Landlord Credit Bureau in potential CRA violation by not informing tenants of their rights

According to the Consumer Reporting Act Section 12.5 the Landlord Credit Bureau is required to publish consumer information about the security alert and security freeze processes on their website. Specifically the Act calls for descriptions of the processes and instructions for consumers on how they can request them.

However when we conducted a site wide search for the term “security freeze” using Google there was nothing to be found as of the publication of this post. Browsing their legal page and other resource pages on the site we could find no mention of alerts or freezes.

It’s certainly possible we are just not finding the page they are legally required to provide so if anyone can find this information we’d appreciate a link and will update the story with that link.

It is also possible this information is located somewhere inside the LCB site which users would have to sign in to their service to see. That said, tenants should not have to first create an account and accept terms of service before being able to access information about their legal rights involving that service.

If the LCB would like to we’d be happy if they linked tenants to our instructions for enacting a security freeze.

Landlord Credit Bureau has served us with a lawsuit

They claim we are violating their copyright by publishing screenshots of their website and even mentioning their name. They also claim that the information we post to share with our neighbours to help them understand their rights when dealing with the Landlord Credit Bureau constitute defamation of their business and it appears Mr. Killam in particular.

We live in a country that enshrines legal protections for free expression. We do not believe anything we have published to date about the LCB or Mr. Killam is defamatory, we believe it is all true and have sufficient supporting evidence to demonstrate this. In fact, there are many instances where our reporting actually clears up misconceptions about their business. If anyone at LCB took issue with anything we have been saying since the summer they have never been in contact with us despite always having a publicly available email address and being completely open to hearing from LCB or Mr. Killam (or anyone else associate with the business for the matter).

What the LCB and Mr. Killam opted to do instead is file a DMCA Takedown Notice against our website. The only way we could fight back is to identify ourselves to Mr. Killam and the LCB and risk this very lawsuit by asserting our right to free expression, criticism and commentary. Most people never respond to a DMCA for exactly this reason and let the powerful silence them. We chose not to let multimillionaire corporate landlords and their credit bureau schemes stop us from offering help to neighbours who feel genuinely intimidated and confused by what the LCB and LiveWell Properties does to them.

We said we were prepared to defend our right to publish vigorously in court and we meant it. In the days to come we will keep you posted on developments and will be posting the entire contents of the claim they filed as soon as we are able to.

To our neighbours and friends, we thank you and wish you all the best. This is not the end. This is only the beginning. We are here for you.

Marv Steier Out at LCB?

According to a change act filed to the Landlord Credit Bureau articles of incorporation on November 2nd, Marv Steier no longer holds any corporate offices with LCB. Every listed office is now held by Zach Killam.

We have updated our post detailing the who’s who of the company to reflect this change. As to what it represents it’s difficult to tell .

It doesn’t necessarily mean Mr. Steier is no longer employed in some capacity or receiving dividends of some kind, all we can conclude based on the limited information at hand is that he is no longer legally an officer of the corporation. Did he get bought out? Was there a rift? Or did he just want to finally get some peace and quiet after transitioning the business to new ownership?

As we learn more about the situation we will update this story but for now it appears that there has been no official statement from LCB on this corporate reshuffling. Neither does there appear to be anything from Mr. Steier.

If Mr. Steier or anyone from LCB would like to clarify on this matter they are welcome to contact us at: info@landlordcreditbureaufacts.com

It’s our goal to provide accurate information and we welcome clarification or correction from LCB or Mr. Steier.

We did happen to notice a little something on his LinkedIn account that seems to be a recent change. On his listed work experience it still has him employed by LCB at “present” but just underneath you can see a status of “Happily Retired”.

Could it be that this man of many careers has finally found some time to rest? If so, congratulations on your retirement Mr. Steier. We wish you all the best.

Getting Started

Welcome

You probably have questions about LCB


Just found us? Want to get the full story on what the Landlord Credit Bureau is and what your rights as a tenant are? Here is an index to our introductory guides (all links open in a new tab).


