Here's some of the most commonly asked questions we get. Click on the question to reveal the answer.
Many tenants pay by cheque, and a cancelled cheque is considered your receipt. If you do not get your cheques back from the bank each month, you may request an annual rent receipt for income tax purposes by telephoning the Kiwanis office and requesting one from the receptionist. These receipts are prepared in February each year (and will not be completed before the end of the current calendar year). You may also obtain an annual receipt for cash and money order payments.
All applications for subsidized units are handled by ATH (Access to Housing), located at 110-350 King Street East. Applicants must fill in the application and provide any documents requested by ATH. If information changes after the application is completed, applicants must call Access To Housing at (905) 546-2424 Ext. 3708 to update their application. We do not rent our own subsidized units. Whenever there is a vacancy, Access to Housing is notified and that vacancy is filled from the ATH chronological wait list.
Often people do things that they don't see as harmful or upsetting, but when told that their act is bothersome, immediately cease the practice.
Try talking to your neighbour first - they may not realize they are upsetting you. If this fails to solve the problem, talk to your superintendent (if you have one) or your Property Manager. You may be asked to put your complaint in writing detailing the problem (ie. loud music, unruly children, etc.) so that the Property Manager can take the appropriate action to solve the problem.
Tenants are welcome to personalize their units with paint or wallpaper. Your written request should be sent to your Property Manager prior to decorating, who will respond in writing with our painting and wallpaper policy. This policy details that the unit must be returned to the move-in condition upon vacating (ie. removing wallpaper, repainting dark colours, etc.) or costs may be incurred on your account.
Paint, painting supplies and labour are the responsibility of the tenant.
If you reside in a townhouse or apartment complex, any maintenance inquiries should be directed to your superintendent, who will either fix the problem or arrange for a contractor to fix the problem.
If you reside in a single-family dwelling, duplex or a building with no superintendent, you should contact your Property Manager for repairs.
Repairs of a non-emergency nature should be put in writing.
Emergency maintenance calls should be directed to your superintendent (if you have one) first. If the superintendent is not available or you do not have a superintendent, please contact your Property Manager. If your Property Manager is not in the office, you can call him/her on their emergency cell phone. They will arrange for a contractor to come for the emergency repair.
Some of our superintendents are part-time employees. For repairs, please put your request in writing and deliver it to the superintendent's unit. Your repairs will be scheduled at a time convenient for you. If you phone your superintendent, leave a message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. If you require emergency assistance, please contact your superintendent first. If he/she is not available, contact your Property Manager.
Each Property Manager serves well over 300 units, which often requires they be out of the office for extended periods, attend meetings, complete paperwork and meet with tenants in the office. If you have telephoned and left a message, please wait for your Property Manager to call back, usually within one business day. If you have an emergency (ie. fire, flood, no heat, fridge not working, etc.) during the day and your Property Manager is not in the office, or your emergency is on a weekday (not holiday) evening, call his/her cell phone for immediate service.
Our office has contracted with an answering service to take weekend and statutory holiday calls. If it is not an emergency, you have the option of just leaving a message, which will be retrieved by Kiwanis staff the next working day. If you have an emergency, our emergency service will call a contractor for you, or alternatively page the on-call staff person.
Please do not call your Property Manager's cell phone on the weekend or on a statutory holiday. Call the Kiwanis office at (905) 545-4654 and your call will be responded to in a manner appropriate to the situation.
During vacation periods, another Property Manager will retrieve voice mail messages that you leave for your Property Manager, respond to you if required, and arrange maintenance work for your unit if needed.
If you are required to leave your unit for a period of time (ie. a month or more), please notify your Property Manager. There is no rent adjustment for the period you are not living in your unit, and your rent will still need to be paid each month. You can either leave a series of post-dated cheques to be cashed on the first of every month, or you can have a friend or relative pay your rent on your behalf. The utilities must remain on in your unit, especially in the winter months (to prevent freezing pipes). It is your responsibility to arrange for someone to check on your unit periodically (ie. water plants and get your mail).
When you sign a lease agreement and accept tenancy with Kiwanis Homes, you agree to abide by the Residential Tenancies Act and the Housing Services Act, 2011 (as does Kiwanis). If you get letters and forms in the mail that you don't understand, it is your responsibility to get an interpreter to help you understand the paperwork. By ignoring forms that you get, you may not provide information to Kiwanis that is needed to continue rental subsidy, which could lead to market rent charges being implemented on your account or court action being commenced against you. There are many agencies in Hamilton where you can obtain the services of translators and interpreters.
