords were not consulted whatsoever, and the majority of tenants in these communities were not consulted either.

The long-term ramifications of this bill and the impact of certain sections have not been well-thought-out, and any change that has an appearance of a positive nature has to have a negative impact on some of the communities. This must be further studied to look at the long-term impact.


This bill requires further consultation between the parties, and I urge this committee not to make recommendations to adopt this bill in its present form until there is a task force formed to study this. The task force should be comprised of a group of representative landlords, a group of representative tenants and government officials to define the problems in these communities clearly and draft with legislation a solution to these problems.

We further urge the government that it might be the time and place to prepare a new piece of legislation that encompasses only mobile home parks and land-lease communities. The existing Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and other acts have all attempted to fit our communities into existing legislation, and it's not working.

We all know from the past that housing drives the economy. With the slumping housing sales over the past few years, it might be a worthwhile mandate of this government to promote an affordable housing alternative in this province such as mobile home parks and land-lease communities.

Statistics Canada recently released figures on the number of people turning 65 each month. That number is 19,000 people turning 65 each and every month, and that number will increase. There is a pent-up demand for these types of communities in the province, and by placing further restrictions on these communities you will continue to drive investment out of the province to other areas where these types of developments and communities are welcomed with open arms.

I believe we both want the same thing: We want affordable housing in this province to continue, we want to expand affordable housing, we want to create additional units to house people and we want the attractiveness of these communities and high standards maintained to protect all.

The difficulty the federation and this committee will have is because each and every mobile home park and land-lease community is different and extremely different. In the past, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and other acts were all written with the idea of an apartment building in downtown Toronto being the standard. The majority of mobile home parks and land-lease communities are not on any municipal servicing, do not get municipal snowplowing, municipal water and sewer, garbage pickup or municipal street lights. All these services are supplied, installed, maintained and paid for by the landlords of these communities with no municipal help whatsoever. So a subtle change in a bill on one community might not be a subtle change in another community.

The federation feels that this bill should come into force when it receives royal assent and that the retroactive provisions of this bill should be removed.

In reviewing this proposed bill, we find many sections can be severely altered by the imposition of unfair regulations. Since the regulations have not been attached or made available to our committee for review, it is unclear the impact they might have.

In order to determine the total impact that this bill will have on mobile home parks and land-lease communities, we feel many amendments will have to occur. The regulations should be laid out to all parties prior to third reading and royal assent. We suggest the establishment of a committee or task force made up of landlords, tenants and various ministries. I think a lot of good could come out of this joint committee. There may be some further amendments put forward to benefit both parties and to have communities in this province established that are at the leading edge of such communities in Canada. Maybe this should be our goal.

We will now make comments on the bill, amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Amendment 1: The federation supports expansion of the Landlord and Tenant Act to cover land-lease community homes. We feel the tenants in these communities should be afforded the same protection as other tenants.

Amendment 2: The federation supports amendment 2, requiring the landlord to provide reasons for refusing consent for the tenant to sell, lease or otherwise part with possession of their mobile home or land-lease community home.

Amendment 3: We are not certain that amending the first right of refusal -- now, we've discussed that, so I don't know whether to just; I'll go through it anyway -- has as great a benefit to tenants as originally thought. The first right of refusal that is present in most tenancy agreements is not so much for the individual tenant but as a benefit for the whole community. It is our understanding that some first-right-of-refusal agreements between landlords and tenants contained in lease agreements were worded in a way that the tenant would receive 95% of the purchase price from the landlord in the event the landlord was to exercise his first right of refusal when presented with another offer from a purchaser of the tenant's home. We feel that this should be amended so that the landlord would have to pay 100% of the purchase price and not be allowed to deduct the real estate commission from that first-right-purchase agreement.

Our membership's understanding of the purpose of the first right of refusal contained in tenants' agreements is for two reasons:

(1) Upgrading standards of poorly maintained homes. In the event a tenant wasn't able to keep his home properly maintained, that tenant's actions tend to depress the value of the homes around it. It would be in the best interest of the rest of the residents in the community for the landlord to exercise the first right of refusal on a sale to buy that home and upgrade that home to present park standards, thus maintaining or increasing the values of other homes in the park.

(2) The home becomes physically and functionally obsolete. There comes a point in time in every mobile home park that the original home that was placed in the park 30 years ago becomes physically and functionally obsolete. Twenty or 30 years ago there weren't available double- and triple-glazed windows, R-40 insulation in the ceilings, floors and walls, and the flat roofs that have been replaced with asphalt-shingled roofs. Not only do these older homes lead to extremely high heat bills, but they do not enhance the community.

In the event of one of these older homes becoming available, it would be in the remaining residents' best interests for the landlord to exercise his first right of refusal and buy that home, remove it from the community and replace it with a new home, thus upgrading the standards of the community. If the first-right-of-refusal condition is amended to allow the landlord to exercise the first right of refusal at 100% of the purchase price of any offer negotiated with the tenant and third party, what harm can come from the tenant receiving the same price from the landlord?

Amendment 4: The for-sale sign issue seems to be one of great contention. In communities where for-sale signs have never been permitted, most landlords and residents don't want them permitted. In communities where for-sale signs have been permitted, imposition of this regulation doesn't seem to cause a concern. But for the majority of the community, for-sale signs have never been permitted. For this reason, we feel that the for- sale sign provision in this bill should be reconsidered. The main reason for this is that in a small community, if 20 homes are for sale at the same time -- I'm talking a small community of 50 or 60 homes -- it can cause panic among potential buyers as well as fellow residents as to why so many homes are for sale, thus devaluing those homes that are for sale at that time and those around them.

In the alternative that this committee does not feel that section 125.2 should be deleted, then we suggest the for-sale-sign issue be resolved on a community-by-community basis. We suggest a vote of the majority of the residents in the community, and we further suggest that there should be some restrictions placed on the signs. The restrictions are as follows:

(1) The signs should be limited to one sign per mobile home or land-lease community home and placed inside the home's window.

(2) The size of the sign should be limited to no more than 4 square feet. In measuring several of the real estate for-sale signs, this seems to be a general size, a 2-by-2-foot area.

(3) We strongly recommend that for-sale signs not be placed on the lawns in front of the mobile home. We feel this will send an unclear and misleading message to a mobile home purchaser thinking he's buying the lot on which the home is situated. We know in one community this has happened and has caused the new mobile home purchaser a lot of frustration.

(4) The introduction of for-sale signs into a community where no for-sale signs were present in the past could increase significantly the danger and risk of break-ins and vandalism. In the past, if for-sale signs were not present in the community, purchasers would make inquiries directly to the office. The office would obtain details about this potential purchaser, determining their name, address, phone number, and what type of home they were interested in. We have found that sincere purchasers will volunteer this information and people who are there for improper purposes won't and they will leave the park.

Another reason why signs should not be placed on lawns is that some mobile home lots are very small and their setbacks from the road are smaller. Large for-sale signs placed on the front lawn would be very unsightly. Why should other residents who are not selling their homes be exposed to this?

Another suggestion is that prior to any tenant placing his home for sale, he notify the landlord of what he intends to do.


Amendment 5: The federation feels that the reserve fund issue should be removed entirely from this bill. The Rent Control Act deals adequately with services that are not maintained by the landlord for the benefit of the tenants and the Rent Control Act has many remedies contained in it to ensure the landlord is complying with all the requirements of this intended reserve fund.

Amendments to the Planning Act: Most of the members feel already that the Planning Act has been extended to the mobile home parks and land-lease communities, if not by law then by application, and we feel this is an acceptable amendment.

Amendments to the Rental Housing Protection Act: We would suggest that the amendments which would be brought about in this regulation would thwart the legislative intent of the Rental Housing Protection Act. In general, it provides for protection in designated areas where the government feels that it is necessary in communities of 50,000 people or larger. The net effect of these amendments would simply be an aggregate of an existing situation where the landlord is held hostage with low and chronically depressed rents while the tenants gain increased value in their homes thanks to such low or chronically depressed rent. At the same time, the thrust of the legislation is to give the landlord further duties to complete in the event of a conversion. It is impossible to resolve a long-term infrastructure problem with the inability to charge more than a 3% rent increase for a capital expenditure under the Rent Control Act. Even with the three-year rollover provision, 3% on a monthly rent of $100 is not enough to resolve the problem and gives no security to a lender or a financial institution to advance moneys on a long-term financing basis.

Because of the new environmental laws, the Planning Act and local zoning bylaws, it is next to impossible to establish more sites for mobile homes or land-lease community homes. There is a pent-up demand for these types of communities. In the state of Florida, they have allowed these communities to flourish and there is an abundance of supply. So if one community was forced to close, there are several hundred other communities from which mobile home owners could choose.

Again, we feel this only strengthens our position that a joint task force must be formed to study this situation further. The joint task force must be made up of landlords, tenant groups and government officials, like that which was established in the interministerial liaison committee for mobile home parks and land-lease communities, and allow a mandate to review, study, and complete and draft a new piece of legislation for these communities.

It is with great thanks to Mr Wessenger who, with the development of this bill, brought our communities together. For years, we've been trying to establish a federation among landlords to work with the government and our residents in these communities for long-term gains for both parties. This bill has forced us to get together finally and talk as one voice for the communities of this province. I'm sure you will review our comments, and we are ready at any time for consultation.

I believe we both want the same thing. We want affordable housing in this province to continue. We want to expand affordable housing. We want to create additional units to house people and we want the attractiveness of these communities and the high standards maintained to protect all. I believe we both want the same thing.

My presentation has been long, but I was representing a lot of people and we felt it better to say it as opposed to just handing some of it in.

The Chair: Thank you. We certainly appreciate your taking the time and effort to come to Queen's Park today to talk to us. This bill obviously will be considered in clause-by-clause later in the week. Thank you.

Mr Daigeler: While the next witness is taking his place, there's reference in the last presentation there to an interministerial liaison committee on mobile home parks and land-lease communities. I wonder whether at one point or another the ministry could let us know what happened to this, whether there is a report and whether that could be shared with the committee.

The Chair: I will ask the clerk to ask the ministry. I believe the representatives of the ministry could comment on that at a later date.

Mrs Marland: The representatives from the ministry are here, Mr Chairman, and also our researcher may know something about those minutes of those interministerial meetings. I think they're very important and they obviously were established by the former government, for which I give them credit, surprisingly enough.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. We will attempt to ascertain the answer to Mr Daigeler's question at the earliest possible moment.


Mr Craig Maxfield: My name is Craig Maxfield. I am here on behalf of my family, which owns two parks, Kenron Estates and Bayview Estates, which are in the Belleville-Trenton area. I'm going to take you through my written submission and then at the end I'm going to raise some of the questions which I feel you should be considering.

Kenron Estates Ltd currently owns and operates two mobile home parks in the Belleville-Trenton area. The first park, Kenron Estates, was founded by my grandparents, Ken and Annette Maxfield, in the late 1960s. My father, Ron, assumed the operations in the 1970s and expanded the park to its current size of 450 homes.

The second park that my family owns is Bayview Estates. It's 150 homes and it was purchased by our company in 1988. We've worked hard at improving Bayview through new rules and regulations and by improving the maintenance to the common areas.

We're opposed to the following sections in Bill 21:

-- sections 11 and 12, which will invalidate our existing rights of first refusal currently contained in our lease agreements.

-- sections 11 and 12, which will allow for-sale signs despite a pre-existing agreement prohibiting all signs.

-- section 12, which will impose a mandatory reserve fund.

-- section 16, which will expand the Rental Housing Protection Act to cover mobile homes.

First, the right of first refusal. We're opposed to this section for the following reasons:

(1) Our current rights provide us with an opportunity to upgrade our parks by either renovating or replacing those homes which have not been properly maintained. By invalidating our existing rights of first refusal, Bill 21 will restrict our ability to improve our parks.

(2) We ask to be treated the same as any other holder of a right of first refusal. If it is determined that rights of first refusal are unconscionable and against public policy, we ask that these rights be eliminated from all contracts formed in Ontario.

(3) Even though we have exercised our right of first refusal only one time in the past, we feel this right is critical in ensuring the integrity and appearance of our parks. We feel that invalidating our existing rights of first refusal could put our current success at risk.

The for-sale-sign issue: We're opposed to permitting signs in our park, notwithstanding our existing agreements, for the following reasons:

(1) One of the main reasons for the success of Kenron Estates has been our attempt to ensure the superior appearance of our park. In our view, signs of any nature will detract from the overall appearance of our parks and will put our success at risk.

(2) All our residents have moved into our parks on the understanding that no signs will be permitted. Bill 21 will allow signs in our parks even though every resident has agreed not to post them. Those residents who do not want signs posted and have a written agreement confirming that no signs will be permitted will be forced to live in a community which allows signs.

(3) Again, we ask to be treated the same as all other businesses in the province. If it is found that contracts prohibiting signs are unconscionable and against public policy, we ask that these provisions be prohibited in all contracts formed in Ontario.

Next is the reserve fund requirement. We're opposed to it for the following two reasons:

(1) The additional cost that a reserve fund requirement will impose. The cost of setting up a trust fund, hiring a prescribed person to conduct the study and the requirement of deducting a fixed amount into the reserve fund could prove onerous.

(2) Again, we should not be put at a competitive disadvantage. As a result, any reserve fund requirement should be extended to all owners of residential premises as defined by the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Finally, section 16, the Rental Housing Protection Act section: We're opposed to it. There should be an overall policy of encouraging tenants to become the owners of their parks. Prior to extending the definition of "rental property," the following question should be asked: Will extending the Rental Housing Protection Act to cover mobile homes promote the concept of resident ownership? In our view, resident-owned communities should be encouraged because of the pride of ownership, the greater security and the greater control resident owners have over the maintenance of their parks.


The key questions: Will Bill 21 encourage the development of future parks in the province? Will Bill 21 create jobs?

I can only speak for my family, and if the bill passes in its current form, there's absolutely no way we will attempt to start another park. I figure that if you don't get families like my family to start developing these parks, I don't think anyone else will do it because we've done it in the past and we have a good relationship with our manufacturer. We wouldn't develop another park because of the new restrictions on the rules which we can set, such as the sign rule and the right of first refusal. We wouldn't develop another park because of the reserve fund requirement and also section 14, the new plan-of-subdivision requirement would stop us. If Bill 21 passes in its current form, there's no way we'll be creating new jobs in the manufactured housing industry.

A second key question: Does bill 21 put successful parks at risk? Should existing rights of first refusal be taken away and should signs be permitted despite a prior existing agreement?

I think for you to properly answer that question, you should visit our park, Kenron Estates, and you should visit one of our neighbouring parks, Trenton Trailer Park, and you should ask yourselves, what type of park do you want to be promoting? If you want to promote parks like ours where the owners care about the appearance and set rules and regulations, such as no signs, a right of first refusal, no unlicensed vehicles, no fences, then you should be striking out sections 11 and 12. If you want to encourage the type of park where the owners don't care and they allow signs and they don't have a right of refusal -- I don't think you should be encouraging that type of park because of all the problems we've seen in the Trenton area.

One other issue on this sign issue that I think you should address is this false assumption that somehow these no-sign provisions and these rights of first refusal are this great hindrance to a tenant's ability to sell their home. False. Our park is probably one of the most successful parks in the province and we don't allow signs and we have a right of first refusal. Before making the assumption that no-sign provisions and rights of first refusal are a great hindrance, make sure you have the facts and the data in front of you.

The final question I have here is: Does Bill 21 promote the concept of resident ownership? Will Bill 21 encourage tenants to purchase their parks?

In my view, the answer is no. The expansion of the Rental Housing Protection Act will discourage resident ownership because with my interpretation of the act, it will require municipal approval prior to any conversion to resident ownership. Instead of making it more difficult for residents to own their parks, you should be encouraging it. You should be providing such things as loan guarantees to tenants who want to purchase their parks and you should be making the conversion process to resident ownership easier, not harder.

One other thing, too, about section 16 dealing with the Rental Housing Protection Act: I would advise you that prior to adopting it you make sure you understand every section, every line of section 16, as well as the current Rental Housing Protection Act. I found it was extremely difficult to read and a lot of people are going to be affected by that section if it does go through.

Finally, I think the overall policy of the bill should be to promote well maintained parks and to promote resident ownership. In my view, this bill does nothing but perpetuate the rental model, which we all know is not working.

Mr Mills: Thank you, Mr Maxfield, for coming here this morning and telling us about your views and ideas about the proposed legislation.

I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. The first one is about your right of first refusal. I've got a home there. Am I going to suffer some sort of discount with your company?

Mr Maxfield: No, the actual wording of our right of first refusal is, "During the term of the agreement, if the resident receives a bona fide offer which the resident is willing to accept, then the resident must send us a true copy of the offer to purchase," and then we have 72 hours to purchase it on the same terms.

Mr Mills: The same terms?

Mr Maxfield: Right.

Mr Mills: So if I'm offered $100,000 for my property, I've got to come to you and say: "Look, I've got an offer for $100,000. You've got 72 hours to match it or else you" --

Mr Maxfield: Right, we would have to pay $100,000.

Mr Mills: Okay, thank you for that. I want to talk a bit about signs. Believe it or not, I own a mobile home in Florida.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): No.

Mrs Marland: No.

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Conway: You've got to bury those pensions someplace.

Mr Mills: Yes, that's right.

We have a park and we have all kinds of rules and regulations which I really enjoy having. One of them is our right to sell. We have an association down there and we have a policy -- like you folks, we, in our association, didn't want signs all over the place because it didn't look nice. But we have a policy whereby we are allowed to place one sign in a window of our home so that people driving by in the park can see that.

Now, personally, coming from an age of law and order, which I subscribe to, believe it or not, I can accept that sort of policy. You seem to be absolutely adamant that there's no signs anywhere. I just wondered if you'd be willing to accept that sort of friendly amendment, if we did that.