Key Stories

Essential reporting


Media Coverage

Getting the word out

A Good Kick in the Ass for the Not-So-Good Tenants”

  • Danielle Paradis reporting for Canadaland

CANADALAND#365 An App For Landlords To Blacklist Tenants

  • Jesse Brown broadcasting for Canadaland

 ‘Consent Is Not Required’: List Of ‘Positive And Negative’ Tenant Behaviour Raises Privacy, Discrimination Concerns

  • Jack Hauen reporting for Queens Park Briefing

‘Free benefit’ or blacklisted? Hamilton tenants and landlords clash over private information

  • Sebastian Bron reporting for The Hamilton Spectator

LCB has responded to the Spectator article. You can read about it here:


Latest Posts

The newest posts from LCB Facts


Results

What we’ve accomplished so far

  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner investigation into Landlord Credit Bureau (findings pending)
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner investigation into LiveWell Property Management (findings pending)
  • Ministry of Government and Community Services investigation into Landlord Credit Bureau for Consumer Reporting Act violations (findings pending)
  • Exposed the secret field in the LCB Tenant Record viewable only by landlords and forced LCB to change its policy
  • After our reporting LCB stopped claiming EI3PA data security certification
  • Engagement from NDP MPP Jessica Bell, Opposition Housing Critic
  • Engagement from NDP MPP Andrea Horvath, Leader of the Opposition (MPP for our riding)
  • Engagement from NDP MP Matthew Green (MP for our riding)
  • Engagement from Hamilton Ward 2 Councillor Maureen Wilson
  • Engagement from Hamilton Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann

#Label

Spectator editorial: Hamilton councillor’s encampment decision will only make life more difficult for the homeless residents and advocates working on their behalf. That is not progress.
http://torstar.co/sCeI50FRhae

Announcement: We have updated several guidance documents to reaffirm some of the types of personal information generally considered sensitive in the context of the PIPEDA. https://priv.gc.ca/en/opc-news/news-and-announcements/2021/an_210813/

I wrote about our building being up for sale and how our displacement is being promoted as “upside potential” to buyers.

https://www.blog.landlordcreditbureaufacts.com/my-building-is-for-sale-and-displacement-is-upside-potential/

Load More…

Have more questions? Feedback? Email us at: info@landlordcreditbureaufacts.com

Who is the Landlord Credit Bureau?

According to corporate filings, 2642985 ONTARIO INC has two officers, Zachary Killam and Marvin Steier.

UPDATE: Marv Steier is no longer listed on their corporate profile and was removed from all offices according to a change act filed on November 2nd 2020. Mr. Steier’s current relationship to the Landlord Credit Bureau is unknown but we are investigating.

Zac Killam CEO of Landlord Credit Bureau

From the LinkedIn bio for Zach Killam:

After acquiring a substantial array of experience as a corporate lawyer, coupled with a passion for strategy and entrepreneurship, Zac shifted his focus to business development and leading ideas across the elusive canyon to reality.

Top Forty Under 40 winner, Zac has built several businesses including Canada’s largest taxi advertising network and the 2nd largest of its kind in the world, a rapidly growing multi-family real estate business, and a PropTech company.

Zac’s experience includes:
building a national and international foundation of telecommunication, regulatory, video content, technology and advertising relationships, while simultaneously attracting top tier talent and funding;
– raising significant expansion capital from angel investors and private equity partners;
– negotiating international partnership and licensing rights with companies based in China and Australia;
– securing ground breaking regulatory approvals with governments;
– building large networks of industry and stakeholder partnerships across Canada, the US and abroad;
– product design and creation;
– systems design and implementation;
– and driving growth across all verticals.


Zac has been in featured in the Globe & Mail, Financial Post, Financial Post Magazine, Financial Post Executive Podcast, Marketing Magazine, Business in Vancouver, News 1010 Radio, News 1130 Radio, Media in Canada, Global TV, Toronto Sun, Tech Vibes, Breakfast Television, Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. 

Currently, according to corporate filings, Zachary is the President, Secretary and treasurer of Landlord Credit Bureau as well as a Director of Live Well Property Management.

This means that Zach Killam is running a property management business where he acts as a residential landlord while at the same time running a supposedly impartial third party credit bureau. The conflict of interest situation here is very striking – if you are a tenant of Mr. Killam in one of his Live Well properties you are automatically getting signed up for the Landlord Credit Bureau and Killam would have a hand in arbitrating any disputes a tenant might raise against Live Well Properties reporting to the bureau. This would be like if Equifax also owned a bank that lent money. The people tasked with managing your credit should never be your creditors.

Marv Steier is a former RCMP officer turned landlord in his retirement.

UPDATE: Marv Steier is no longer listed on the LCB corporate profile and was removed from all offices according to a change act filed on November 2nd 2020. We are maintaining this section for historical purposes only. Mr. Steier’s current relationship to the Landlord Credit Bureau is unknown but we are investigating.

