There are over one million renters in Ontario. For most of them, their rent has or is expected to increase. According to the Canadian Rental Housing Index, the average cost of rent has risen by 27 per cent since 2016. Whether you are a renter or landlord, you should know what efforts are in place to control these increases.
The law protects rental increases on many units due to rent control. Rent control provides more stability for tenants by restricting rent annual rent increases.
If landlords wish to increase rent in a rent-controlled unit, they can do so by a maximum of 2.5 percent per year. They must also give tenants at least 90 days’ notice.
However, not all properties are subject to this limit. Properties exempt from rent control include:
- Units that come on the rental market after Nov. 15, 2018
- Units where the tenant and landlord share a kitchen or bathroom
- Units in a housing co-op or income-based spaces
Under these circumstances, there is no limit to how much landlords can increase rent annually.
A new initiative in the province is the Ontario Rental Registry. It is a platform where renters or landlords can voluntarily submit information about their units, including price and additional charges. The registry allows for the collection of data to reveal a bigger picture about rent prices and costs of living.
Supporters of the registry also hope that collecting the information in a central location will make for a more transparent and affordable rental market.
The government recently passed new legislation aimed at protecting tenants. Among the measures are the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants plan. Elements of this plan include:
- Devoting more resources to the Landlord and Tenant Board to streamline dispute resolutions between landlords and tenants
- Permitting tenants to install and maintain their own air conditioner
- Strengthening protections for renters when landlords order them to vacate for renovations by allowing them to move back in at a similar rental rate
- Increasing the fines to landlords for residential tenancy offences
These measures can work together to make renting easier for tenants and clarify the responsibilities of landlords.