Mr Maxfield: No, I wouldn't.

Mr Mills: You wouldn't?

Mr Maxfield: No, because, for example, I live in our park. I have an agreement that says there will be no signs. I don't want any signs in our park because I think it's going to detract from the appearance, and everyone has agreed to no signs. Even if there's one person who doesn't want the signs -- and, in my view, the majority of the people in our park would not want signs -- why should they be subject to the signs if they've got that written agreement? For everyone who comes into our park, we make sure our sales staff goes through every provision with them. Everyone knows there's not going to be any signs. To change the rules halfway through the game I don't think is right.

Mr Mills: Don't you think --

The Chair: Mr Conway.

Mr Conway: I want to just take a moment and say, Mr Maxfield, that your brief is extremely clear and to the point and helpful. I was very impressed by it and I have only one question.

I accept what you're saying. You seem to be a very credible witness and you've undoubtedly had a lot of good experience, as has your family, and you've invited us to go down and take a look through your part of southeastern Ontario, which I know very well, and compare Kenron Estates with another park which shall remain nameless.

Accepting, as I do, what you have said about the good and capable management and, apparently, the good relationship you have between owner and tenant at Kenron Estates, and knowing, as I do, from reading the Trentonian and other local papers, that there is something other than happiness at another neighbourhood park, my question to you is a very simple one: What do we do, those of us in public office, whether we're on the Trenton city council or in the Legislature, with the bad cats? There are some wretched cats out there who do the most horrible things on a repeated and ongoing basis. My experience is that most of the people most of the time, be they landlord or tenant, are good people of goodwill. But the bad cats are indescribable. Now, what do we do with the bad cats?

Mr Maxfield: I think the answer's pretty easy: You try to get rid of them.

Mr Conway: How?

Mr Maxfield: By trying to encourage your residents to buy their parks or getting out of the landlord and tenant model, which we know is so adversarial.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Do you agree with that, Sean?

Mr Conway: I think you make a very good argument. I must say, I've been here a fair length of time. There are a reasonable number of these --

Mr Maxfield: I do think the bad cats should be punished; I do.

Mr Mills: Buy them out.

Mr Maxfield: But not at our expense.


Mrs Marland: This is what makes this whole subject so difficult, the fact that there are poor operators that I'm sure the Ontario Land Lease Federation wouldn't want as members. It is not an easy problem to resolve.

On the one hand, people go into these beautifully well-run, well-operated retirement communities because they want to make a lower investment, but if they have to turn around and buy out the bad cats, as you have suggested, in the poorly run parks, then they no longer have a small, lower investment. Maybe it becomes a cooperative and they're part of a share in a bigger responsibility. This is what's happening in Mississauga with Cedar Grove. That community is looking at taking on a multimillion-dollar mortgage. It's not easy to resolve it.

Believe me, I am someone who believes in property rights and, as I said to the previous presenter, part of the problem here is that there are two property owners: there's land and there's built property and that's why it's very important that we listen very carefully to all of you because you have the experience as a business; we're going to be hearing from people who have experience in it as residents. We're only just common-or-garden legislators who are trying to help find a solution that's equitable to everybody and I think both sides recognize that there has to be an equitable solution.

One of the frustrations I had listening to you is the fact that you have to be here talking about the reserve fund and that's now gone. So we're in this mess where we're going to be hearing from people all day wasting time addressing stuff that's going to be removed.

I wanted to ask Mr Wessenger, again, is there anything -- we got the amendments yesterday and unfortunately my staff were ill and I have not been able to read the amendments since receiving them yesterday -- in the amendments that addresses the Rental Housing Protection Act? I've been told, but I haven't read it for myself, that every item under the Rental Housing Protection Act has been changed. I want to know if that's true because if it's true, it governs the questions that I ask the deputations today. Mr Chairman, I need to know that. Is that so?

Mr Wessenger: I think some clarification should be made that what you have in front of you are draft amendments and the reason we haven't had amendments filed with the clerk yet is that they haven't been finalized. It was a matter of courtesy that I extended to each of the Housing critics copies of draft amendments. I hope you will take them as drafts rather than necessarily being the final form because they were, as I said, drafts for consideration and I thought it would be of assistance to both the critics if they would be aware.

But certainly, if I might confirm, there's no question that it's the intention that an amendment may be made. It may not necessarily be made by me. I should be clear that there may be some amendments that are made by other members of the committee.

Mrs Marland: To the rental housing protection part of the bill.

Mr Wessenger: Yes.

Mrs Marland: By the way, I appreciate the courtesy of having the copy, but it's such a zoo.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland.

Mrs Marland: You're saying we'll be getting amendments maybe from the Minister of Housing. How are we ever going to know what's going on?

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland. I'd like to thank Mr Maxfield for taking the time to come and see us. We appreciated your deputation.

Mrs Marland: What's the point in my reading them? He's just said they're drafts and there may be other changes. I mean, it's ridiculous.

The Chair: The next deputation is Havenbrook, and Mr Shiff.

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): On a point of order, Mr Chairman: If the next delegation is not here, perhaps the one from Big Cedar could be heard at this time.

Mr Mills: Where do they fit in, Mr Chair? Where are they on our agenda?

The Chair: They are not on our agenda. If the members would like to hear from the group Mr McLean is suggesting, I would need a motion to that effect.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, as a member of the committee, I would be happy to move that motion. These people have driven two hours on the chance that a vacancy might occur on the agenda today. I move that Big Cedar residents' association be heard at this time.

Mr Mills: Am I to understand that if Havenbrook do show up, they're going to be accommodated, or they're gone? It helps me make this decision.

The Chair: They have missed their appointment.

Mr Daigeler: I have no problem in supporting this motion. If they come, we normally make an effort to accommodate them.

Mr Mills: It's the time, that's all.

Mr Daigeler: I would just like you to ask again whether they're in fact here or not.

The Chair: Is a representative of Havenbrook in the room? If not, Mrs Marland has made a motion. All in favour? Carried. I don't have the name of the group.

Mrs Marland: It is Big Cedar (Oro) Residents' Association, represented by Mr Venner Lambert.


The Chair: Good morning. As you just heard, you have won the lottery. The committee has decided that you may be heard, and we're pleased that's going to happen. Introduce yourself and your colleagues and begin.

Mr Venner Lambert: We represent Big Cedar (Oro) Residents' Association. We are situated in the township of Oro, on the 13th Concession. I would like to introduce Mr Ernie Jones, our president, and Mrs Donna Fenton, our vice-president and treasurer.

We thank you for the opportunity to come before you and explain our thoughts about Bill 21. I believe you have before you a copy of our presentation, with added schedules showing a factual description of our park and its operation, along with a current financial balance sheet. I believe that our brief is fairly self-explanatory. However, I would like to emphasize several points.

In paragraph 3 of page 2, we want you to understand that we are strictly a non-profit association, with the tenants who are also the owners having complete control of our operation through the democratic process. There is no developer or private company controlling us in any way or making a profit from resales etc. Also on page 2 we stress that all leases are identical regardless of lot or home size, and at present our lease provides for a right of first refusal, which is explained in detail. We might add that in the six years we have owned the park, the association has never exercised the right of first refusal. However, under reasons for concern on page 3 we endeavour to show our distress regarding this clause of the bill, and also the clause which will permit for-sale signs to be erected on lawns.

Since at present we have between 60 and 70 widows living in the park, we feel that having a central bulletin board showing homes for sale, with a phone made available in the lobby of our administration building, makes for a much safer condition for those who are alone and vulnerable. We'd like to pass a picture around showing our bulletin board, if you wish.

We would also ask that you take a serious look at the request being made by the association and in your deliberations consider if it is the best policy to bind all land-lease communities to the same legislation or if parks such as Big Cedar should be allowed to retain the policies they now operate under and allowed to control their own destiny, as we have in the past.

We want to thank you for listening, and we will be glad to answer any questions you might have.


Mrs Fawcett: I'm very happy that you were able to get to be heard this morning.

Mr Lambert: So are we.

Mrs Fawcett: Yes. That's very, very good. How long have you been in operation?

Mr Lambert: We have owned the park since 1988.

Mrs Fawcett: And everything right now operates very well with the tenants and your association?

Mr Lambert: Oh, definitely. We have a board of directors who are elected annually, and you have to be an owner of a lease before you can be a member of the association.

Mrs Fawcett: And the fact that you don't allow signs doesn't hinder anyone? Everyone is happy with that? Has anyone ever, let's say, sold their home and the purchaser didn't realize that the land wasn't theirs as well?

Mr Lambert: No. This has always been explained very thoroughly, because up until now our administrator has had a dealing with each sale in order to explain the rules and regulations of our park and also the type of lease they are signing. We are all thoroughly acquainted with the fact that we are only leasing the property and are not owners of the particular lot that our house is sitting on, but we are owners of the total property.

Mrs Fawcett: Of course, we don't really know what Bill 21 is ultimately going to turn out to be, because supposedly we have many amendments we're going to be dealing with that could change the bill considerably, and hopefully you will be watching for that so you can comment on the changes. But you feel there are definite parts of the bill that you want to see changed, the ones you have mentioned here.

Mr Lambert: We want to see those two or three clauses changed, yes, because we feel they would be detrimental to parks such as ours the way they read now.

Mrs Marland: Really, your park operates similarly to a condominium corporation; you have an elected board.

Mr Lambert: That's right.

Mrs Marland: How many sit on the board?

Mr Lambert: Six directors and the president.

Mrs Marland: So it's seven. It's two more than a standard condominium board.

Mr Lambert: The reason we have done that is because we find that during our winter months we'll usually have two or three members of the board absent who will be in the south or something of that nature.

Mrs Marland: You have a paid full-time administrator, do you?

Mr Lambert: Yes.

Mrs Marland: This advertising board for the homes for sale: Is it at the entrance to your development?

Mr Lambert: No, it's just outside the door of the administration building, and there's a phone just inside the lobby, which is open 24 hours a day, for anyone who comes and reads the board and sees a house there they'd like to know more about. They can phone the number that is listed and someone would come and take them around and show them the house. We do not like to have widows who are by themselves alone in a house when someone comes to look at it, so we try to make sure that she has another person with her.

Mrs Marland: I can certainly understand that. That's an excellent system, actually, that you have. Also, I imagine that your concern relates to the fact that you want to maintain the community as an adult community.

Mr Lambert: Definitely.

Mrs Marland: That's why you want the first right of refusal.

Mr Lambert: Yes, we do.

Mrs Marland: But I also understand there are a lot of operators of these developments who also want the same thing, because that's what they were designed for in the first place.

Mr Lambert: I can understand that, yes. I think our situation is perhaps unique in that no one can stand to gain through the operation of our park, since we are the masters of our own destiny.

Mrs Marland: When it was originally established, who bought the land originally?

Mr Lambert: It was owned by a developer, and the people who bought in there prior to our taking it over were given a date when that park would be turned over to the residents. It was May 1, 1988. It was turned over to us for $1, he having made his money out of the sale of the leases, and at one time he owned quite a number of the mobiles in the park.

Mrs Marland: Isn't that interesting? That particular developer was satisfied with his development revenue at that point. So he got into it with a time frame and an investment payback that he was looking for.

Mr Lambert: That's right.

Mrs Marland: That's quite simplistic, isn't it?

Mrs Donna Fenton: There are only 230 sites, and the park is now full. When the last house went in, that year, 1988, everything had to be completed by June 1988 and then it was turned over to the association and we have managed it ever since. By the way, we do have a reserve fund and we're quite pleased with our reserve fund, but that's a different subject.

Mrs Marland: You would need to have, though. That's what I mean. That's why it's similar to a condominium. You would need to have reserve funds, because where else are you going to get the revenue to do anything major that develops?

Mrs Fenton: We don't have a problem with that.

Mr Lambert: I would suggest to you that when we took the park over, we had something like $25,000 at our disposal and we immediately turned around and borrowed money from our own residents to the tune of over $100,000. This has all been paid back and we have now accumulated a reserve fund of -- what is it?

Mrs Fenton: We have $217,000 on hand at the moment. That's not our total assets.

Mr Lambert: So in six years' time I think we have proved ourselves to be pretty good operators.

Mrs Marland: You said all the leases are identical. What is the average rent?

Mr Lambert: It's $145 a month, and that takes care of grass cutting, snowplowing, closing homes for people going south, our water system, cable TV and operating a nice clubhouse and this type of thing.

Mrs Marland: You certainly have a unique operation and we certainly appreciate your coming down to tell us about it today.

Mr Mills: Thank you, sir. I think you and I clashed on the Barrie annexation years ago. Right?

Mr Lambert: Could be.

Mr Mills: When I was on the council up there. I remember the name, and I asked my colleague and he said, "Yes, that's the guy, from Vespra."

Anyway, I'm not going to say anything adversary to your presentation. I'm going to leave some time for my colleague Mr Wessenger. I'd just like to say that I thought it was very well documented. It seems to be the sort of place that even an oldtimer like me would enjoy.

Mr Lambert: Glad to have you.

Mr Mills: And since I have roots in the Barrie area, who knows. Thank you very much for coming.

Mr Wessenger: Welcome here again. I had contact with Mr Lambert when I was on council in Barrie too, so I'm very pleased with your presentation. Certainly when you make some recommendations, we really ought to pay attention, because you are a resident-owned park.

You have some problems with our first right of refusal. We've heard today several first rights of refusal that provided, like yours, 72 hours to match on the same terms and conditions. Would you have any problem if the first right of refusal were amended to put that in as a requirement for a first right of refusal, in other words, it would be standard, 72 hours to match the purchase price on the same terms and conditions? Would that be agreeable to you?

Mr Lambert: I would think so.

Mrs Fenton: Yes, I think so.

Mr Wessenger: The other thing I'd like to just raise with you is that you've raised the question of for-sale signs. We also had a presentation this morning from a legal clinic which suggested we should look at the broader issue of looking at restricting any prohibitions that might affect the marketability of the units and taking a broader approach. Your bulletin board is certainly one other alternative. Would you be in favour of the legislation being changed to take a broader approach with respect to prohibiting restrictions on advertising the sale of units to try to make them more marketable?

Mr Lambert: I'm just not certain of your question.

Mr Wessenger: Okay. A suggestion was made that, for instance, sale signs were not the most important item in conducting a sale. From your experience in your area, has there been any difficulty in people selling their units?

Mr Lambert: We average about 10% a year, and you won't find more than two or three homes for sale at any one time.

Mr Wessenger: The bulletin board works very well.

Mr Lambert: Very well.

Mrs Fenton: In fact we have a waiting list of people who would like to get into the park, and because there are various sizes, there doesn't seem to be any problem at all selling houses. We have a good turnover and people coming all the time.

The Vice-Chair (Mr Hans Daigeler): Thank you again. We were glad to accommodate you.

Mr McLean: Mr Chairman, I'd like to thank you for hearing them at this time. I appreciate it.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you for suggesting it.

The committee stands adjourned until 2 o'clock.

The committee recessed from 1202 to 1401.


The Chair: Our first deputation this afternoon comes from the Whitby Subway trailer park. Good afternoon.

Mr Bernie Emoff: I am Bernie Emoff, president of the Subway trailer tenant association. With me are Ken Brushett and Terence White, members of the association.

Chairperson and members of the committee, I am here to ask you on behalf of our membership to pass Bill 21. Our association feels that Bill 21 affords us some of the protection that is necessary to protect our membership in a much greater way than we have presently under the Landlord and Tenant Act. We are specifically concerned with those sections of Bill 21 which amend the Landlord and Tenant Act as well as the Rental Housing Protection Act dealing with non-seasonal mobile home parks.

Subsection 10(1) of this bill, which amends section 125 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, will require the landlord to put any refusal of consent in writing. It is very important to those tenants who are affected. We know at first hand what it is like to have a landlord who will not put anything in writing. This leaves the door open for the landlord to say that they did not refuse consent, which leaves no choice for the tenant but to take the landlord to court to have this matter resolved.

If a tenant has something in writing, it gives them a better chance when fighting such refusal in a court of law. We know this, as a matter of fact, because we had to take the landlord to court for this very reason. Although we did win the case, a tenant should not have to go through such a hassle just to buy, sell or lease his mobile home in the park. It takes a lot of time to get to court. The uncertainty is very stressful to any tenant affected.

Section 11 of this bill amends section 125 of the Landlord and Tenant Act by removing the right of first refusal. It would make any agreement with a clause containing the right of refusal void. It is the feeling of our committee that no landlord or any agreement should have the right to stop someone from selling their home to whomever they feel makes the best offer. This is what we believe this amendment will do: allow a person to sell to whomever they see fit.

We are also in agreement with 125.2, which gives the tenant the right to put a for-sale sign on his or her mobile home, or on the site where the mobile home is situated.

We are also in agreement with section 12 of this bill, which amends section 128.2 of the Landlord and Tenant Act. This section gives a better definition of what "residential premises" are. Bill 21 gives this definition to non-seasonal mobile home parks whether the mobile home is owned by the landlord or not. The majority of mobile homes in our park are privately owned, so this section will affect us directly.

We are also in agreement with the proposed amendments to sections 128.3 to 128.7 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which deal with setting up a reserve fund to provide the necessary funds to make sure that repairs needed to roads, water, sewage and electricity are done in a timely fashion. The way it is now, we must have the town place an order to have work completed. It takes time to have the town take action. When they do, our landlord will claim he doesn't have the funds to do the work or he will ignore the order. This leaves the town with no choice but to take court action. They are reluctant to do so. We have been waiting for at least 10 years to have our roads and hydro brought to a reasonable state of repair. With a reserve fund set aside for this purpose, we believe we could have such repairs done without all the delays we've been experiencing for quite some time.