From his LinkedIn profile:

Marv is a retired a Police Officer (RCMP) from 1970-1990 10 of those yrs were as a Fraud & Serious Crimes Investigator.

In 1990 Marv joined the Insurance Corporation of BC ( S.I.U.) Investigating insurance fraud.

It was in 2000 that Marv decided it was time to become an Entrepreneur which he had always wanted to do, but hesitant in giving up a guaranteed pay check.

TVS Tenant Verification Service www.tenantverification.com was started in 2000 with the assistance of his wife Phyllis. She ran the office in 2001 while Marv went back to work with Royal Bank of Canada-Corporate Security Div. doing Fraud Investigations across Western Canada. Steady pay cheque!

After 1 1/2 yrs TVS began to do well with the addition of a USA market, Marv quit his RBC job and has been employed full time as CEO/President of TVS ever since.

As the saying goes you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good! There is a lot of truth to that and…as an old Serious Crimes Boss use to say, “make your own breaks boys.” That is also very true.

In 2016 TVS was acquired by a U.S. company.

www.landlordcreditbureau.ca (canada) and .com (USA) is the latest venture that benefits landlords and tenants. The LandlordCreditBureau is the first 3rd party company in Canada to report rent payments to a Credit Bureau, Equifax.

In 2018 Marv partnered with Zac Killam, an extraordinary young Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, and now the CEO of LCB Services Ltd. aka www.landlordcreditbureau.ca (CDN) and www.landlordcreditbureau.com (USA) . Zac has and is making great strides in taking LCB to the next level. You should be hearing much more about US in 2020.

Marv enjoys spending time with family and friends and staying fit.

Security Freeze – Your Best Tool Against the Landlord Credit Bureau

Currently the best possible way to secure your personal information from being used by the Landlord Credit Bureau and their customers is by using the Security Freeze provisions of the Consumer Reporting Act. This prevents the Landlord Credit Bureau from updating your file or sharing it with any other party. It effectively cripples the usefulness of your data to them.

From Section 12.4 of the Ontario Consumer Reporting Act

Security freeze

12.4 (1) A prescribed consumer reporting agency shall place a security freeze on the file of a consumer on or before the prescribed deadline if,

(a) the consumer has, in accordance with this section and any prescribed requirements, required the agency to place a security freeze on the file; and

(b) the consumer has complied with subsection (9) and any prescribed requirements. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Effect of security freeze

(2) During the period that a security freeze on a consumer’s file is in effect, the consumer reporting agency shall not disclose any credit or personal information about the consumer maintained by the agency, including any consumer scores, to any person. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Suspending a security freeze

(3) The consumer reporting agency shall suspend a security freeze on or before the prescribed deadline if,

(a) the consumer whose file is subject to the security freeze requires the suspension in accordance with this section and any prescribed requirements; and

(b) the consumer has complied with subsection (9) and any prescribed requirements, including any requirements respecting the duration of a suspension. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Same, duration

(4) If the consumer reporting agency is required to suspend a security freeze under subsection (3), the suspension shall be for the duration specified by the consumer. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Same, effect

(5) A security freeze that is suspended is not in effect. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Terminating a security freeze

(6) The consumer reporting agency shall terminate a security freeze on or before the prescribed deadline if,

(a) the consumer whose file is subject to the security freeze requires the termination in accordance with this section and any prescribed requirements; and

(b) the consumer has complied with subsection (9) and any prescribed requirements. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Expiry

(7) Unless terminated earlier, a security freeze expires at the end of the prescribed period, if any. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Disclosure despite a security freeze

(8) Despite subsection (2), the consumer reporting agency may, in accordance with any prescribed requirements, disclose to prescribed persons and entities such information as may be maintained by the agency about a consumer, if the information is prescribed. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Identification

(9) A consumer who requires a consumer reporting agency to place, suspend or terminate a security freeze shall provide the agency with a copy of any prescribed identification and a copy of any other identification the agency may reasonably require to verify the consumer’s identity. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Fees

(10) A consumer reporting agency shall not charge the consumer a fee for placing, suspending or terminating a security freeze unless the agency is permitted to do so by regulations. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

Information

(11) When a consumer requires that a security freeze be placed on his or her file, the consumer reporting agency shall provide the consumer with the information referred to in section 12.5 and the name and telephone number or email address of a person the consumer can contact for an explanation of the information. 2018, c. 7, s. 6.

What does it all mean?

