Interview with Tony Irwin, President of the Federation of Rental Housing Providers (FRPO)

“Tenants have to be at the center of every conversation,” said Tony Irwin, President & CEO of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO). “Our job is to advocate for a system that best allows the landlord to provide housing that works for tenants as well.” 

Irwin has been on the job for almost a year now, coming to FRPO from the Canadian Consumer Finance Association, and, before that, the Canadian Payday Loan Association. 

In other words, he’s no stranger to working in industries that are misunderstood. And landlords, by and large, are quite misunderstood. 

Irwin admits that, like any industry, there are a few bad apples. But in his experience, the vast majority of rental housing providers are truly committed to providing the best possible housing solutions to their tenants. 

Of course, tenants in major cities like Toronto are frustrated by a lack of housing, something exacerbated by the rising number of Airbnb’s. Irwin sees hope, however, in the recent commitment by the Ontario government to create new purpose-built rentals. 

In fact, a big part of Irwin’s job is educating the government on issues that rental housing providers face and working with them to achieve the best outcomes for FRPO’s members. In short, he lobbies the government on your behalf. 

It’s not a fast process, Irwin admits, and he has no doubt that it’s frustrating to many FRPO members. But the wheels of the government move slowly and ensuring they are well informed on key issues so they can make the right decisions takes time. Lots of it. 

In the meantime, Irwin reminds members that FRPO provides a host of great services and offerings to rental housing providers, including a free legal hotline. Understanding your rights as a landlord is critical, and besides, who wants to navigate RTA or LTB alone?  

Irwin points to how much the industry has evolved over the last decade, driven by technology and the evolving expectations of the next generation of renters. Social media has changed how landlords connect with their tenants, and younger tenants are demanding amenities like dog washing stations, courier rooms, etc.

“A changing world requires a strong body to represent your interests,” said Irwin.

More than anything, Tony Irwin hopes you know that the FRPO is working hard on your behalf.