Section 13 of Bill 21 amends section 130 of the Landlord and Tenant Act by adding clauses (b.1) to (b.6) for the purpose of governing the scope and extent of the reserve fund. It is very important to us that both the landlord and tenants know exactly what a reserve fund is and how that fund is to be controlled.

Section 16 of this bill amends the Rental Housing Protection Act by defining what a "rental property" is under the act. It states that non-seasonal mobile home parks or related groups of those parks in which one or more rental units are located are rental properties. This section also defines what a "rental unit" is by treating the site on which a mobile home is located, being a permanent structure, as rental residential premises. The reason we strongly support this section is that it gives our members a better sense of enjoyment and peace of mind while living in their mobile home.

Subsection 16(4) is of utmost importance to all mobile home owners as it defines "mobile home." This eliminates any confusion around the difference between a mobile home used as a permanent residence and a travel trailer. For example, during a recent court case, we discovered that even the judge wasn't sure of the difference between the two without asking the question, "What kind of trailer are you talking about?" He thought we were referring to a travel trailer and not to a permanently-set-up mobile home.

Subsection 16(5) adds the clear definition of a rental unit, which would include a mobile home even when it is owned by the tenant of the mobile park.

For this reason, we support and strongly feel that section 16 of this bill gives to tenants living in a mobile home park, by definition, almost the same, if not the same, protection as those tenants living in other rental units under the Ontario housing protection act. Therefore, on behalf of the tenants of Whitby Subway Mobile Home Park, we strongly urge that you pass Bill 21 as soon as possible.

In conclusion, we wish to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to present to you today our thoughts and feelings about the importance Bill 21 could have on our membership.


Mr David Johnson (Don Mills): I would like to thank you for what was obviously a very thoughtful, excellent presentation based on a great deal of experience. However, you have a great deal more experience than I do on this particular matter. I'm just slipping in here this afternoon, and I must admit up front that I'm very unfamiliar with this issue, so I'm going to ask you to elaborate on some of the problems you've alluded to.

You mentioned that to buy, sell or lease you've had to go to court. Maybe you could describe to me in a little more detail what's involved there. Is it in each instance where a mobile unit is to be sold that you've had to go to court to achieve that end?

Mr Emoff: We only had the one case. In the last couple of years, this was the first one to be sold. I've only been president of the tenant association since last May. What happened was that a fellow bought a mobile home in the park and the landlord did not want to give him consent to move in unless he signed a tenancy agreement which was partly, if not all, illegal. We took the landlord to court based on those things because the person did not want to sign a tenancy agreement he felt was illegal. We brought the landlord to court and won the case. The person was allowed to move into the mobile home and the landlord had to pay the court costs. A restraining order was brought against the landlord because the landlord was threatening to kick him out of the park, tear his trailer out and put it on the side of the road, things of that nature.

Mr David Johnson: You're representing one particular trailer park. Is that something that happens in other trailer parks as well, to your knowledge?

Mr Emoff: I can't answer that. This trailer park is my first experience.

Mr David Johnson: You mentioned the municipality. We're talking about Whitby here, I presume.

Mr Emoff: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: When you were talking about roads, water, sewage, that sort of thing, I presume you mean the roads within the trailer park itself and the water supply and the sewage.

Mr Emoff: Right.

Mr David Johnson: You put in a request to the municipality, to Whitby, some time ago, several years ago, was it?

Mr Emoff: That's right, and they did bring court action, but the work never got done because the previous landlord sold the property.

Mr David Johnson: So there was an agreement or an obligation on the part of the landlord to supply -- we're talking about underground water, underground sewage?

Mr Emoff: That's right.

Mr David Johnson: And what they failed to do is connect that. I presume on the main street there is a sewage system and a water system, is there?

Mr Emoff: There is on the main street, but that's not the problem. The problem with the water and the sewerage is that when they put the pipes in to supply the water and the sewerage to the mobile homes, they were not of regulation standards. So you have problems with the lack of water supply, for one thing.

Mr David Johnson: The pressure is not adequate.

Mr Emoff: Yes, and some people have problems with sewerage backup.

Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): I thank the government members for allowing me a little time.

I'm very pleased to see you come forth, Bernie, Ken and Terence. I liked your presentation. You came up with a lot of very succinct points about what's good in this bill. I'm sure Mr Wessenger was listening intently, probably taking notes that this is what people from across the province are saying.

I'm particularly interested in the lot that your trailer park has had to endure. You've talked about many different owners, flipping back and forth. I've been in your trailer park on many occasions, and in the spring it reminds me of the worst of those films we've seen about the First World War, with the mud going down about six inches. It's very difficult to negotiate that with any kind of vehicle. You wouldn't want to walk in it; you'd probably drown. And, of course, the water issues.

In terms of electricity and those roads, such as they are, I'm wondering how it is that they could be left in such bad repair. Could you tell us a little about that?

Mr Emoff: I'll try. The reason the roads are left in such a bad state of repair is because of the number of different owners we've had over the years. The previous owner was taken to court by the town of Whitby, was ordered to do all the repairs, and then he sold the property. Then the new owner comes along and the new owner will not comply with the court order that was given to the previous owner.

We have been in touch with the town on a number of occasions. The town is calling him and asking him to do the work, but it is reluctant to take him back to court because it feels that might take two or three more years. They would rather see it worked out by phone or by agreement than have to take the person to court. That's one of the reasons it's taken so long.

Mr White: With a reserve fund, the moneys for that kind of work would be available. There would be insurance that work would be done so you wouldn't have to feel you're living in Third World conditions.

Mr Emoff: I believe that's what the reserve fund is set out to do, from my reading of the bill. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't say what the legal thing is, but the way I read the bill, yes, we would have the right to dig into that reserve fund to have those repairs done.

Mr White: You would be able to ensure that vital services are provided for hundreds of people in that park. Your park would immediately benefit substantively.

Mr Emoff: Oh, it definitely would.

Mr Daigeler: Thank you for coming before the committee, because yours is the first presentation which clearly supports this bill. Most of the presenters this morning were quite critical if not very critical of this project. The main argument being made, I must say mostly by the owners of the parks, was: "The system works fine, thank you very much, the way it is. We can straighten out any problems we have with our tenants; there's usually a good relationship. What this bill will do is make the arrangement so complicated and costly that we may be forced to give up the parks, and that will make it a lot more difficult for affordable housing to be obtained." Do you wish to comment on that argument?

Mr Emoff: If the landlords here this morning were saying everything is fine the way it is, it definitely is not, in our case. I can't talk against all landlords, because I don't know them. It's quite possible you would have some landlords who are good, who would sit down with the people and straighten things out. In our case, that is not possible. We have tried on three different occasions to have a meeting with the person, and each time he refused. We ask him to put things in writing. He says he won't put anything in writing because it might get him over a barrel.

It's possible that there are good landlords out there. I wouldn't say all landlords are the same as ours, but we need this bill, especially in our case, because we're getting nowhere with this fellow.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to come to the city to speak to us today. We appreciate it.


Before I call for the next presentation, this morning Mr Daigeler made a request to the Ministry of Housing to provide some documents. I think it would be appropriate to have a report from the ministry at this point.

Mr Noah Morris: My name is Noah Morris. I'm a policy adviser with the Ministry of Housing. The question was asked about an interministerial committee report that was produced through our ministry, acting as chair for a number of ministries in liaison with the private sector and a number of tenant groups. The report was completed, but it was part of a confidential document that was used to give advice to cabinet, so it wasn't released publicly. That was the reason it was not released to the public.

Mr Daigeler: What you're saying is that this is a cabinet document that still cannot be made available.

Mr Morris: That's correct. There was an FOI application on it, and it was ruled on that FOI application that it was a cabinet document.

Mr Daigeler: So there has already been a request?

Mr Morris: Yes, there was.

Mr Daigeler: I see. And that committee has ceased to exist, is no longer operational?

Mr Morris: That committee ceased to exist in the summer of 1992, and the report was completed in the summer of 1992.

Mr Daigeler: So the report concluded the work of that committee?

Mr Morris: Yes.

Mr Daigeler: And we can't have the results?

Mr Morris: It's a confidential document.


Mrs Marie Hughes: Good afternoon, panel. My name is Marie Hughes. I'm with Forrest Estates. I'd like to introduce my husband, Ken. We are here today to express our comments on Bill 21.

First, we do not feel that, if passed, this bill or parts thereof should be made retroactive from May 19, 1993, but rather should be effective from the date the bill receives royal assent.

In regard to the right of first refusal, we have never implemented the right of first refusal in our land-lease development, the reason being that we have never had excess funding to enable ourselves to be in a position to purchase the homes from the home owners wishing to sell. However, we do have a concern that in trying to keep the standards of our development up, we have found ourselves in the situation in a number of instances where a derelict mobile home has come on the for-sale market.

If I could just stop my presentation for a few minutes, I have brought some pictures with us today which really do refer to my presentation and in many instances refer to the standards of our particular development. I'll pass them around.

To continue where I left off, these chattels at today's building standards and requirements would actually be deemed to be less than the building standards of today's recreational vehicles. Some of these older mobile homes were built at a time when double- and triple-pane windows, insulation, and housing and building standards were not what they are today. Add to this the fact that some of these mobile homes have not had any upgrading or general maintenance over the years.

At what point in time do these chattels cease to be marketable as what we would consider to be year-round housing? How does a land-lease community owner bring these units up to standard so they do not depreciate the park as a whole or further depreciate the land owner's business value? How can a land owner have these units removed and replaced with an acceptable home, if not for the right of first refusal? Is there something specific in the present Landlord and Tenant Act that addresses this problem? Perhaps it is time there should be.

We have found that these derelict homes seem to always attract a new owner who usually cannot afford and does not do any maintenance or improvements either, and the home further declines and depreciates homes around it. It would appear that the only way to resolve this problem is for the land owner to purchase it and remove it, another added expense, to keep the community park standards up.

In regard to the section on for-sale signs, we feel the majority of land-lease residents do not wish a multitude of for-sale signs within their neighbourhood. In the development we live in, we have built a communal glass-enclosed case, and I do have the picture going around. We have situated this at the entrance to the park, where homes listed for sale are featured with a coloured picture along with a complete description, including all costs and inclusions, and a map of the community showing the location of the homes for sale. Our sales office is located within the community, and after the potential purchasers have viewed the board, they have the opportunity of stopping at the office, requesting additional information and a viewing of the homes they may be interested in further.

Our sales office spends a great deal of time and expense in promoting our development far and wide. The posting of even simple handmade signs, stuck on lawns or in a window, would allow some tenants to capitalize on sales solely at our expense and at absolutely none to them.

There was a time when we did allow the posting of signs in windows. In these instances, we found that residents used this as an avenue of retaliation if we found it necessary to request them to abide by park lease and regulations. We had a few situations where orange and black Home Hardware signs would be left in the window for two years straight, badly sun-faded. No customer actually got a viewing, and this sign even remained in the window for six months each year, for two years straight, while they wintered in Florida.

These are, without a doubt, not sincere and motivated sellers. We, the park owners, did not find this enhanced our business, neighbours did not appreciate it, potential customers were extremely annoyed and confused and the owners of the home didn't care. To them, it was a way of retaliation and aggravation to management and no doubt quite humorous to them.

On the flip side, when real estate agents become involved, the prospective purchasers had been told very little about the park, for example, lease, regulations, standards, future plans. Perhaps it wasn't their business to know. On many occasions, we as management never received the required 60-day termination notice or no notice at all. We never even met the new resident tenants until they knocked at the office door to state they were moving in in a couple of days.

Add to this that some real estate agents had told many a purchaser false statements. It would appear they either listened to false rumours or perhaps their main objective was to close the sale and collect a sales commission. It certainly did not have the best interests of either the vendors, the purchasers, or park management. After the sale closing, it was park management that was left with immediately unhappy residents.

In regard to the reserve fund, when rent control legislation was introduced, the vast majority of land-lease communities/mobile home parks were caught in a situation where their rents were more often than not less than $100 a month, at a time when apartment buildings were receiving $500 and up. Land- lease mobile home parks were grouped into the same act as apartments. This is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing in common is that we both supply living accommodation. The similarity pretty much ends there.

The act in rent review refer to capital expenditures such as roof replacement, kitchen appliances, carpeting, elevators etc, but never any mention of the problems of maintenance regarding land-lease parks, such as miles of street maintenance, backhoes, graders, garbage pickup, snow removal, drainage, sewage disposal, wells, pumphouses, and I could go on. The time is long overdue for legislation that deals solely with land-lease mobile home parks as their own entity and doesn't lump them with apartment complexes. Are apartment buildings made to set aside a reserve fund? I have spoken to many other park owners and the general consensus is that it is tough enough in these depressed economic times to keep up with all the stipulations already imposed on our business without this added expense. I suppose we are to absorb this added expense, as we absorbed the GST and the more recently implemented PST on gravel and insurance, without any means of passing it on to our consumers.

I would like to take this time to raise the issue that we are a business and not government-supplied housing. Any other business owners, if they reach a situation where they are unable to make a living and meet their financial commitments, let alone realize a profit, certainly have the choice to cease their business and seek other employment before they find themselves forced into bankruptcy.

We do not seem to have this choice. We can't simply quit our job. We must continue, or try to find a purchaser of our business, but who would want to purchase a business that is strapped with such a low income and rent review legislation governs any future income? We are finding it more and more difficult to carry on with legislation geared to apartment complexes.

In summation, I think the panel today will find that the majority of park owners are family-oriented. We are not big-money investors and absentee or slum landlords.

The implementation of this bill as it presently reads disturbs our future and the future of our children. My young offspring observe the ongoing frustration we are going through and are seriously contemplating another job/career, one in which they may have an opportunity to be reimbursed for their labour. As Henry Ford stated, "I thought someone would have to know all about a company before someone tries to operate one."

In closing, we, the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing so much for so long with so little that we should now be able to do everything for nothing.


Mr Mills: You said one or two things that prompt me to make some rebuttal. It's no secret that there are a lot of folks who operate parks like yours who are, as you say, aboveboard, decent people and do things right. It's unfortunate that we as legislators are pressured by constituents to do something about all those people who aren't doing it right and aren't doing it aboveboard.

There's this idea out there that somehow this is the NDP's idea. It isn't the NDP's idea. It's a response to many thousands of constituents' problems. Speaking for our caucus, we have 32 members who represent ridings with at least one, sometimes several, mobile home or retirement parks or whatever. All 32 members in our caucus are supporting this bill because we recognize that in all our constituencies we have problems.

You say, "The implementation of this bill disturbs our future and the future of our children," but I put it to you that as legislators we're equally disturbed that there are people who are not playing the game with the people we represent, and as a result we have an obligation to come here to Queen's Park to do something about it. How does that fit in with your rationale that it disturbs you?

Mrs Marie Hughes: I really am fully in agreement with what you said. We've been in the business for 24 years, and without a doubt there are problems and I think they should be addressed. I think it's long past time that we have a bill which deals with mobile home land-lease parks and does not lump us into something that really deals with apartment buildings, because of the problems that have been discussed today.

All I would like to see is something that is implemented that is fair for both parties. I'm really disturbed with what seems to be occurring with all these acts. These acts are now putting landlords and tenant residents as adversaries. We're in it together. We're there to supply housing; they want nice housing. I'm just concerned that if it's not addressed properly that bad landlords -- there's going to be legislation put through that penalizes good landlords. I don't think everybody should take the bum rap for what they are doing.

We've worked very hard. We've always taken pride in our development. The pictures will show that we're not the only ones who have pride in our development, but the home owners also have the same pride. We were very well liked by the majority of the tenants, our neighbours, and I think we still are today. With some of these acts that have been implemented, I feel there are always a few unhappy people and I will say there are always a few troublemakers in every community, whether it be our community or within the community you live in. I'm just concerned that if things are left the way they are, how do you eliminate the problems within your community?

Mr Mills: I think you and I differ about the definition of -- you said a troublemaker. We receive all these things from folks who can't come here, and you should read some of this stuff. It's scary what people are going through. I'll just wrap up by saying that we have police on the road because people don't obey the speed limits. If everyone obeyed the speed limit we wouldn't need police. It's the same with this legislation, unfortunately.

Mrs Marie Hughes: But you don't penalize everybody for the few who break the law. That's my only concern.

Mr Mills: But the presence is there. This bill is there to protect not only the people I represent but many others.

Mrs Fawcett: Thank you for your presentation. Certainly the pictures did add to our recognition of a good trailer park.

Mrs Marie Hughes: This is all we want, that I think everybody who is making presentations wants.

Mrs Fawcett: You were present for the presentation before you. What sort of answers might you have for that particular group? They are suffering, no doubt about that. There are groups out there -- I've got one in my riding -- that don't have a good landlord; at least that's what they're telling me.

The bill Mr Mills says his caucus is supporting isn't really the bill we probably will be looking at, with the 27 amendments. I'd be interested to know. Are they a party to all of those and do they agree? But that's for another time.

Mrs Marie Hughes: In our municipality we have zoning as a mobile home park and our municipality has certain stipulations and regulations we must abide by. The stipulation we must abide by is that we keep the roads in functional order, and the Landlord and Tenant Act covers the same thing. If a person is not going to live up to his commitments, he's not going to live up to his commitments whether he be a landlord or any other segment of society, and there are ways and means of making that individual come up and submit to the standards he's supposed to. You have to treat every individual person or company as the individual. I'm just concerned that because of all these horror stories, we're all going to be grouped into that as well.

I'd like to make a point. I thought I'd only have 10 minutes to speak -- I didn't realize I would be able to speak for 15 minutes -- so I chopped a lot of my presentation out. As has been mentioned today, and the biggest concern of mobile home parks is that as a general rule, they are very low rents. How do the company and mobile home park exist at $100 a month, barely minimum, and keep these standards up? I can appreciate that maybe he has no intention of keeping the standards up, but we are finding it tough keeping standards up at $150 a month.