Bed bugs are small oval shaped insects. They do not fly; they crawl and attach themselves to surfaces such as clothing, furniture and luggage. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale and can affect anyone at any time.
Bed bugs are most active at night and are usually found where people sleep. They can also be found in any public space, such as businesses, offices and areas where people gather.
Bed bugs are not known to transmit infectious disease to humans. If bitten, some people may have an allergic reaction that presents as itchy welts. The mental health impacts to people living with bed bugs can include anxiety and insomnia.For more information, please visit the City of Hamilton Bed Bug Resource Guide
Any increases or decreases in your household monthly income must be reported in writing to your Property Manager within 30 days. Acceptable forms of income verification include, but are not limited to:
Once your income is reviewed, you will be notified as soon as possible in writing of any adjustment to your rental charge. Rental decreases are effective immediately. Rental increases require a notice period of up to 60 days.
Often, retroactive calculations are required, and if the calculation specifies a rent increase (after the appropriate notice period) your account may show a balance
owing and be in arrears. You are required to pay this balance owing, either immediately or by monthly installments in accordance with a signed arrears repayment agreement made with your Property Manager.
Rental charges are calculated differently depending on the source of the income. So even if a household's total income remains about the same after change, it may necessitate a change in the rental charge. Kiwanis must be notified of ALL changes in income. You will be advised in writing whether or not there is a change in your rent based on your new income.
If you have a credit on your account as a result of an account adjustment or rent over-payment, simply subtract the credit from next months rent charge and pay the difference. If the credit is large and covers several months and you are unsure when to pay again and how much, contact your Property Manager.
Our files are audited by both the City of Hamilton and Housing and by an independent auditor. In order to continue to receive rent-geared-to-income subsidy, tenants are required to provide current verification of income. In addition, tenants are required to complete a Household Income and Assets Review form to ensure they still qualify for their rental unit and to provide up-to-date information for our files. Although market tenants are not required to declare income, we still request completion of the forms (without declaring income) to ensure our information is correct so we can serve you to the best of our ability.
Market rent tenants may not qualify for rental subsidy. If a family is originally rent-geared-to-income and through an income change increases to the market rent charge, there is a one year "probation" period from the commencement of the income change during which the family may return to a rent-geared-to-income status. Once this period ends, however, the family is considered to be a market rent family and if an income decrease is experienced, the City of Hamilton must approve reinstatement of rental subsidy for most families.
Our tenants frequently experience changes in their tenancy for different reasons. If the change is temporary, you simply need to let your Property Manager know the circumstances. If the change is permanent, several options are available.
If you require a unit with more or less bedrooms, Kiwanis will attempt to relocate you to a more suitable unit on receipt of your transfer request. Persons requesting a transfer are also encouraged to complete an application for alternate housing with Access to Housing.
Rent-geared-to-income tenants who are overhoused (ie. do not fill all the bedrooms in the unit) who are not transferred to a suitably-sized unit within one year must be active on the Access To Housing wait list in order to continue to receive subsidy in their current unit. Failure to maintain an active application will result in the removal of rent-geared-to-income assistance and the implementation of market rent charges.
A Form N4 Notice of Early Termination for Non-Payment of Rent is a form served under the Residential Tenancies Act. When you signed your lease, you agreed to pay your rent on the first working day of each and every month. If you didn't pay your rent on the first, you will likely be served this notice, which gives you a specified date on which payment must be received or court action will commence, and further fees (court application $170.00, sheriff $300.00+ as of 2012) will be applied to your account.
If you pay your rent within that time frame, disregard the notice. However, if you are repeatedly served with this notice throughout the year (even if you pay before the due date) you may not be allowed to renew your tenancy when your term expires.
If you do not pay your rent within that time frame noted on the form, your Property Manager will apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to commence the eviction process.
Our organization has a mortgage on the unit in which you reside. The bank withdraws our mortgage payment on the first of the month, which is why we need tenants to make their rental payments on the first of the month!
We need 60 days notice in writing to terminate your tenancy. All persons who signed the lease agreement need to sign the notice to vacate. Families are responsible for rent and utilities up to and including the day that they move. Before you vacate, check with your Property Manager to ensure your account is paid in full and your unit is restored to the move-in condition to avoid move-out charges. It is expected that you remove all belongings from your unit, including garbage, and return the unit to its move-in condition (normal wear and tear excepted) - this means priming over dark colours and removing wallpaper. The keys should be returned to your superintendent or Property Manager.