In a nutshell, this means that if you request that the Landlord Credit Bureau place a security freeze on your account they can no longer disclose any information about you to any party until a time of your choosing or even indefinitely. The only exception is in the case of government investigation or if you select parties you permit LCB to report to.

The Landlord Credit Bureau may not charge you any fees to perform this security freeze.

All you need to do is present proper government issued photo ID when you make your request.

How do I request a security freeze from Landlord Credit Bureau?

Scan a copy of the photo identification you intend to use in order to make your request.


Send the following email with your scanned ID attached to: legal@landlordcreditbureau.com

EDIT: We are hearing that LCB is no longer responding to emails sent to the above address. Readers are reporting they are getting responses from support@landlordcreditbureau.com


To Whom It May Concern,

My name is (INSERT NAME HERE) and my photo ID is attached.

I formally request that the Landlord Credit Bureau apply a Security Freeze on my account in accordance with Section 12.4 of the Consumer Reporting Act. I request that this freeze have no set termination date.

Please advise when this action is completed.

Regards,

(YOUR NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION)

That’s it?

Yep. That’s pretty much it. Once this is done it is unlawful for Landlord Credit Bureau to share your data with anyone, protecting your personal information and circumventing the process the LCB uses to put you on their bad tenant list.

Make sure to keep copies of all of your correspondence for future reference.

Will this work even if I’ve accepted the Landlord Credit Bureau Terms of Service?

Yes. Regardless of whether you agreed to their terms or not or even if you used your LCB profile the Security Freeze can still be instated.

How can I find out what personal information the Landlord Credit Bureau has on file for me? Do I have a right to see it?

You absolutely have a right to see everything they have on file about you. The Consumer Reporting Act is very clear on this issue in Section 12 of the legislation.

From Section 12 (3):

(3) If a consumer makes a request under clause (1) (a), the consumer reporting agency shall, in accordance with this section, section 12.0.1 and any prescribed requirements, disclose to the consumer the following information:

  1. The nature and substance of all information in the consumer reporting agency’s files pertaining to the consumer at the time of the request.
  2. The sources of credit information.
  3. The name and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of every person on whose behalf the file has been accessed within the three-year period preceding the request.
  4. If the agency furnished a consumer report pertaining to the consumer within the one-year period preceding the request,

i. the names and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of the recipients of that report, and

ii. a copy of the consumer report if it was furnished in writing or the particulars of the content of the report if it was furnished orally.

  1. If the agency generated and furnished a consumer score, furnished a consumer score generated by another entity or furnished any other information evaluating the credit or personal information of the consumer within the one-year period preceding the request,

i. the names and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of the recipients of that score or information, and

ii. the score and the particulars of any other information evaluating the credit or personal information of the consumer.

  1. Any other information relating to the consumer score that may be prescribed. 2018, c. 7, s. 5.

The Landlord Credit Bureau is not allowed to place any conditions on this disclosure besides asking for proper identification to ensure they are disclosing to an authorized party. They also cannot charge you anything for this service.

How do I make the request?

You will need government issued photo ID to make this request.

Scan a copy of the photo identification you intend to use in order to make your request.


Send the following email with your scanned ID attached to: legal@landlordcreditbureau.com


To Whom it May Concern,

My name is (INSERT NAME HERE) and my photo identification is attached. I am making a formal request under Section 12.3 of the Consumer Reporting Act for disclosure of the following information:

  • The nature and substance of all information in the consumer reporting agency’s files pertaining to my account at the time of the request.
  • The sources of credit information.
  • The name and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of every person on whose behalf the file has been accessed within the three-year period preceding the request.
  • If the agency furnished a consumer report pertaining to my account within the one-year period preceding the request, the names and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of the recipients of that report, and a copy of the consumer report if it was furnished in writing or the particulars of the content of the report if it was furnished orally.
  • If the agency generated and furnished a consumer score, furnished a consumer score generated by another entity or furnished any other information evaluating my credit or personal information within the one-year period preceding the request, the names and contact information, including the address and the telephone number or email address, of the recipients of that score or information, and the score and the particulars of any other information evaluating the credit or personal information of the consumer.
  • Any other information relating to the consumer score that may be prescribed.


Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Regards,

(INSERT NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION HERE)

What if I don’t want the Landlord Credit Bureau to collect and share my personal information anymore? Can I get them to stop?

Yes you can.

Within the Consumer Reporting Act there is a legal mechanism all credit reporting agencies must comply with called a Security Freeze. This hold allows the consumer to freeze their file with a credit reporting agency for any reason, at any time and for any length. While subject to a Security Freeze your information cannot be disclosed to anyone with the exception of law enforcement in the course of an investigation. This will mean the LCB can no longer share any of your data with their customers.