Mrs Fawcett: You're saying there are laws already on the books that you are abiding by and therefore it has allowed you to have a good park that tenants and you as land owners agree on, and that if others obeyed the laws that are already there, it would go a long way to --

Mrs Marie Hughes: I would think so. The laws are there. The stipulations have been set out by their own municipality that these parks must abide by. When it was passed and zoned, the municipalities must have set out restrictions and legislation and standards, so the municipalities should be looking after what's going on in the municipalities. They have the right to do so.

Mrs Fawcett: Might there be a problem because in the beginning some of these parks started out as maybe seasonal, tent, trailer parks and --

Mrs Marie Hughes: But they had to go through the proper channels of being rezoned for year-round mobile living, residential.

Mrs Fawcett: We hope.

Mr Ken Hughes: If this government, Mr Wessenger being the catalyst here, is honest in wanting to solve this problem -- I see two different types of people: well satisfied and I see dissatisfied. Why don't you, the government, offer a financial channel to these dissatisfied people, basically tenants, to allow them to buy that community and take the responsibility of a fair market settlement, by an unbiased committee that would balance the fair market value?


Mrs Marland: I'd like to thank you for your presentation and tell you that we understand what it is you're saying. The issue we're dealing with here is the elephant gun approach to kill the fly, and we do understand that. We do understand there are two sides to it.

Mr Mills actually put it all in context when he compared it with the Highway Traffic Act. We do have legislation in this province that penalizes the people who violate certain standards, certain laws, certain regulations. There has to be a way for the government, or at least our bureaucracy, to develop and draft legislation that will do that. In this case we happen to have a bill with I think 26 sections; we've got 27 amendments. Obviously, it's a badly drafted bill.

I don't have any questions of you because I understand exactly what you've said to us this afternoon, and I appreciate you being here to present your pictures of what is obviously a beautiful operation. You're small business people and we're sympathetic about the concerns you bring to this committee, just as we are sympathetic to people who live in the other kind of operation, and I know you are too.

Mr Chairman, I do have one point I'd like to ask you, however. I would like to know in what capacity Mr White is sitting on the committee this afternoon. I understand he is no longer a member of the NDP caucus and he cannot change his position on a committee until the Legislature sits on March 21.

Mr Fletcher: He's an independent.

Mrs Marland: He was appointed to this committee as a member of the NDP caucus. I would like the Chair to answer the question for me.

The Chair: The first thing I would like to do is thank the presenters for coming and meeting with us this afternoon.

Second, I will answer Mrs Marland's question. All members of this committee sit here at committee because of a resolution or a motion of the Legislature. Mr White, as are all other members, is here because of that motion. Mr White has resigned from the NDP caucus. That is fine. That does not change the status and it cannot be changed until the Legislature sits. We did have some discussion about substitution, and because Mr White is not a member of one of the three recognized political parties he cannot be substituted for. Mr White has every reason and every right to be here at committee.

Mrs Marland: But he is not a voting member of the committee.

The Chair: Yes, he is. He is a member of the committee by motion of the Legislature, and that can only be changed through the Legislature.

Mr Mills: On a point of personal clarification.

The Chair: A point of what?

Mr Mills: I'd just like to make it perfectly clear that my analogy about the police force was that we all pay for the costs of the OPP, the good guys and the bad guys, and likewise with legislation. We all bear the cost of legislation that will affect both good and bad.

The Chair: That's really not a point much of anything.

Mr Mills: It's fundamental to this discussion.

The Chair: I'm here to rule on procedure, not substance, Mr Mills.


Mr Larry Gillard: My name is Larry Gillard. I am a principal in Makerry Holdings. We are a company that owns and operates a 168-lot mobile home park in the town of Flamboro. In addition, we are in the process of developing a 300-lot retirement community, also in the town of Flamboro. That development has passed all provincial agencies, municipal council and regional council, and is presently being heard at the OMB.

I've offered to share my time with Mr Eades, who is also involved with a retirement community which is a development in conjunction with the University of Guelph. I will start off and give a few points on my behalf, the way I view Bill 21, and then I'll pass the floor to Mr Eades, who will continue.

I'd like to state at the beginning, before I get into any comments, that I as a landlord welcome legislation to regulate land-lease communities. However, I feel very strongly that legislation that's being presented should consider the concerns and problems of both landlords and tenants and be formulated to protect both parties and provide an environment that will encourage investment and ensure growth and confidence in the industry. I don't believe Bill 21 achieves any, or very few, of these objectives. This legislation was formulated without input from landlords or from any other industry stakeholders.

If what I read in Hansard about the presentation of second reading of this bill is correct, it seems the government feels this is a valid form of housing stock for the province. I assume they're passing this bill assuming that even with this legislation the industry will continue to grow and develop. I do not believe this is true. I feel that the industry, under the terms of this legislation, will collapse, die a slow death and in turn really be detrimental to the equity of tenants, the equity they're trying to protect.

It's been stated before, but the relationship between a landlord and tenant in a land-lease community is not the same as that in an apartment. In a land-lease community it's a hybrid. The tenant and the landlord both have a financial commitment to the development and its success. The Landlord and Tenant Act does not define this relationship and give protection to both parties in a way that will encourage the industry to grow and develop. In my view, as I've stated, it discourages investment into this type of development.

It's important for this government to develop the type of legislation that will encourage this type of development, and this can't be done by patching it into existing legislation such as the Landlord and Tenant Act. All this really does is create a maze of cross-references that are impossible to follow, interpret and even enforce.

In trying to digest what implications it may have, just as a small example, the only remedy for a landlord under the Landlord and Tenant Act for non-payment of rent or termination of a tenancy is to obtain a writ of possession. For the love of me, I cannot understand how the courts would issue a writ of possession for a lot which contains a permanent dwelling or have any means of actually enforcing that. The remedies that are afforded to a landlord in the Landlord and Tenant Act I don't think are enforceable or even capable of being enacted in a land-lease community. That's just one small example.

We've heard a lot of discussion with the tenants with regard to a landlord requiring right of first refusal. This right of first refusal to purchase allows the landlord to control the population, both its density size as well as its composition. I think it's important to consider the rights of the group or the community as well as the individual's rights. Let me give you an example.

In a mobile home park, most of which are in a rural setting -- I'll speak specifically of Beverly Hills Estates, which is in a rural setting. We have 168 lots. We supply all the water from a well. We run a sewer plant which is very similar to a sewer plant you would see in a city. Both those facilities have been designed and put into place for a certain population, engineered, for example in a retirement community, for a population density of 1.7 to 2.5 people per lot or per home.

I ask you, what's going to be the solution to the problem if, for example, I cannot control the population density and, through resales, that population density grows to 3.5 to four people per lot? I now do not have enough water to supply that community, I probably don't have enough sewer capacity to supply sewage disposal for that community, and at the same time have not looked after the investment of the other people in that community, an investment they paid for when they bought the lifestyle within Beverly Hills Estates.

The conclusion is that right of first refusal is probably the best method I have as a landlord to try to control that population density. I've had to operate on that condition only once or twice within the community, but it does allow me to at least put some common sense into somebody who's trying, in a lot that is now housing one or two people, to try to move in four or five people. Once doesn't seem to matter, but multiply that by 50% of the community and I say it causes me a problem.

With regard to the right of first refusal, if there are landlords out there who are using the right of first refusal, or abusing it, for their financial gain at the expense of the tenant, I suggest we legislate the financial requirements of the right of first refusal but don't abolish it completely.

With regard to signs, I would ask the committee to consider the following. Land-lease communities are developed on smaller lots than are commonly found in urban subdivisions, roads are narrower, and there are generally no boulevards or sidewalks. Because it's a retirement community, we do get a larger turnover than in normal subdivisions. Our concern is that, because of these concerns, there could be a lot of visual pollution that would give a negative marketing message to prospective buyers.

I think an alternative has been suggested which we would agree with. That alternative is to allow signs in the windows of a mobile home -- that at least restricts the size of the type of signs -- and/or provide a central directory, similar to what you would see in a shopping plaza or in a real estate office that does display and give the information of the real estate for sale in the community.

In conclusion, I would ask the committee that it does not pass Bill 21 but, if it considers there are problems that need to be legislated, that it form a committee to gather the information and get the input from both the tenants and other stakeholders in the industry to ensure that the legislation it is providing will encourage and develop an industry and stimulate investment in that industry.

That's all I have to say for now. I'll let Ralph add to that.


Mr Ralph Eades: I'm representing two clients. I'm a real estate consultant dealing in land development issues particularly relating to retirement, so my comments are really related to a land-lease retirement community which is being developed by a family-owned business, Reid's Heritage Homes. The primary landlord is the University of Guelph, which like a lot of major institutions has endowment lands and is looking at development potential.

The other thing I would like to comment on, and I have some empathy with the position of Mr Wessenger, is that a hastily prepared document sometimes has flaws. I wrote this two-page brief this morning, and I now notice there are two typographical errors in it, and for that I apologize.

Mr Conway: We won't tell anybody at the University of Guelph.

Mr Eades: Terrific. Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation. There are really three primary concerns that both my clients have.

One is the public consultation approach that's been taken; that because this is a private member's bill, it does not follow the normal public process of review and comment that a government bill must follow. In my view, this is a sad statement for any government, and I guess this is an editorial, but particularly with respect to this one.

The resources to facilitate a great deal of public discussion already exist, as retirement communities have been studied by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and the ministry has names, addresses and telephone numbers on file in a report it has actually prepared. The ministry established a multi-ministry committee, as referred to earlier, and I was one of the representatives interviewed, assured that we would once again be given comment, an opportunity to see the document and any proposals. That has not been forthcoming. As described earlier, that was a government document, not to be distributed. That's why we didn't know about this.

It would appear there has been little or no attempt made to get input from owners and developers of land-lease communities. Certainly we're the first to admit that tenant protection has been looked at in this bill.

It is recommended that rather than amending the three existing acts -- and I assure you, if you lay these out to refer to them, you can fill a whole desk -- we suggest that a new act be prepared dealing with land-lease communities. Mobile home parks, be they seasonal or not, are land-lease; simply, some structures are permanent, others are movable.

Right of first refusal: The Ontario Human Rights Code does not permit age-segregated buildings or communities unless all residents are over the age of 65. This exception was included primarily for government-funded, non-profit seniors apartment buildings, which for the most part contain bachelor and studio apartments. Neighbourhood groups and seniors both expressed concern that a bachelor apartment was of interest to student housing, and a mix of these two groups in a single complex was not in anyone's best interests.

Since the developer of a retirement community markets to purchasers generally over the age of 55, this provision in the Human Rights Code is virtually of no use. The right of first refusal is used as a tool to encourage the continuance in use and offers some comfort to many purchasers in retirement communities. Of the nine focus groups I've attended in three different municipalities, the first question asked by prospective purchasers is: "How can we be assured that this will remain a retirement community? We have a big investment." Those are the purchasers.

It's recommended that right of first refusal be continued for the reasons noted above. Other factors that should be considered if the community changes from a retirement community are:

-- The impact on sewer and water systems because of capacity. That's not only a private water and sewage system; that has an effect on municipal systems. In the case of the city of Guelph, it has been assumed, based on an existing study of other retirement communities, 1.8 persons per household. On a 1,000-unit development, I assure you that can have an impact if the persons per household changed to, say, three or four.

-- The need for schools if it's not maintained as a retirement community.

-- Other neighbourhood recreational facilities that are usually provided within the community of course would have an impact on municipal planning.

The other issue that's been brought up is signage. To respect a person's ability to sell their home and obtain the best price possible, it is recommended that some control of signage be permitted. For example, many condominium corporations do not permit any for-sale signs on the lawns, be they townhouses, but rather a central registry has been given as an example by others today in a common recreation centre. Also, owners can place signs in the window of their homes.

That's the formal presentation. I'd like to add a couple of comments that have come about with respect to others, so I don't repeat too much.

Just so you're aware of my own history, I work for a Metro housing company developing seniors' housing. From 1977 to 1984, I was a member of the technical advisory committee through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on retirement housing dealing with this issue, a report that again didn't become public. The advisory committee to CMHC Ontario for seniors housing is a committee I sit on now.

The other thing I've done within my presentation is address the bill as if not amended, because at this point, while there is good intention, I suggest that the bill is not amended, and I can't deal with that.

Studies taken to date: the Ministry of Municipal Affairs I referred to, the interministerial study; CMHC did a study by Barry Lyon Consultants looking at satisfaction, and land-lease communities were perceived as the same as condominiums for acceptance.

I've mentioned right of first refusal. Remember that long-term investment -- this is not the kind of business that a lot of conventional developers get into. It's a lot of family businesses and institutions such as the university, which is being looked upon by other institutions across the country. The Roman Catholic church is looking at this; it is also a possibility even for governments to look at surplus lands and the ability to provide affordable housing.

Lifestyle, it's been brought up, is very similar to a condominium, but remember that when the Rice communities first started, there was no Condominium Act. This was a vehicle by which a lifestyle community sharing common facilities was possible, so it's understandable that it evolved as a hybrid. That term has been used before. Where else, under landlord and tenant, does the tenant have perhaps as much equity in the project as the true landlord? So there are differences.

There are concerns of the landlord and the community at large. Again I refer to the University of Guelph. The land-lease community is sitting right across the street from the university, and without a right of first refusal as a tool, that's a tremendous location for student housing. If you were a purchaser of a retirement home, you might very well not want student housing next door to you. So it's an attempt to look at the investment rights of the individual.

I'd like to conclude with those brief comments, and thank you again for this opportunity.

Mr Conway: Thank you, Mr Eades. I'm fascinated by the involvement of the University of Guelph, and I want to pick up on the last point you made. You made quite a cogent presentation here, both of you, and I find it quite persuasive. Does the University of Guelph now find itself involved in any of these land-lease communities, or is it a matter of possibility?

Mr Eades: Oh no, it's real. There are 32 conditional sales, and as of this week a request to proceed is going ahead. Reid's Heritage Homes is awaiting approval from the bank for funding.

Mr Conway: So this is a private development that is being organized on endowed lands belonging to the University of Guelph.

Mr Eades: As a fund-raising for the heritage trust, which is an endowment fund at the University of Guelph.


Mrs Marland: Obviously, this debate is a debate between the rights of land owners and home owners, the people who own the buildings. Your proposal for a new act for land-lease communities definitely is the solution, identifying that it is purely a hybrid.

One thing that was pointed out to me this morning informally and wasn't brought to the committee which I want to ask you about, because I hadn't heard about it before, is, as an example, that the land owner, after the home owner moves out, can be stuck with the hydro bill, and sometimes it can be hundreds of dollars, into thousands. Is that something your group has discussed at all? Is that so, that if the hydro bill isn't paid, some municipalities put it on to the property and therefore it's your responsibility?

Mr Eades: I think that's more appropriately answered by Mr Gillard, simply because the University of Guelph project is in paper.

Mr Gillard: In practice, I can't assume it will become that big a problem in our community. We pay for the common-area hydro, all the street lights and all the hydro to run the facilities in the community, but each individual home is individually metered and their contract is directly with the hydro.

If they move out and abscond or are gone, they would certainly come after the landlord for that money, but we've haven't had that problem in operations of the park. Hydro does not let bills get to that state, in our estimation, at any time. It hasn't been a problem for us to contend with.

Mr Fletcher: I know you haven't had a lot of time to go over the amendments that you've only just received. Do some of these amendments address your concerns, from what you've seen?

Mr Eades: From what I've seen, it would appear so. I know that's a middle-of-the-road answer --

Mr Fletcher: No, I couldn't ask for a better answer.

Mr Eades: I'm going to review those tonight. Given other commitments, I could not get through them all.

Mr Fletcher: You'll give me a call and let me know how you feel.

Mr Eades: Yes, I will, but the 72 hours seems reasonable.

The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, for appearing.


Mr Douglas Barker: Good afternoon. My name is Douglas Barker. I'm the vice-president of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute. Our institute represents the manufacturers of mobile and modular homes, together with the suppliers of goods and services to the industry. That includes representation of park owners and operators, dealers, consultants, that sort of thing.

Of our approximately 19 manufacturer members across Canada, five of these are located in Ontario. They include Royal Homes in Wingham and Peterborough -- they have two factories; Guildcrest Building Corp in Morewood, which is just outside Ottawa; Northlander Industries in Exeter; Quality Manufactured Homes in Kenilworth, Ontario; and Viceroy Homes in Port Hope.

The position I hold with CMHI is a voluntary position. When I'm not wearing that hat, I function as a consulting engineer, providing land use planning services, municipal engineering and project management services. An area of our specialty is land-lease retirement communities.

In preparing this submission, we have consulted with Mr Wessenger, also with some staff of the Ministry of Housing, and with representatives and their staff of various members on this committee. We wish to thank them for their assistance.

First and foremost, let me be very clear in saying that CMHI fully supports a land-lease communities bill, but it is essential that that bill equally protect both the tenants and the landlords.

Our general comments on the proposed Bill 21 may be outlined as follows:

It is our feeling that Bill 21 as now drafted provides tenant protection only. In a land-lease community, it must be recognized that unlike a conventional subdivision, in which the residential units, together with their lots, are sold, generally within a few months of servicing, the landlord in the land-lease community is involved with and committed to the project in perpetuity.

There is a continuing tenant-landlord relationship, and the landlord must be provided with equal protection to the tenant. If Bill 21 does not provide this protection, the opportunities for future land-lease communities will cease, existing communities will deteriorate, and those tenants who presently have equity in units will see that deteriorate.

Bill 21, by piggybacking on to existing legislation, ie the Landlord and Tenant Act, Planning Act and the Rental Housing Protection Act, creates a labyrinth of cross-references, which Mr Eades referred to previously, and this is virtually impossible to follow. A land-lease community is a hybrid that establishes a private residential unit on leased land. As far as we know, there is no existing legislation that addresses that scenario.

