Ontario Introduces Bill to Protect Tenants from Unfair Rent Increases
Legislation Includes Rent Control Reform, Eviction Protections to Keep Rentals Affordable
Ontario has introduced new legislation that would, if passed, help keep rental housing costs predictable and affordable while strengthening protections for tenants across Ontario.
The Rental Fairness Act, 2017, would address rising rental costs faced by people in Ontario by expanding rent control to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1, 1991. Expanding rent control is a key component of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan to help more people find an affordable place to call home.
The legislation also includes additional changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, 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.
Ontario is also strengthening its transitional housing system to support the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025. The proposed amendments would exempt transitional housing providers from the Residential Tenancies Act for up to four years, as long as participants are protected by written tenancy agreements. This would allow transitional housing providers to deliver their programs and services over a longer period of time, and help more people successfully transition to longer-term, stable housing.
Expanding rent control and strengthening protections for tenants is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- The Residential Tenancies Act currently exempts rental units in residential buildings first occupied on or after November 1, 1991 from the annual rent increase guideline.
- The proposed rent control amendments, if passed, would apply to notices of rent increase given on or after April 20, 2017.
- Most landlords need approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board to increase rents above the guideline (1.5 per cent for 2017).
- Approximately 20 per cent of private rental housing in Ontario (over 237,000 units) is affected by the current post-1991 exemption rule.
- There are approximately 1.2 million rental households in Ontario.
“We can’t stand by and watch as people in Ontario face dramatic rent increases and remain vulnerable to unfair practices. Our bold and comprehensive package of reforms will help make everyday life more predictable and affordable for people as they continue to put down roots in the communities they love.”