For more information please see our complete guide to Security Freezes.

Can my Landlord sign me up for Landlord Credit Bureau without my consent?

Short answer: No.

Long answer:

This is a matter which LCB disputes. Landlord Credit Bureau claims landlords have the right to share your personal information with them without your prior consent. Federal privacy laws in Canada seem to disagree and those disagreements are supported by case literature.

From a 2016 finding from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in another case involving a bad tenant list and landlords sharing tenants personal information without express consent:

Principles 4.2, 4.3 and 4.3.2 of the Act deal with matters of consent — for consent to be meaningful, individuals must be provided with a reasonably understandable explanation of why their personal information is being collected, and how it is going to be used. We could not see how consent “to obtain such credit reports or other information as may be deemed necessary” would lead individuals to understand they were consenting to their personal information being collected, used and disclosed for the purposes of a “bad tenant” list.

The Privacy Commissioner in this case found that the collection of data was not appropriate but also made an important finding for understanding why we have the LCB as it currently exists. The Commissioner found that in attempting to create this “bad tenant list” the landlords association involved in the complaint were acting as a Credit Reporting Agency when not licensed to do so.

It is clear that the Landlord Credit Bureau is well aware of this finding and the reason why they have licensed themselves as a Credit Reporting Agency. By doing so they are attempting to circumvent one of the core findings of this report.

That said, even though the Landlord Credit Bureau is a licensed Credit Reporting Agency, meaningful consent from the tenant is still required before the landlord can share their personal information with the LCB. From the Privacy Commissioners Report:

Knowledge and consent

We also considered whether the Respondent has ensured the knowledge and consent of the individuals on the “bad tenant” list in order to collect, use or disclose their personal information, or whether an applicable exception to this obligation under the Act applies.
In this respect, we were of the preliminary view that the personal information of individuals appearing on the “bad tenant” list is being collected, used or disclosed without their knowledge and consent.
We noted that the Respondent was not directly collecting the personal information from those individuals appearing on the “bad tenant” list. Rather, it was the members of the landlord association who were collecting the personal information from tenants and subsequently disclosing it to the Respondent to populate the list.


Our investigation revealed that the Respondent’s own standard tenant application form and rental agreement form did not explain in a reasonably understandable manner, as required by Principle 4.2, that applicants’ personal information could be collected, used or disclosed for the purposes of inclusion on a “bad tenant” list. With regard to the other association members, the Respondent was not aware, and did not provide, any evidence as to whether the member landlords were: (i) explaining in their respective tenant application forms or rental agreements that a prospective tenant’s personal information could be used or disclosed for purposes of inclusion on the Respondent “bad tenant” list, or (ii) obtaining meaningful consent for such a use or disclosure.


Based on the evidence before us at the time, we were of the preliminary view that individuals appearing on the “bad tenant” list had not provided their meaningful consent for the collection, use or disclosure of their personal information with respect to inclusion on the “bad tenant” list, as required by Principles 4.3 and 4.3.2.


In our view, in order for the Respondent to rely on any valid consent that may have been obtained by any third-party landlord for tenants’ inclusion on the “bad tenant” list, the Respondent would have to: (i) establish contractual terms stipulating that the members of the landlord association must obtain appropriate consent from tenants; and (ii) establish a method by which to obtain proof that the tenants affected have in fact consented.


It’s clear from our reading of the Privacy Commissioners findings that explicit consent from the tenant is required for your landlord to share your information with the Landlord Credit Bureau. If you did not give this consent you have a right to tell your landlord you do not consent and to cease any and all reporting to the LCB. If your landlord does not comply you are entitled to file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Is Landlord Credit Bureau really a licensed credit bureau in compliance with Provincial and Federal Law?

LCB is licensed to operate in Ontario as a Credit Reporting Agency under the name 2642985 ONTARIO INC. As such it is governed by the Consumer Reporting Act. There is currently no finding of fact from the Registrar that Landlord Credit Bureau is not compliant with the Consumer Reporting Act but there have been issues with them not disclosing information as required under the act which are the subject of pending complaints.

UPDATE: We can now report that there are two government investigations into Landlord Credit Bureau. The Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Affairs are both looking into LCB and their practices. We are also aware of an investigation into LiveWell Property Management by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. As these are matters under investigation we are refraining from publishing details at this time.