Although we support the initiative in bringing forth this draft legislation, the private member's bill procedures do not seem to allow appropriate legislative, staff and public review. We received yesterday, at noonhour, notification of the 28 amendments proposed for this bill. We understand that more are coming.

As well as making substantial changes to the clauses applicable to the Landlord and Tenant Act, if we have read the amendments correctly -- and I emphasis the time has been short -- the amendments proposed change every clause in the bill pertaining to the Rental Housing Protection Act. Every clause is subject to change.

In my position as a member of the association, I have had no opportunity to review any of the proposed amendments in relation to our concerns with the legislation, or discuss the implementation of any of the proposed amendments, either favourable or disfavourable, with the membership of CMHI.

I would also point out to the committee that we have sister provincial associations, and I have asked for input from the Alberta association, the British Columbia association, the Nova Scotia association and the New Brunswick association. They have extensive mobile home parks in their areas. I've asked for their input, and I think this committee would like to build on that experience. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We have our next meeting of the association on March 4 and I will be reporting to our members. Effective today, I've got to say: "Thank you very much for your input. We've been looking at the wrong legislation." It seems that all of the presenters here today are in exactly the same position.

Surely this is sufficient grounds alone to defer further discussion of this matter, because obviously, whatever bill may come forth will be substantially different from what you see before you today. I was very disappointed this morning when the matter wasn't adjourned, so I'll proceed with the rest of my presentation which addresses the specifics of the bill.

Section 79, definitions: We support the definitions for "land-lease community" and "land-lease community home." These definitions recognize land-lease developments as an established and acceptable form of residential development for the citizens of Ontario.

Section 80 on the retroactive legislation: As previously noted, this creates quite a labyrinth of cross-references to existing legislation, and we simply recommend that that all be dropped. References may have been made to that in the amendments. In my brief reading of the amendments, it appears that some of the aspects of retroactivity have been retained with the reference to "leases presently in force."

Section 84 speaks to the subject of distrain, the landlord enforcing the rights of distrain and so on, to protect his investment; if there is a bad apple living in the community, something like that. This should not be looked upon as something simply for the landlord. This ability has to be looked at as protecting the majority of the tenants within the land-lease community. It is in the landlord's interest, certainly, but it's more so in the interests of the majority of the residents.

Section 89 speaks to the right to assign or sublet. This is a section of the Landlord and Tenant Act that was not suggested for modification, but we think it should be strengthened to protect the rights of the majority of the citizens living in an existing land-lease community. The legislation must clearly outline that any subleasing of a unit must make the sublease automatically subject to the obligations of the original lease. It is only in this manner that the lifestyle of the community can be maintained and the interests of the majority of the residents protected.


Section 125 speaks to the tenant's right to sell and the landlord's right of first refusal. Certainly the owner of a unit must have the right to sell the unit, and we recognize that apparently this right has been abused by some landlords. CMHI supports revised legislation that will allow the tenant to sell their unit without the compulsory requirement for the landlord to be agent for the sale and that the tenant must receive full market value for the unit, as outlined in a bona fide offer, and the real estate agent must receive their appropriate commission.

We must emphasize, though, that a bona fide offer must be on the basis of a continuation of the existing community lifestyle. If it's a retirement community, the unit must be sold to a retired person. There's a very definite responsibility here on the real estate agent to understand and implement that, and I don't see any reference to that in the legislation. We recommend that the landlord retain the right of first refusal on the unit, but the unit must be purchased at full market value and without delay.

For-sale signs have been discussed. I think it's sufficient to say that we support the position of a for-sale sign in the window of the unit or in the community centre on a display board, something in that manner.

The reserve funds: The intent of the section on the reserve funds is very confusing and intermingles the day-to-day cost of operations with the requirements for long-term maintenance and upgrade. We recommend it is out, and we understand that is receiving serious consideration.

In regard to the Planning Act, we have no objections to the inclusion of land-lease community homes under section 46 of the Planning Act. The opportunity does exist to expand section 46 to further confirm land-lease communities as a recognized use developed under site plan control regulations. This would serve to protect the investment and lifestyle of those, in particular seniors, who choose this type of accommodation. We would love to see specific zoning that would allow us to zone for retirement community.

The Rental Housing Protection Act: As previously noted, in our opinion the proposed amendments to Bill 21 appear to delete all the previous points and introduce all-new subject matter. Many of these points are quite complex and involve interaction, it would appear, with other jurisdictions such as the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy. We have not had time to review those points and at this time can only speak to two principles of the legislation in respect to the Rental Housing Protection Act.

It is understood the intent of the revisions to the Rental Housing Protection Act will allow the conversion of land-lease communities to condominium or co-op tenure. We support that position.

The second part of this legislation will prevent the demolishing, ie the shutting down, of existing parks. Certainly the rights of tenants living in the existing parks must be recognized and appropriately addressed. Also, the rights of the landlord must be addressed and upheld. There's got to be more work done on that aspect to protect both the tenant's and the landlord's property rights.

In conclusion, the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute fully supports the implementation of legislation that identifies mobile home parks and land-lease communities as a legitimate part of the housing stock of Ontario.

The legislation to be implemented must recognize and protect the rights of both the individual tenant and the landlord. This dual responsibility is essential to protect the interests of the majority of the tenants living in a community.

Bill 21 initiates the discussion in this regard, and we support Mr Wessenger for bringing this matter forward. However, we are concerned that the legislation to date has been prepared essentially without input from tenants. An appropriate detailed review and input is still necessary from park owner-operators, municipal officials and members of the industry, especially in view of the substantial amendments that appear to be coming.

The needs of tenants in mobile home parks and land-lease communities could best be served by separate and distinct legislation, ie, a land-lease communities bill. We urge the committee to give this aspect serious consideration. However, if that option is not feasible, the minimum required is sufficient time for full tenant, landlord, municipal and industry review and comment on the proposed legislation, recognizing again the numerous amendments that have been proposed. Thank you very much.

Mrs Marland: This is a valuable brief you've presented to the committee, Mr Barker. What is interesting is that it points out again to the committee the issue of the two sides to this issue and the frustration of trying to address both sides. The irony is that the very important part you address on page 4 in section 5 is protecting the rights of the majority of the citizens who live there.

I don't think "landlord" is the appropriate term, anyway, in this bill; I think we should be talking about "property owner." The majority of the citizens who chose to live especially in the retirement communities, who made that choice because they no longer wanted to be with young children other than maybe the visits of their grandchildren -- an adult-only environment has to be a choice of housing in this province.

Unfortunately, the NDP government is opposed to adult-only environments. They've proven that by their comments on adult-only apartment buildings. They no longer support adult-only apartment buildings even as part of the non-profit housing program, so we're immediately at odds in an ideological battle with the current government on this issue of adult communities. But the majority of people in this province feel they should have a choice of where they live and the environment in which they live. When it comes to these existing developments where people have made that choice based on what it was that appealed to them about an adult-only lifestyle, when you talk about the majority of those citizens --

Mr Mammoliti: Is there a question in this?

Mrs Marland: You know, you are so rude, Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: Well, is this statement time or is it question period?

Mrs Marland: When we're looking at the choices that have already been made and the majority of those citizens who buy into these communities because those are their choices, it's very difficult to deal with a bill that comes along and doesn't continue to guarantee the investment they've made knowing it was in that kind of environment. That part, along with your other concerns, speaks to both the people who own the buildings and the people who own the property. Thank you for bringing that to us.


Mr Mills: Thank you for coming this afternoon. I can see that, by all intents, you represent or are representative of a very large interested party in this bill, the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute. I happen to know and have visited the place up in Peterborough, so I know it's a big industry.

Are you suggesting you've only just heard about this? This came up with the other government, and I just wanted to know whether, when it came up with the Liberal government as a problem, you were apprised of this. You say now that you feel you haven't been asked enough. Were you asked by those folks about it?

Mr Barker: No.

Mr Mills: Nothing. So they didn't communicate with you anything about their interest or concerns with this legislation.

Mr Conway: No wonder the rascals were thrown out.

Mr Mills: In fact, they were the mothers of it, if we go back to 1989.

Mrs Fawcett: Or the fathers.

Mr Mills: Another thing I want to tell you, and you'll appreciate this, is that here we have the Provincial Council of the Women of Ontario. This group of women was founded in 1923 and they're a powerful group. This has been on their agenda since 1989. They've been pushing for something to be done about this. Did you not hear about that?

Mr Barker: No.

Mrs Marland: If you don't have a question, you'll upset Mr Mammoliti.

Mr Mammoliti: You interrupted him. That's pretty rude.

Mr Daigeler: The most important point you made, in my opinion, was that this matter is of such great importance and also so difficult that it really is impossible to be handled through a private member's bill and it should be properly brought forward by the government with the proper studies, the proper public consultation. You're quite correct, and the longer the hearings go on, the more clearly this is coming forward. But I nevertheless feel that the hearing process will help the government in whatever it is going to bring forward ultimately, and hopefully shorten the process a little.

As you have a sort of national background, what's happening in the other provinces on this? Have they done something like Bill 21? To your knowledge, what's the situation in the other provinces?

Mr Barker: As I mentioned to you, I'm trying to find out, specifically in relation to what has been presented in this bill, and I have not got much information back yet. I just received some information from Alberta. Alberta has a Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act, 1992, which I received yesterday. I haven't had time to look at it yet, but I'd certainly like to have the time to review that and share that with the committee, hopefully, and build on that. There are more mobile home parks and that type of thing, I would suggest, in the western provinces, particularly Alberta and BC, and they're accepted more favourably than here. I'd love to be able to stand in front of a municipal council here and say, "I want to develop a land-lease community in your area, and here's the land-lease communities bill and this is how we're going to go about it, and this is how it will operate." That would be great, but it's got to be the proper bill, and I don't see that the bill we have now is the proper bill.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing. We appreciated the information.


Mr Phil Sweetnam: My name is Phil Sweetnam. I'm from Stittsville, which is near Ottawa. On my left is the intuitive and bright part of the Sweetnam family, my wife, Beth. Joe May is a fellow member of our board of directors.

I want to speak to you for a few moments today about the development of land-lease communities in the Ottawa area. I thought it was important, especially in view of the comments I've heard from my left side that perhaps many people feel that all landlords do is exploit the community. Anyway, I want to give you this brief history. In our area, we've developed some 250 homes where we used the manufactured housing sector to build homes and eventually put them on a traditional subdivision basis and in that way market them to the community. That's probably been the most successful part of our operation.

One of the ongoing problems is with the traditional part of our community; that is, we operate a 64-unit mobile home development we purchased in 1969. If you have our little map here, Kanata is up at the top. Kanata's an Ottawa suburb. Stittsville is maybe four kilometres from Kanata going to the west. Our mobile home development, as you will see, is on the edge of Stittsville going towards Kanata. Things are processing and developing in the area.

As part of the subdivision agreement I have, we have the 64-unit mobile home community in Fringewood North and then I have a 10-unit development that still contains mobile homes in the Fringewood South area. The real problem we have is that the 10 units that are in the highway commercial area -- that's been zoned highway commercial since 1977 and I have an agreement with the municipality that I will remove those homes. Every tenant who has changed homes since 1977 has been informed that that's the zoning and that's the municipality's eventual use for the land and what I plan to eventually do.

I've tried to be upfront with my tenants and say, "Here's the direction we're going." There tends to be a little discrepancy in price between the ones in the south and the north developments. I think the market is gradually taking some recognition of that fact. I would put to you that we have a problem in terms of trying to recognize the eventual uses that Goulbourn township requires of us and Bill 21's requirement that it always remain as a mobile home community.

As far as I'm aware, there are other developments in an area like Nepean where they have the same kind of thing. There's an industrial zone in place. Eventually, the municipality's zoning is one that I think will come into play. The community ought to recognize that the development of communities is a growing and ongoing thing and does have to change as time goes on.


Mr Sweetnam: Was it an important point?

Mr Mills: Your member's shown up, I said. I think it's very nice.

Mr Sweetnam: that's an important point, I guess.

Mr Conway: He should be treated very carefully because he can be ornery.

Mr Sweetnam: I hear your advice, Mr Conway.

Mr Conway: I'm only kidding.

Mr Sweetnam: My original presentation was very structured. If I make a bad joke or something like that, I'm going to blame Mr Wessenger, because I understand there's a possibility that we'll withdraw the reserve clause. That was the one we were most concerned about and what I had directed most of my presentation towards.

I thought I might take a few minutes of the time to say to you that I still hear some people say, "The solution to the problem is get those reserve funds in there and that will do the job for us." I would like to express to all of you that the real concern I have is that it's a financial problem.


In my community, going back to 1977, when we tried to introduce sewer services to Fringewood, and we put water in the community at that time, we were not able to get the consent of the Ministry of the Environment of the day to service the people who lived in mobile homes. They somehow thought they were a different breed of cat because they were owned by a private individual. People in my community, Stittsville, received a good subsidy to help put services in the rest of the community. Fringewood was the only exception. We're here today trying to pick up the pieces.

Mr White had indicated there are often difficulties. The problem is a financial problem: How do I come up with the $7,000 per lot it takes to upgrade sewers? It's not that I haven't tried. It would take three years of revenue to solve the one problem, the sewer problem. If I go into the streets to put sewers in there, I'm not going to just do sewers. I should be doing gas mains, I should be upgrading watermains. This is even though I presently have water in the community. Part of the process of servicing an underdeveloped community that was built with the travel-trailer industry in mind is that you're continually upgrading water lines to get good pressure. We now have an eight-inch watermain and fire hydrants and stuff and a few of the old lines tied into that. That's how we've got water, but I haven't been able to make that same solution for the sewer problem that exists. I think the reserve clause especially of Bill 21 will exacerbate the problem.

There seems to be a particularly abhorrent example of a badly run development, and Joan Fawcett has asked and Mr Mills has asked. Could I suggest to members that if there's an outstanding work order, it can be registered against the development and that person can get no increases in rent. You've got a tremendous lever to get an irresponsible landlord to the table and say, "Get up here and fulfil your responsibilities as a landlord." But as governments, there is a responsibility to see that the financing portion of it is in place, and I don't see your reserve fund as meeting those responsibilities.

I also sensed in reading the Hansard that life is always strife between the landlords and the tenants. I submit with my presentation a letter from the tenant association president indicating that the real problem in dealing with the servicing crisis in Fringewood is a financial one. The current legislation only allows about a 3% increase to deal with a really substantial increase in servicing costs.

One of the efforts we have tried is to go the route of the condominium approach. Apparently the current legislation in our area, as it's enforced by the local registry office, doesn't allow us to go the condominium route. The government had a condominium bill which allowed land-lease communities to go ahead. That was withdrawn from the order paper, and I don't know where that stands at the moment. That would probably be a reasonable solution for how to pay the costs of servicing.

I would also comment, as the previous speaker did, that if we consider the profound effects of Bill 21 on mobile home owners and park owners, I respectfully request that I and the other interested parties be given the opportunity to address the committee when the amendments are available to all of us. I have not seen whatever the amendments are as tabled, because I understand they will have a substantial effect on this bill.

Mr Wessenger: First of all, I'd like to make a preliminary comment, because I think a lot of misunderstanding is being put forward here. The primary purpose of my bill is basically to deal with two problems relating to mobile home parks and land-lease communities: one is the marketability problem which has arisen in many cases, with tenants having difficulty in marketing their homes, and secondly, the whole problem of security of tenure.

With respect to the whole question of security of tenure, I think there is perhaps in your presentation somewhat of a misunderstanding with respect to what the Rental Housing Protection Act will do. The Rental Housing Protection Act will not prohibit a conversion of those 10 lots, sites. What it will do is set out a procedure which you have to go through to achieve that conversion. The housing protection act makes an application to a municipality, and the municipality's decision is basically based on whether alternative housing is available. I might suggest to you that if you had other sites to move those mobile homes to, that would solve your problem with respect to an application to the municipality. As the municipality wants you to do it, I'm just suggesting that it's not the major problem you think it might be.

Mr Sweetnam: The major problem is affordability. In other words, to reconstruct today, I would not put in a site that had two-inch watermains and 100-amp electrical services and no fire hydrants. Today they would have eight-inch watermains connected to a municipal water line. At the new standard, I understand one of the requirements is that the new rental structure has to be the same as the old one. Therein lies the difficulty, trying to bring 1990s standards providing services at 1975 prices or 1970 prices. That's the practical difficulty I encounter.

Mr Wessenger: I understand. Your issue is really the whole question of finances, to rent review aspects rather than my bill.

Mr Conway: Could I carry this just a step further? This discussion is really interesting. What I think I hear the proponent of the bill saying, and I hear you responding, is that while you both see a problem, you're saying that from the point of view of your experience, this bill is not the solution to the problem you both see.

Mr Sweetnam: That is my experience and what the tenants' association is suggesting. I must say, while I'm not going to ever claim that there's never conflict or differences of opinion, generally my tenants' association and I work well together, and things they feel strongly about, I'm able to -- that's part of the presentation, the letter of support saying the reserve funds of Bill 21 are not the way to go to solve this problem.

Mr Conway: When I look at your map, I'm quite intrigued by the 10-unit development. Over the course of time, there's no doubt that is going to be overtaken in terms of a traditional use; that is, this kind of land-lease or mobile home park is going to give way to a different kind of usage.

Mr Sweetnam: That's certainly what I have expressed to each tenant who has purchased in the past since 1977.

Mr Conway: It's your concern, then, that legislation like the bill before us currently is really standing in the face of the --

Mr Sweetnam: It would make it financially difficult to implement the decision the municipality went for, which was to look at that as highway-commercial use as the major arterial between Kanata and Stittsville develops.

