New legislation to protect tenants from unfair rent increases
Ontario passed legislation yesterday to help keep rental housing affordable and predictable by protecting tenants from unfair rent increases.
The Rental Fairness Act, 2017 expands rent control to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1st, 1991. Effective April 20th, 2017, landlords cannot raise rents more than the rent increase guideline, which is 1.5 per cent in 2017. Any rent increase notices above this amount given on or after April 20th must be reduced to 1.5 per cent.
“Today is a good day for tenants in this province. In the face of dramatic rent increases and unfair practices, our government is answering the call to bring fairness and predictability to Ontario’s rental housing system. With the changes under the Rental Fairness Act, Ontarians can rest assured that they will continue to have an affordable place to call home,” said Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The legislation also introduces additional protections for tenants, including:
- Enabling a standard lease to help both tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities, while reducing the number of disputes
- Protecting tenants from eviction due to abuse of the “landlord’s own use” provision
- Ensuring landlords can’t pursue former tenants for unauthorized charges
- Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases in buildings where elevator maintenance orders have not been addressed
- Removing above-guideline rent increases for utilities, to protect tenants from carbon costs and encourage landlords to make their buildings more energy efficient.
Landlords can continue to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for above-guideline rent increases where permitted, and can also determine rent levels for new tenants.
- Ontario is also strengthening its transitional housing system by exempting transitional housing providers – like those that provide mental health and addiction supports – from the Residential Tenancies Act for up to four years, as long as participants are protected by written tenancy agreements. This will help more people successfully transition to longer-term, stable housing.
- There are approximately 1.2 million private rental households in Ontario.