Mr Conway: Is it the view of most of the residents in that 10-unit park now that they can see what's coming, that the day is fast approaching when a mobile home park is probably not going to be a good use of space or a place they might want to be?

Mr Sweetnam: As long as that economical housing is available, I'm sure they appreciate that and I'm sure they'd all probably make a donation to Mr Wessenger's campaign if he were to put through the legislation. I'm just saying it's not going to --

Mr Conway: But would they not agree that if the neighbourhood changes, if everything around them becomes not what it is now but highway-commercial, surely the area will become a lot less attractive for that particular land use?

Mr Sweetnam: We're seeing that starting to happen now, yes.


Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): The development you have there, which of course I'm familiar with, recognizes the two levels in which mobile home parks have been created. Fringewood North, where the 64 units are and which is the subject matter of your presentation, is the 1950s style of development of these things, when municipalities -- the township of Goulbourn was pretty young at that stage of the game, and very rural. Municipalities didn't demand much of the developer. Then there's Fringewood South, properly developed, services put in at the time, acquired by the township, and therefore there are no problems with Fringewood South, basically. The thrust of your submission is that because there isn't any government reaction to dealing with the 1950 problems, which could exist -- I know they exist in two other mobile home parks in my area -- these places are going to have to close down. It's going to be very difficult to continue, to meet the MOE requirements. The message is that we've got to find another solution. It's the financing solution which is the problem. How do we get the services in Fringewood North to make it look like Fringewood South? There isn't any solution at this time.

The only thing I take from this, Mr Wessenger, is that you may be exacerbating the problem in Fringewood North. By restricting the financial alternatives of Mr Sweetnam, how are you going to make it easier for him to put those services in? How is he going to put those services in?

Mr Wessenger: One of the concepts in the bill is to encourage the conversion either to condominium-type ownership or to what is called a tenant-owned cooperative. Both of those are envisaged as being something I want to see. The intention is to be exempt from the housing protection act with respect to such conversions.

Mr Sweetnam: Long before I heard the wisdom of this bill -- and I think there is some wisdom in the bill; I see some good approaches in the bill -- I was going down the conversion-to-condominium route. One of the first requirements, as Mr Wessenger will know, is that you get the land in the land titles office. I'm that far. The land titles people, who are maybe surveyors and not lawyers, don't accept the advice of my lawyer, who says, "Yes, you can put a condominium in there." We need condominium legislation that says very specifically, "Land-lease communities are okay to -- " Gentlemen all, ladies, please push that forward. I know you've got a tough time allocating House time, but that's one possible solution to the problem.

Mr Sterling: I understand there are 27 or 28 amendments to the bill, which members have received. Are deputants going to be given the opportunity to come back to the committee after they have been put on the floor? Are they publicized?

The Chair: I can answer just from the straight process perspective. Tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock the committee is scheduled to begin the clause-by-clause examination of this bill.

Mr Wessenger: Perhaps I could add some explanation about the amendments. Most of the amendments are of a technical nature. There are probably only about five or six of a substantial nature. The rest of them are basically language changes. What I hope to do at the beginning of clause-by-clause is to make a statement dealing with those amendments I propose to make which are of a substantial nature. The majority of those amendments, though, are technical and not substantive.

Mr Sterling: The bill only has 27 sections.

Mr Conway: And Mr Sterling is a lawyer. Normie, have you got some extra time?

Mr Sweetnam: Through my school career as an engineer, I was always being accused of being culturally challenged. After reading this legislation, I feel a little legally challenged and overwhelmed.

Mr Wessenger: I would agree with this whole area.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, can I ask Mr Wessenger to identify the substantive amendments? I don't have a lot of time tonight to read through all the amendments and match them with all the sections of the bill because of a speaking commitment I have. If we're going to start it tomorrow at 3, he could tell me which sections are substantive and I will focus on those at midnight tonight when I get home.

Mr Mammoliti: Why don't you fix her a cup of tea or a cup of coffee? You may as well fix her a sandwich with a pickle at the same time.

Mr Wessenger: Why don't we do that after we've completed all the hearings?

The Chair: This afternoon?

Mr Wessenger: Yes, this afternoon.

Mrs Marland: I won't be here.

Mr Wessenger: You could probably speak to my staff and they might be able to indicate to you which --

The Chair: We seem to be into the midafternoon, forget-about-decorum mode. Let's get back to regular parliamentary order.


Mr Clayton Hudson: My name is Clay Hudson and I'm president of Strathmore Communities Corp. Strathmore was established early in 1993 by a group of experienced real estate professionals to develop affordable, adult lifestyle communities in south-central Ontario. Our research into the empty-nester market for the 1990s and beyond led us to the following conclusions:

(1) In Canada generally, but in Ontario in particular, the number of healthy and active people over 55 will increase dramatically over the next decade. As a result, the demand for residential accommodation to satisfy the needs of this group will also increase.

(2) Although not universal, there is generally a desire among many retired or about-to-be-retired people to move from builtup areas to small-town or even rural settings.

(3) The satisfaction level of those living in rural or small-town retirement communities is extremely high. Generally, the residential dimensions relating to this satisfaction ordered out as follows: dwelling considerations, lifestyle considerations, location considerations, and tenure considerations. In these communities, by far the most common form of tenure is land-lease.

(4) By providing a destination for empty nesters, existing housing stock in urban areas will be recycled to younger families with children who will make use of existing infrastructure such as schools.

(5) By creating communities in clusters in existing settlement areas, on communal sewage and water systems where services are not available, the environmental and planning objectives contemplated by the Commission on Planning and Development Reform in Ontario are met.

Encouraged by the demographics of the market and comforted by our research, Strathmore has enthusiastically sought out sites in south-central Ontario to locate one or more adult lifestyle communities which will provide high-quality, affordable living accommodation in a congenial community atmosphere to today's and tomorrow's seniors. It would appear, however, that the Ontario government is not supportive of this form of housing.

In its draft of Planning Guidelines for Retirement Communitites in February 1992, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs indicated that it is not enthusiastic about the creation of retirement communities, especially those on land leases. These guidelines, although not providing any backup data, offer a very negative view of the impact of an adult lifestyle community on a local community or economy. Furthermore, while our research indicated that adult lifestyle communities not only provided low-cost quality living for seniors but also were low impact on the area in which they were located, and in addition, that the local area experienced increased consumer demand, not to mention increased tax revenue, none of this appears to have been recognized by the ministry.

Concurrent with or shortly after the publication of these guidelines, land-lease communities were brought under the Rent Control Act. No attempt appears to have been made to differentiate between the rent paid for a dwelling unit, for example an apartment, and rent paid for a lot in a land-lease community, which is in essence a fee for services such as sewer and water. The question therefore arises, is it appropriate to regulate the fee for the provision of services under legislation designed to deal with the regulation of rent for dwelling units?

In 1993, the final assault was made on affordable, adult lifestyle communities in the land-lease format. A private member's bill was introduced into the Legislature, Bill 21, the net effect of which would be to bring all land-lease and mobile home communities under the Rent Control Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act and the subdivision control provisions of the Planning Act.

The consequences of Bill 21 becoming law, apart from the impact on existing land-lease communities, will likely be either the elimination of new communities altogether or increase in both time and cost to bring a new community on stream, with the resultant increase in price to the consumer.


Instead of proceeding with the legislation proposed, which has the potential of eliminating an affordable housing alternative for seniors, would it not be more prudent to establish a committee to look into the whole universe of land-lease communities and mobile home parks? Such a committee could then report back to the Legislature with its recommendations, which might include a bill specifically governing housing on leased land, much like the Condominium Act governs condominiums. Surely this would be a preferred approach to Bill 21, which in itself is a patchwork of existing pieces of legislation never intended to be applied to the circumstances at hand.

I wasn't here this morning, but it seems there was a bit of a consensus that perhaps the approach should be a land-lease community bill or statute, and that I concur with.

But I'm very concerned about the consultation process. I happened to be meeting with a planner and a town clerk in a township just east of Toronto and I mentioned the impact Bill 21 might have on their community. They had never been circulated the bill, had never been advised that the bill even existed, had not been contacted by Municipal Affairs. My understanding is that the policy in this province is that where there is a statute proposed by the province which will directly impact on a municipality, that that be circulated into all of the municipalities for comment. This has not been done, to my knowledge, with this bill. That concludes my comments.

Mrs Marland: I think it's my turn to ask questions.

The Chair: No, it's Mr Conway's turn.

Mr Conway: It being Margaret's birthday, I want to defer to her. Margaret, go for it.

Mrs Marland: Thank you, Mr Conway. This consultation process, or absolute dearth of it, is a tremendous concern. I would like to ask Mr Wessenger whether he personally, as it was a private member's bill, circulated it even to AMO, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

Mr Fletcher: They agreed with it.

Mrs Marland: That wasn't the question. The question was, was it circulated to them?

Mr Wessenger: Did I circulate it to AMO? No, I did not circulate it.

Mrs Marland: The problem is that it's almost like it's a deliberate move to deal with one side of one subject, which is not constructive in the least. My office is getting more and more calls now from people who suddenly realize this is here, in fact from people who don't live in my riding, because I don't have this kind of development in my riding. But they're saying, "Why didn't you let us know?" I say to them, "Unfortunately, it's the responsibility of government, or, if it's a private member's bill, for that individual member to circulate it to the parties that are affected." This is what we've been hearing all day, that people happen to have heard from somebody else. That part is very disappointing.

Mr Hudson, I want to thank you for the information you're bringing to us, especially the Ministry of Municipal Affairs report in February of two years ago, 1992, the draft of the planning guidelines for retirement villages. I didn't know of that. It's very interesting when these guidelines end up, as you say, presenting a very negative view of the impact of an adult lifestyle community on a local community or economy. I can see so many of these communities being adjacent to more rural communities, where they would be glad that people are buying carpet and furniture and groceries and milk and everything else because that community has evolved.

I don't have questions for you, but for Mr Wessenger. Mr Wessenger, did you consider this draft that was available in February 1992? I'd like to ask that we all receive a copy of this through the clerk or maybe through Mr Richmond, the researcher, because I think we need this information. Did you refer to this draft?

Mr Wessenger: Obviously, my bill is not directed to the whole question of development within the province; mine is designed to protect the rights of tenants who live in mobile home parks and those who live in land-lease communities --

Mrs Marland: Are they not retirement villages?

Mr Wessenger: -- and to ensure that we have marketable units, which is in the interests of both owners and tenants, and that we have security of tenure, which is of utmost importance to tenants. That's the limited purpose of this bill. This bill is not designed to do a complete revision of the law with respect to land-lease communities or designed to do a complete revision with respect to the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Mrs Marland: I don't think you heard my question. My question was about retirement villages. You just didn't want to answer it, I guess.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Marland.

Mr Wessenger: Mr Hudson, I was curious about your comments with respect to the amendments to the Planning Act. I've had discussions with several people from land-lease communities. As you know, my bill merely requires that they develop either under subdivision control or under site plan development, and in my discussions with most of the people developing these types of projects, they're doing them under site plan. It seemed to me as a former municipal councillor, as a lawyer dealing with a lot of real estate development in my experience, it was an unfortunate gap in the past that you could have many of these mobile home parks grow up without any planning, without any services. By having a requirement of site plan approval, you're going to ensure that you get the planning control for the development of these. I have some difficulty in understanding why you would object to an almost minimalistic approach with respect to the development, particularly in view, as I said, of the comments I've had with developers who are quite sophisticated in this area.

Mr Hudson: I don't think anybody in the business of creating new communities has any problem with the site plan control process. From my point of view, I'm one of the very fortunate individuals. I didn't buy land in 1988 to try to develop it in 1993. But in some of these smaller municipalities where these are located, to insist on the process of a registered plan of subdivision for a plan like this adds a tremendous amount of time and expense to the process, as you are aware, and really, that's the end of the comment.

I don't think anybody's got a problem with the site plan, because inevitably, the way development is going as a result of the Sewell commission, you can't develop in a field. You have to be in a settlement area and there has to be official plan status to your property before you're permitted to develop it. That obviates the necessity of doing a site plan.

Mr Wessenger: But the legislation is worded in such a way that subdivision is an alternative to a site plan. It's not that you have to have a site plan on subdivision; it's an alternative.

Mr Hudson: I apologize, Mr Wessenger. I am a lawyer, and I had a lot of problems with Bill 21.

Mr Wessenger: That's the way the instructions went for the drafting and the way I read it. I'm sorry if you came to the conclusion you had to do both. I'm sorry you misread it that way, because it's certainly not the intention that you had to have a subdivision for every --

Mrs Marland: Is it a choice?

Mr Wessenger: It's a choice, yes.

Mrs Marland: So some municipalities might enforce it?

The Chair: No, Mrs Marland. Mr Conway.


Mr Conway: Well, I am not a lawyer, so I am loath to travel into this crossfire, but I want to say that I think your presentation is a good one. I'm particularly struck by the observation you have made that there has been, over the last number of years, a sense given by virtue of government policies that retirement communities as such are not really desirable. It has been noted sotto voce by I think the member for Guelph that the courts have taken that out of our hands. I think he's right to some extent. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it does seem to --

Mr Hudson: You can't legislate age or sex.

Mr Conway: That's correct, but I think your brief makes plain that there is a very real market pressure out there, that all of us sense, that the over-55 crowd, not an inconsequential part of the polity these days, prefer it.

Margaret, I didn't say anything. We'll get around to that perhaps later.

Your sense is that Bill 21, if implemented, even with the amendments, would really put a cold shower on any prospective developments in places like Tillsonburg or wherever.

Ms Hudson: I can't answer that question because I don't know what Bill 21 now says. Apparently, there was a whole bunch of new amendments brought down. My biggest problem, and this is as a lawyer, is that you take a bunch of legislation that was drafted to solve a problem over here and then you try to bring it across the table, but it's inappropriate. I don't believe for a moment that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has taken the care to examine this concept of home ownership and development.

I'll give you an example. The Sewell commission mandates communal sewage systems, and it is right to do that. So all of a sudden some of the rural communities are faced with a problem, because they had an official plan which basically said, "We will do a hamlet development on estate lots, blah, blah, blah." They can't do that now. That's fair. So we'll come along and say, "We'll put this retirement community in here," and we're not talking about Metro Toronto, with 200 people in the planning department; we're talking about a township which has a planner as a consultant and very few staff members, who cannot handle, let's call it sophisticated new concepts, not because they're not extremely intelligent people, but there are just too few of them.

Although he's not here, one of my partners, Don Vallery, from Belwood outside of Fergus, puts in a communal system in which the effluent is purer than the drinking water in Caledon East, puts in his own communal water system, puts in a road system, 100% serviced for the people. They can't wait to get there. Why? Because it's all there. But the little municipality, the township of Garafraxa, could not handle the kind of complexity this kind of community entails.

The gentleman who appeared before me, who acquired a property some time ago, is telling you exactly what the problems of piecemeal development are: the small water pipes, the septic systems that don't work and so on. What should happen is that a bill should come forward saying: "If you're going to do a land-lease community, that's terrific, that's great. Here are the rules."

Mr Conway: There is certainly a very considerable consensus to support you on that on the basis of what I've heard here today.

The Chair: Thank you for coming to see us.


Mr Terrell Heard: My name is Terrell Heard. I am principal and president of Golden Horseshoe Court Developments Ltd, which owns Golden Horseshoe Court in the towns of Beamsville and Lincoln. We have about 230 units now, with approval for 50-plus more that we've just received through the site plan process, which is quite costly, I might add.

Mr Wessenger's legislation identifies a problem that is real. It's been said so many times today, I hesitate to repeat it for repetition, but there needs to be some legislation dealing directly with mobile homes and land-lease situations. I think that's a point you have taken this afternoon and will move forward at least to investigate.

Even in court cases about applying the Landlord and Tenant Act and so forth, either from our viewpoint or the tenants', judges often get mixed up on really how to apply the thing, because what applies in apartment buildings is not necessarily so in mobile home parks.

Having said that and acknowledging there's a need, I feel this legislation is not the proper answer in its present form. I know that draft amendments are now in order that would render this legislation as we see it perhaps different in a number of ways, but I'm going to address it as it stands today, because that is how it stands today, obviously, and these amendments may not change or be added at all. I think the very fact that there are so many amendments being put forward validates and emphasizes the fallacy of the bill. I speak from a landlord's viewpoint, but I feel we are fair with our tenants. That's another whole issue. I could have brought a letter from our tenants' association commending us for the work we've done, but I would like to address the bill itself.

First of all, there's been something said about seniors. Our park is a mixed group. We were told by the Human Rights Commission that seniors-only is not enforceable, as well as how many children or tenants can move into a unit. So we haven't even attempted to legislate in the park by regulation anything of that nature. We are a mixed community, and our concern in reading this legislation is that it may foster further landlord and tenant confrontations.

"Landlord" has almost become the L-word in Ontario. It's almost as if it's been fostered that: "Landlords are automatically out to get your pocketbook and you'd better watch out. We'll even furnish you a phone number and have someone waiting if you want to call to report your landlord." You know what I'm referring to.

We try to operate a business that does have a legitimate right to make a profit, which is not a bad word, is it? This profit has to take the market into consideration, everybody else's rights involved, and there's plenty of legislation that has helped us toe the line to this point.

Some of the points of this particular legislation before us today: the right of first refusal. We don't even use that in our park and we never have, to my knowledge, even in the past ownership. The park is about 25 years old at this time. We have owned it for about five years. We don't exercise it, but I can see the points in its favour, where it could indeed save good terms with the landlord and tenant and save money for the tenant and real estate fees. It could save time, it could bring convenience and also it could save legal fees.

At the same time, the landlord, if he does choose to opt for this purchase, gives the tenant what he wants for his unit and everybody's still happy, so I can't see the problem with it. If it's worded as such that he must give the tenant what a bona fide offer states, I can agree with that without a problem.

For-sale signs: We have signs in our park and have had ever since we bought ownership of the park. They do not offer me a personal problem, but I have run into a number of complaints or suspicious remarks by people wanting to purchase in the park: "What's going on here?" Martha Lane in our park, for instance, has about six or eight signs clustered within half a block. I have a suspicion that part of the problem is that there's a real grouch on that particular block who goes around causing people definite problems, but it may be that people are upgrading, with today's interest rates, that some of them are moving out to get single detached homes and so forth.

For-sale signs can be intimidating. I don't mind them in the window. We don't even mind them near the front, for that matter. But in respect to those of our park owners and membership in the Ontario Land Lease Federation, I can't see a problem with restricting the signs in terms of their placement, and perhaps a bulletin board, as you saw passed around earlier today. I do not feel there'd be a problem with that. In our park, we would likely continue as we are, regardless.

We have a substantial number of seniors in our park. In reading one of the discussion papers from a while back, it talked about these vulnerable, intimidated seniors. I would like to question that remark in particular. I feel that seniors are well advised, experienced. The ones I deal with in our park know where they're going, and I don't think they're intimidated nearly as it might be suggested. They have a right and wisdom of their own and contribute quite freely and frankly to any meetings we have had with the tenants and park association in the past.

The reserve fund: We pay for our repairs from the rent now, and that works fine with us. I'm just wondering if this is not another attempt to legislate all of us together, lump us with the so-called bad landlords, to make us do things we really don't want to do. We won't let our parks run down. We won't allow our parks to deteriorate while we're pocketing all these vast funds. I have not yet taken a salary from our park and don't intend to. My investment is long-term. At some point in time I hope we can cash some of it out and use it for our own benefit, but right now, everything's put back in.


We have the biggest investment of anybody in the park. Our investment and our park regulations are in fact what makes the tenants' investment worth anything at all. We have units for sale right now privately at $45,000, that if you put them on the street would be worth $4,000 at the most, if you could find a buyer. It's because we have park regulations that require of the tenants the same things that the Landlord and Tenant Act requires of us. "You keep your yard straight, keep your act up, and we'll do ours the same." It's working quite well, with the minor bobble and the occasional court confrontation, but it nevertheless is doing the job.

I don't feel we need this particular legislation, especially to address a few problems. We've got bad landlords, no question. I've heard the horror stories, as you have. But in our case, the municipality has legislation, a bylaw. Put the onus on municipalities. Let them deal with their problem. Why send it up to you guys? Let them handle it locally, put a bylaw into effect. They're best able to look over it from where they are.

While this legislation may have noble intent and seem quite innocent in some ways, it takes a lot into assumption. Regarding this reserve fund, it seemingly assumes that all or a majority of landlords are negligent in keeping up their park and thus it requires more laws to save the tenants. It assumes that landlords have ample funds to front this reserve fund and pay the expense money into an account rather than pay as we go. That is absolutely not true.

It assumes landlords have money available for independent studies periodically. How often, and how much are they going to cost? In our present development we have had to do some independent studies, and they're not cheap, anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 for particular studies we've done on noise vibration, study of the infrastructure and so forth. These don't come cheap, and to legislate that out of the landlord's existing rents I don't think would be quite fair without knowing his financial affairs. If the reserve fund is inadequate, the bill says simply, "Take more out of the rent." I'd like to know where the magic wand's going to come from to accomplish this. You can legislate anything you want, but that doesn't provide the money to look after it.

Another point is that it be put in a trust account. There's more bookkeeping, more red tape, more documentation. Most of these operations are ma-and-pa operations and I don't think they need the extra headache and so forth that goes along with this extra burden of paperwork.

I don't agree also with section 128.4. Why should a copy be sent to the tenants if there is a study done? Who is maintaining the park? In my experience, in a park our size, you've got some activists who, it doesn't matter what bait you throw out there, they're ready to tangle with you and tackle you and drag you, bloody and beaten, down the streets if they think they can get anything done. This is not an exaggerated opinion. I could tell you stories if you wish, regardless of the fact that we have done very much to have a good relationship with our people in the park, with the tenants there.

I don't feel our personal, private business figures are any of their business, and at some point in time I fear this might have to be brought out in court or whatever. It infringes on my rights as a private businessman, so I don't think that's totally in order. More studies should be done on that account.

Section 128.6: What kind of security is this that they might be asking, what kind of information would be disclosed, and what additional criteria? These questions should be answered as well.

The conclusion drawn by myself regarding this legislation is that it seems to shore up the old fight between the landlord and the tenant, that landlords are taking advantage of tenants and they need more government protection. Frankly, we're functioning to the same successful end that this legislation purports to end up with. We're working with the tenants, we're repairing structures, infrastructures, streets, maintaining the place. Each year we probably have $100,000 or more that goes towards maintenance in our park.

Whether it's a sewer plug-up, which happens anywhere -- I don't think it's because of a bad landlord that a sewer backs up in someone's backyard. It's just a common maintenance problem. But because we had a sewer backup, we've been painted as all kinds of things. We've been in the local paper for it, until finally we wised up the paper and city council, and city council had to withdraw a couple of their orders against us, embarrassingly so, because they didn't have adequate information. Someone took a picture of a mud puddle from three different angles, sent it in and the city council said, "Stop development." We were still developing that particular street corner.

These are things that do arise, and over time we can work them out, but I think we need to be allowed, instead of Big Daddy government doing so much for us. Common sense should prevail in a lot of areas, and if people don't have common sense, I guess we do need more detailed legislation. But if you're doing to detail it, make it fair on both sides. Don't give it all to the tenants. I feel the Landlord and Tenant Act ought to be renamed the Tenant Act, personally, because it seems to give more favour to them. They challenge us at times on minute points, because they feel they're untouchable. I don't mean to paint our park as one that's always giving trouble, but I could drive down the streets and tell you who are the ones who do cause it. In fact, you wouldn't have to ask. When they saw me driving down the road, they'd probably come and introduce themselves.

Of all the legislation in this particular bill, the reserve fund is what causes me the most concern. If you're going to legislate the fund into existence, you should also legislate rent increases along with it. To fund any shortfall amount, as determined by the so-called studies -- if we're presently spending $100,000 a year and a study shows we need $120,000, I think we should be allowed to increase the rents to catch that $20,000 and put it into the fund. We should be allowed some time to build the fund up as well, and we should also be allowed periodically to increase the rent specifically based on the need of this fund, if there's going to be a fund, because you can't legislate an answer without legislating some finances to go with it. It's just not good business and it just won't work.

Earlier this morning, Big Cedar was here, and they talked about the reserve fund working well for them. It ought to, because they got their property turned over to them for $1, as you heard them say. Unfortunately, we paid over $2 million for ours, and with mortgaging in place we can't just have a reserve fund quite so easily. Even with that, it took them six years, I believe they said, to establish their fund to the point where it is now, and they had a $25,000 kicker in there to start with and got the land, or the park, for $1. I don't think that should be used to persuade the committee here that that's a great idea.

Plus, two or three years ago, legislation was passed that forbade us from passing on legitimate costs in the form of higher rents to our tenants. We are now required to perform the same duties with more limited amounts of money, even though they are legitimate costs. If any other business remodelled their place, who's going to stop them from boosting up the amounts just a bit to help recover it? Good business practice says you do it or you go under, and it's no different in the situation we're in except that we're dealing with an apple-pie-and-motherhood issue when you're talking about housing.


But there's two sides to this thing. If the government wants to provide the housing, that's one issue. If they want private landlords to do it, they've got to make the means available to allow them to do it with the proper financing and not operating on some sort of shoestring, where the tenants and everybody else would be likely to go under if something happened. It's ludicrous to even think it's possible to do it that way. The things we're dealing with here are more far-reaching than just putting out a new bill. They involve the security not just of landlords and investments for the landlords but of the people themselves. If the landlords are put in fiscal jeopardy, so goes the investment, unless the government or the mortgage companies pick it up.

I have a couple of questions that might bear asking at this time. If we have a reserve fund and we run short one month in our budget, are we going to pay our mortgage or are we going to pay into the reserve fund? It's a very real situation. It will happen, because we just don't have all kinds of money flowing through the place ready to be thrown wherever it will. That needs to be looked at as well. If you legislate it, there needs to be some sort of cushion, some sort of measure to allow for this money and so forth to be there when it is necessary. It is a legitimate business, deserves a right to make a profit, and this legislation doesn't fully take into account -- again I say the P-word -- the profits of the L-word, landlords. It doesn't take into proper consideration these things, and it desecrates the rights of land ownership to boot. I don't think it's thought through well enough, with all good intentions, I'm sure. There's just too much involved.

I appreciate the time for landlords and land owners to be able to present what we are presenting to you this day. To get a fair consideration, all the points you've heard today as well as this need to be taken.

Another point, in closing my remarks: What of affordable housing? By being brought into the site plan agreement process, we've added at least $1,000 to the cost of our units. The developers' lot levy that's just been introduced in the last couple of years has added $2,200 per lot to each lot right off the bat before we can get a building permit. The GST has added another $3,000 or $4,000 to each purchase. You've got $6,000 or $7,000 in the last two years that have been added to the price of what should be affordable housing. There are some areas government ought to keep its fingers off of in terms of money, taxing and so forth, and this would be in affordable housing, if anywhere, but we are being battered by this. Therefore, anything further would only cause bigger problems and threaten the available stocks of affordable housing.

Also, the mortgage companies through which we have financed require similar upkeep and maintenance to what is being required already by the Landlord and Tenant Act and further by this legislation. Do we really need any more on us to try to force us to keep up our already lifetime investment? This one-size-fits-all legislation might just end up not fitting anybody, and it needs to be considered.

Also, the Landlord and Tenant Act, 125(2) --

The Chair: You have about one minute, Mr Heard.

Mr Heard: I won't even need that. This legislation does not apply to "premises administered by or for the governments of Canada or Ontario or a municipality or any agency thereof." This automatically says: "You landlords do it; you make it work. We'll legislate it, but we don't want to touch it with a 10-foot pole." I know this is a standard clause in a lot of legislation, but when it comes to money that's not there, it's wishful thinking, and it's going to cause great problems.

The Chair: We appreciate your presentation.

Mr Mills: It's unfortunate we have no time for rebuttal.

The Chair: Usually this time is used to discuss issues.


Mr Robert Cove: Thank you for letting us speak today. My name's Robert Cove. I'm the spokesperson for the people of Trenton Trailer Park in Belleville, Ontario. I'd like to address this committee not only for myself but also as a representative of those people, 49 single-family units in that area.

We're all very much in favour of Bill 21. The bill will offer us additional protection as tenants who lease land for use as a site for our mobile homes. Although this bill will not stop landlords from closing mobile home parks, a situation we now face and others will certainly face in the future, we feel it will provide some sort of compensation due to the loss of sale, devaluation of our homes, as well as other economic losses which come as a result of landlords no longer wishing to maintain and run mobile home parks. They are forcing us to move our mobile homes, causing in some situations major structural damage, while others are being forced to leave their homes heavily mortgaged and with no place to take them.

We tenants are subject to one of the bad-cat landlords. If you'll turn the first page, you'll see he's introduced applications for rent increases, a 28% rent increase on the next occasion. It was turned down, so he decided he wanted to close the park. He decided, "Okay, if that's the case, I'm going to go for a 42% rent increase." That was turned down, so he decided he was going to close the park. The third time is right now, and he knows he can't even ask for any more than what's allowed, and he's asking for a 69.8% rent increase.

We're being penalized for the rent control system -- that's exactly what it is -- so we have to agree with what people are saying, that something separate has to be done for us people.

Until now we've been able to ward off his attempts. Unfortunately, at our last hearing we were told by the judge that there are no laws out there to protect us, period. If he wants to close the park, he can close the park, period. There's nothing we can do about it. There's no recourse.

We haven't complained about park situations. We can certainly sympathize with the Subway trailer association. I know some of the members here have also been involved with that park. We have had a lot of problems in there, but we haven't complained about it. At this point, we just want to keep the park open, and Bill 21 is certainly one way of doing it.

We've been told that our park's closure is inevitable in the spring of this year. That makes the retroactive portion of this very important to us, because we're faced with it very soon.

During this hearing we've heard no opposition to the portion Mr Wessenger put in there about compensation due to park closures. If there's no opposition, could that section be approved and put forth immediately? That's something we need. Whether it goes through the Ministry of Housing or wherever, it's something we need right now. We need all the help we can get.

We do support the retroactive clause, obviously, because of that. We started in 1991 and we've held him off until now, but our life is dying very quickly. There's not much we can do in this case.

The remainder of the bill should possibly go to an established committee of tenants, landlords and government people. That might be a real good way of doing things. But what this bill was presented for, really, is protection for the tenants, not the landlords. Maybe there should be a separate bill. It seems to me there have been a lot of landlords and a lot of people they call heavy investors in there looking at ways of saving them. Maybe they're just trying to put the bill off so they can buy themselves some more time. This is something that's needed for the tenants, and if more people knew about this -- I didn't know about it. I was never served with this. If more people knew about it, I'll tell you, this room would be full of tenants.

The tenants also have a very big risk in this. Our park, for example, is only 49 units, but we've got over $2 million worth of property that's going to have to be walked away from. Who's going to pay for that? Who's going to pay to put me into another house? That's exactly what you're expressing in this.

As to the landlords coming in here saying it's a two-sided street, well, let's get them a bill too. Okay, fine. But this one should go through. There's a lot of people relying on it, even if they're not here today. That was the land-lease federation that suggested that, and maybe they should follow up. It's a real good deal, you want to make sure everybody's concerns are heard, but at this point I think we're asking about the concerns of the tenants.

We'd like to thank Mr Wessenger for introducing this bill. I don't think it was so badly written, myself. I think it depends on who's reading it as to how badly it was written. I hear an awful lot of complaints about the changes to the bill. We just heard that it's mostly language. Well, come on, let's get off it. Let's get with the issues and not worry about language. If there are a few things that are changing in language, okay, let them go, but let's get the issues taken care of. There are a lot of very important issues in this bill.


In closing, I would like to make a request of the committee on behalf of myself and the tenants who were unable to attend. It would be greatly appreciated if the committee would consider going around into other areas, maybe setting other hearing dates so that people who didn't know about this one can come to the next one and actually get a really good voice of opinion. Maybe you could choose other areas, going to the Cobourg-Belleville area, because there are a lot of parks in there.

I know another park presented today. Actually, they're a very good park and they don't have any problems with their landlord, but they also support Bill 21 because there are certain clauses in there that protect them against the future. A lot of people don't know how much they're hanging out there by a thread. Unless they're faced with the situation, how could they come in and support such a bill when they're sitting back there saying, "I pay my rent, so I've got a place to live"?

I'd like to thank you very much for presenting this. I really hope you don't take out that retroactive part, because we're all about to be out on our butts and we need some protection.

Mrs Marland: I don't have any questions. You were very clear in what you had to say. Have you been here all day?

Mr Cove: Yes.

Mrs Marland: Then you heard Mr Wessenger say -- I say this as much for the previous presenter as for you -- that two of the changes he is bringing in as amendments are that he is taking the retroactivity out, and he's also taking out the requirement for reserve funds. You heard him say that.

Mr Cove: I did, yes. Could I make a comment on the reserve funds? A couple of people in here said there's something in the process right now where people can go ahead and make sure they get paid, this compensation package, for repairs, that they want to put all this money aside. Well, the landlords, as it stands right now, if they get hit with a heavy bill they don't want to pay, can just close the park. If having to put this lump sum of money away is going to close the park or is going to cause problems, what's the difference between that and the current system we have right now?

Mrs Marland: As it's not going to be in the bill, it probably isn't worth pursuing. But because you put forward the problems of the built-property owners very clearly, what is the solution? If you had been the person who owned the property -- and I can tell you that in Cedar Grove in Mississauga, the family has owned that property for over 40 years and that is the money for their retirement. That's their whole family's equity. If they can't get out of it, what is the answer? What is an equitable solution?

Mr Cove: I think it should go a lot further than just not being able to get out of it. If you read through our brief, our landlord tells us about the unfair rent controls and the Landlord and Tenant Act. There's a big difference between a rent increase on a small $100-a-month lot and an apartment, and that should be taken into consideration. They should be able to get more money for the services they're allowing.

Mrs Marland: I don't agree with 40% rent increases either, but what is the fair solution in terms of the property rights of the people who own the property? That's what I've been asking people all day. It's fine to come in and wave a flag as a landlord or come in and wave a flag as a tenant, but the point is, you're both property owners and you can't say, "The tenant's rights have to come first."

Mr Bill Williams: I'm Bill Williams, also from the trailer park. You should be able to get together with each other, but when you have a bad-cat landlord, it's hard to sit down and talk to him on a one-to-one basis. Maybe if it was a better landlord you could sit down as a committee, but if we went up as a group to our landlord, he wouldn't let us in and talk to us. He's a bad-cat landlord, as was stated before.

Mrs Marland: So we need legislation to address the people who are totally unreasonable.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you very much for your presentation. I did hear your views on the whole question of retroactivity and I am concerned about that issue. I should clarify that I will not be bringing that amendment but that amendment may be moved by someone else.

Mrs Marland: Oh, this is coming from God, is it?

Mr Wessenger: I just want to assure you that I would like it to be retroactive.

However, I am concerned about you losing possession. There presently is an application before the court under the Landlord and Tenant Act to terminate all your tenancies, is that correct?

Mr Cove: That's correct, yes.

Mr Wessenger: Do you know when the date of hearing for that is?

Mr Cove: No. It was supposed to come into the spring opening; that's all I know.

Mr Wessenger: The spring opening, so it would be very important for you to have this legislation passed before that hearing date. If it was passed before that hearing date, the judge would not be able to make any order with respect to terminating your tenancies. I must say, the first interest I have in this legislation is dealing with that issue of protecting your tenancy; that's what I consider the most important aspect. This whole bill is important, but I think that carries precedence over everything else and is the reason for the urgency of getting this legislation through as quickly as possible.

Mr Cove: I agree.

Mr Mills: Thank you, gentlemen. I think it takes some degree of courage to come here and appear before a public committee of the Legislature of Ontario and complain about some dastardly -- get the word "dastardly" -- landlord, and you have every right to do that.

I just want to tell you that I was sent to the Legislature of the province of Ontario to represent people, and if those people come to me with a complaint -- I can assure you, for the benefit of others in the room, that I don't scratch my head and say, "What can I do to get at landlords this month, because I don't like them?" I respond to the complaints of my community.

You won't be here tomorrow because you probably have to work and you've taken the time to come here for this, but I can tell you, people from my community will be here tomorrow. You won't be able to get a seat. More than 700 of them -- in most cases, these are not poor people, but they have such a concern about what's happening with leased lots and trailer parks and everything that over 700 of them have signed a petition that I will present to the Legislature on March 21 demanding that this committee pass Bill 21. It's that important to them. These folks will be here tomorrow, wall to wall, at 10 o'clock. That's how they see this.

It really upsets me when I hear people talking about Big Daddy and the landlord, that all the legislation is for the tenants. Cripes, they're the ones who are coming and telling me about their problems, and I have to act or react as a legislator on their behalf. I don't see anything wrong in that, but you hear it the other way.

I just want to tell you about your site. A gentleman has written to us, and this is absolutely atrocious. They're trying to close down the park, and this person tells me that in 1988 their home was appraised at $42,900, and now through the action of this person who owns your park, he says, "I'll be lucky to get $6,000." This guy's got no income, he's a senior, and he will be on welfare if this happens. No wonder I get mad, and you should get mad.

Mr Cove: My home is in the same situation as the other 49 units. As a matter of fact, as you'll see in the back, real estate companies haven't been coming in for years. They won't, because he's closing it.

Mr Mills: And it burns me up when a bunch of landlords or owners come in and say, "You guys are down on landlords."


Mrs Fawcett: Welcome, gentlemen. I'm glad to see you here. You've been very patient, listening all day. I should recognize Mr Grawberg as well, with your group. I know your situation is a really bad one. I've been to a meeting; one of my staff has been to a meeting. Have you had any luck at all with the municipality to enforce anything on the landlord?

Mr Cove: No. We've been told all the municipality does is supply the licence. That's it. That's all they do. That's what its jurisdiction is, period.

Mrs Fawcett: Is the landlord doing any of the repairs and upkeep and those kinds of things? Is he using the rent to improve your --

Mr Cove: No. As a matter of fact, he's complaining that he's not getting enough. As you can see through these increases, he's doing the bare minimum just to keep the park going. He's closing it, so why bother?

Mrs Fawcett: I know Mr Wessenger has met with you and is concerned, but I'm also concerned about the retroactivity clause, because we were told that is now being removed, that it is not going to be there for you. That is a real concern. Now, again, you will have no protection. Is it possible for your group to form a cooperative and purchase the land?

Mr Cove: As a matter of fact, we're meeting tomorrow night to look at that because, besides this bill, that's our last hope. The application has been put forth before. There are no funds available to us to purchase it. We're buying fresh air, and nobody's going to accommodate that. Unless Cec -- and we all know what we're up against with this landlord -- is prepared to sit down and talk to us about a deal, we're out, period.

Mrs Fawcett: And so far, has he ever talked with you? Will he meet with you?

Mr Cove: I met with him, actually, on the last night of rental payments, on the 1st. I talked to him about this 68% and asked him, "Look, if we pay this, is there a chance this park will stay open?" He said, "Yes, but expect another increase next year." We were actually going to go to the Ministry of Housing. We've been doing anything to keep this park open. We have no choice in this. This landlord wants more money, and the rent review board says no. Who's the one who gets hurt? We're the ones who are going to be taking the brunt of the system.

It's all through all his paperwork: unfair Landlord and Tenant Act, unfair rent control. They're there, but how do you enforce them? You enforce them by having the park close and us tenants be out. I'm not blaming anybody for it, but that's the harsh reality.

Mrs Fawcett: My colleague wishes to ask you a question as well. I've got a million more I'd like you to put on the record.

Mr Daigeler: I took a quick look at the documentation you left with us. On the last page, either the agent or your landlord himself says that any prospective purchasers must be made aware of the fact that the licence to operate this park expired on 31 December 1990, and that this licence has not been renewed and is not likely to be renewed from Murray township. In view of what is being said here, I'm not clear how Bill 21 would even help you, retroactive or not.

Mr Cove: That statement was false. The licence was current; his licence was paid up. As soon as we got this, we contacted Murray township and they said, "Oh, yes, they've got a full licence." That's only once a year. He can't just cancel his licence.

Mr Daigeler: I see. So Murray township continues to be interested in having the park there.

Mr Cove: Absolutely. They said they'd do anything they could to help us, but all they can do is sign the licence and send it out.

Mr Daigeler: This is contrary to what is said in here.

Mr Cove: Yes. We couldn't find a truck big enough to bring the paperwork. It's full of it, the whole case is full of it, right from the top to the bottom.

Mr Daigeler: There is a serious problem. I remember in my own city, about six years ago there was a park the owner wanted to sell, and of course the tenants didn't want to leave. You may be in a similar situation. I'm not prepared, just on the face of it, to say either side is right. I think there has to be a possibility for the owner of the park to sell. Now, I understand the consequences for you. It was quite controversial in my city. In the end, with the agreement of the municipality, the park was sold and of course they had to move.

The Chair: Your time has now expired, Mr Daigeler.

Thank you for coming to see us. We appreciate it.


Mr Joseph Joy: Good afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity of coming here this afternoon. First, I have to apologize to you: I'm johnny-come-lately. I only learned about this hearing about two weeks ago. Nobody in our park was aware of it. I was then told to get in touch with Mr Wessenger's office, which I did. We got a response from Mr Wessenger and we're very pleased.

Unfortunately, gentlemen, on Friday I got your letter from your office; my wife had to rush to the hospital into intensive care. She's there now. She's critically ill. I haven't had a chance to study this bill whatsoever, so I have to speak in generalities.

I don't think you people on this committee are ignorant of the fact we come from Pinetree Village. Pinetree Village is unique in many ways. We have many problems. Let me start.

In the early days when rent controls came into being by the government of the day, I don't think mobile homes were even considered in that sense. I think they were thinking of apartment buildings etc. Mobile homes weren't even thought of because, first, they didn't contribute too much to any municipality as far as taxes go, so there wasn't too much thought given to these mobile homes.

Anyway, people bought them -- I'm speaking of the seniors and people of low income -- for economical reasons. It was very reasonable at that time. It was $100 for your licence fee for the year and your rent was $100. However, that soon changed. As you're aware, the first thing that hit us was market value assessment in Niagara Falls, 1982. My taxes went up immediately nearly 600%, as did everybody else's.

The landlord, in his wisdom, decided to buy a business elsewhere, so he brought in management. Not losing sight of the fact that there were only 45 units in our park at that time -- 45 units, gentlemen and ladies; keep this in mind -- he applied to the regional rent control board for an increase of 25% in order to accommodate himself and his family. This was granted. The following year he applied for another 20% and it was granted. The people in the park were now very frustrated between market value assessment putting their taxes way up and these huge increases.

The people in the park became very angry. The roads were in terrible condition. People were breaking their springs etc, so they were getting very angry. He decided then he was going to do something about his roads because people were talking about suing him. He had a representative come from the rent control board to speak to us. This gentleman came along and said: "I want you to listen very carefully. Your roads are going to be seen to. They're going to be asphalted. However, the landlord has to borrow $60,000, and of course this will be offset by an increase in your rent."

I immediately objected. I said, "Look, if this gentleman asphalts his roads, he is the big benefactor, because if he sells it the next week the value of his property has gone way up." That was number one. Anyway, this gentleman wouldn't listen to this at all. He went ahead and gave him another 17% that we would have to pay off this loan. Remember, he said, "You pay off the loan." When you think about it, that's about 64% of increases in three years.

We went over, Mr Corbiere, myself and a couple of others, to the rent control office, and I brought this to the attention of the person there. I said: "This loan has been paid for over and over and over. Where does it stop?" The lady looked at me and she said, "Ha, that has now become an increase in rent." How do we win? We have no recourse. We're getting caught left, right and centre.

We hear about the landlords doing repairs. I don't think our landlord knows what the word "repair" means. Right now there's a big debate going on with the city and the rent control board and him, because he won't repair people's pads. The pads have cracked. You can see we have a problem. You can go on and on with these types of problems, as far as I'm concerned.


He had these 45 units in the park, and he got this 17%. After it was granted, I would say within a period of three months he installed another 12, and then he gradually put in more. I'm not losing sight of the fact that once he's put these in he's getting further increases to pay off this loan. At no time has he ever said to us, "The loan's paid off; this is what's owed," nothing. I have spoken to him about it. He just ignores me and walks away. You just can't win.

When I look at these guidelines for the rent control board, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Housing and said I don't think this gentleman qualifies for increases yearly. How can he? When I read the guideline it continues to speak of buildings, that he's responsible for the heating, repairs, maintenance etc etc. Let me tell you, and I'm sure you're aware of it, we're each and every one a separate unit. We all are responsible for all our own repairs, our heat, you name it. We are responsible. He doesn't do a darned thing. As far as repairs go, we haven't seen a thing done to our park since 1985 when the roads were repaired.

In terms of recreation in a park such as that, there's nothing. As I say, many people bought these and they were prepared for the inconveniences. But when these increases were installed against them it became a different kettle of fish. They were getting very angry. Right now you can hardly give your home away in our park. Now, our park may be unique --

Mr Mills: It isn't.

Mr Joy: Well, in this regard it may be.

Mr Milton Corbiere: It is to us.

Mr Joy: It is. We have right now, at this particular moment, water sitting outside our road which the city put in. The escarpment people and this gentleman had a big fight. I won't go into details, but I sat at the meeting and I was astounded to hear some of the things said by the escarpment people. I'll make it brief. The fellow from the escarpment said he was aware that all this work was going on, as was the hydro, as was the city. Nothing was done about it. I said, "Why wasn't there a stop order put on this man?" He said, "We wait till they've finished completing the job, then we step in."

Did you ever hear anything so ridiculous in all your life? He watches this guy bringing in these homes, setting them up. These people have put their money into it and now they're in limbo. They were threatened last year that their homes would be torn down. Just visualize these people. Some of them have got $70,000, their life savings in there. This man, I say a culprit, was fully aware of what he was doing, yet he gets away with it. These people are subjected to this kind of pressure.

I just don't know where these increases are going to end. The thing that bothers me is how this rent control board has got so much power. They're appointed people; they're not elected people. When you go into their offices they just say: "That's an increase. That's okay." Well, it's not okay. I don't know whether our MPP can do anything about it. I don't think she can, somehow. But why should these people be in a position where they can say to you, "We're going to put a 17% increase on your land"? There should be some form of recourse.

I'm very sorry that I hadn't time to check this bill. I'm sure it's to our advantage -- I hope -- but I will give it a lot of reading when I go home. My wife's in the position to come out of the hospital soon. I want to thank you very much. Mr Corbiere has something to add.

Mr Corbiere: We're very concerned about what was going on in the park. There are a lot of things that should be done that are not being done. I wish you people would get to the bottom of it, one way or the other.

Mr Joy: I'm sorry we couldn't make a better presentation, but due to the emergency --

The Chair: The presentation was excellent.

Mr Joy: This lady here asked the gentleman who was here about what the answer was to these increases. I would suggest very strongly that I feel this gentleman shouldn't be getting these yearly increases. A rate should be set for this gentleman, and then every five years or three years he can apply for an increase. I don't think there's justification for him to be getting a 5% or 4% increase yearly. A lot of people think it's a $4 or $5 increase, but we're talking percentage, and it soon mounts up. Where is it going to end? It'll get to the point where we won't be able to pay our rent. Every year we get increases, increases, and most of the people right now are hardly in a position to meet these demands. I'm sorry the lady is gone, but I would suggest a set rate.

Mr Mammoliti: Just a clarification: You spoke about rent control in 1985, roads being built under rent control. The landlord was able to increase rents to pave roads?

Mr Joy: The road was already there. Don't misunderstand me. The road was already there, but it was just a rough road.

Mr Mammoliti: But they got approval from the ministry to increase rents to do that work. Let me clarify for you: In 1985 there was a bill called rent review, if I'm not mistaken, a Liberal piece of legislation --

The Chair: No, it wasn't.

Mr Joy: Watch it, watch it.

Mr Mammoliti: It was Conservative rent control?

Mr Joy: Conservative.

Mr Mammoliti: Okay. With that particular piece of legislation, that's how the rent increases were determined at that time. Now there's another rent control package in place but almost totally different from the package you're accustomed to in 1985. This is a clarification to the author of the bill. Paul, would this Bill 21 incorporate the Rent Control Act, or is that already in place?

Mr Wessenger: It's already in place. This bill does not in any way relate to rent control.

Mr Mammoliti: All right. In view of that -- and I'm sorry for taking so long, but I'm a little confused -- your landlord can apply for a rent increase, but can only apply for a certain amount of money over an amortized amount of time for a loan, such as the one that took place in 1985, to be paid back. Once that's paid back, the rent has to go down to where it was before the rent increase was approved.

Mr Corbiere: Which it never has.

Mr Mammoliti: That's the difference with the piece of legislation now that we've brought in in rent control.

Mr Joy: When we were presented with this increase, the gentleman from the rent control board indicated it was a loan. When you tell me it's a loan, I expect I'm paying that loan; that is my loan -- that's how it was presented to us -- and after three to four years that loan is surely paid off. There's been nothing said about bringing the rent back down. The lady at the rent control said to me: "Oh, no. That now became an increase in rent." In other words, this man had about a 23% increase that year. You see my point?

Mr Mammoliti: Yes, I see your point. I just think that with the rent control system that's in place now, it would protect you in the future --

Mr Joy: Are you speaking of Mr Wessenger's bill?

Mr Mammoliti: I'm speaking in reference to the Rent Control Act that's in place now. It would protect you from future increases such as the ones you've experienced, in that your rent would end up going back down after the loan was paid off. That's the difference.

Mr Joy: Unfortunately, that's not the situation with us at all. It's already been established.

Mr Mammoliti: I recognize that, but I just wanted to clarify that.

Mr Joy: He's been kicking the people right, left and centre. We are subjected to huge increases. I would just like to ask this committee, in all seriousness, how are we going to get around this, to stop these increases? The people who own apartment buildings are responsible for everything, they are, but this fellow's not. He is not responsible for anything. As a matter of fact, just three weeks ago, there's a gentleman in Florida whose line busted. I had to get underneath and fix it. The landlord wouldn't fix it. It's not his problem.

Mr Mammoliti: The other point you should remember is that if the landlord wants to increase rent now and the landlord's not doing any work at all at this point, you could actually, with the new rent control system, apply for a rent reduction. That's something you should know.

Mr Joy: I'd better check that out.

Mr Corbiere: The only thing he does is snow removal, with a tractor with a blade on the back of it. It's only three roads for him to plow or whatever he does. It depends, of course, on how much snow you get.

Mr Joy: Let me just finish by saying that within eight years my rent has gone up 123%. Some people may not be able to afford that. Fortunately, I've got my wife, who's working, helping me a lot. That's all I have to say, gentlemen. Thank you very kindly.

The Vice-Chair: We're not quite finished. We changed Chairs because the Chairman wants to ask a question. You may have been wondering why all of a sudden the Chairman looked so much better.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Thank you, Mr Chair. I just wanted to be a little helpful to you in terms of the rent control legislation Mr Mammoliti was trying to be helpful with. It did change just a couple of years ago, and I was involved as the Chair of the committee. Mr Mammoliti forgot to point out that the amendment that now, once the road is paid for, it will be removed from the rent, was placed by my colleague Dianne Poole, the member for Eglinton --

Mr Mammoliti: She stole my amendment.

Mr Brown: -- and was actually passed by the committee, one of the times the Liberal opposition is somewhat helpful.

Mr Joy: You said two years ago this change came into being?

Mr Brown: Yes.

Mr Joy: We were there less than a year ago at the rent control office and the lady just said, "Oh, no, that 17% stands."

Mr Brown: It doesn't affect retroactively what happened about your road, but if he was to do that again, it would be in place. Unfortunately, under the new Rent Control Act, it's not likely that you would ever get the road fixed. But that's another question.

Mr Mammoliti: That's not true; that's crap.

The Vice-Chair: Order, please.

Mr Corbiere: In light of what's going on here, how do you stop this so-called landlord from yearly increases in rent, which we are getting nothing for? We don't get anything.

Mr Brown: As you would know, sir, under the NDP Rent Control Act, Bill 121, you are seeing the largest real rent increases in the history of rent control in Ontario --

Mr Joy: The election's not till next year, you know.

Mr Brown: -- which I find is quite interesting.

Mr Mammoliti: That's absolutely false.

Mr Brown: There is some remedy under the act, that if there is an order by a municipality against the landlord and it's not enforced, you can go to rent control, and any increase he asked for will be disallowed, if that's helpful.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much again for coming. We do hope your wife will be better soon.

Mr Joy: Thank you very kindly. As a last comment, I think the Chairman should keep his remarks for next year, because that's your election year, not this year.

The Vice-Chair: We'll see the committee tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock.

The committee adjourned at 1704.


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G-36G-1044 1 20 out of 14,000 basement apartments there have been only