Rent control might actually happen in Ontario, and it might be soon.
A new law is being proposed by the NDP that would provide rent-hike protection for all renters.
The private member’s bill, the Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, is being tabled Monday by the NDP’s Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth.
Currently, buildings built after 1991 are allowed to have rental hikes as much as a landlord wants. At this time, landlords can raise the rent by whatever amount they wish – resulting in rent increases of 20 per cent, 50 per cent or even doubling a tenant’s monthly rent, according to the NDP.
The new bill would be closing that loophole and extend to newer buildings, according to Tabuns, who spoke on the issue at Queen’s Park on Thursday morning.
“Our bill closes the loophole. It extends rent hike protection to all Ontarians eliminating the 1991 loophole. It gives everyone the basic guarantee that rent increases will have to follow the annual guideline, which this year is about 1.5%,” he said.
Tabuns said the bill would be the first step for Ontario, and that much more can be done for renters.
“It’s time to do something about it. It’s time to extend protection against unreasonable increases to everyone,” he said in a press release.
A recent report showed that Toronto ranks as one of the top cities in Canada for rental costs, with a one-bedroom averaging $1700 per month.
The rental market in the province has been called a “crisis” by The Federation of Metro Tenants (FMT).
“Through our tenants hotline, we speak with people in crisis every day,” said Diane Dyson, a Member of the Board of FMT. “The fact is, many Ontario households are really at a tipping point. We’re hearing about rent increases of hundreds of dollars or even $1,000 a month. We’re hearing more and more of working people being forced to couch surf. We’re seeing people being forced to give up their home.”
And the Minister of Housing agrees.
“It’s unacceptable that so many Ontarians are faced with housing costs that are rising dramatically,” said Minister Chris Ballard. “My staff are already developing a plan to address unfair rises in rental costs by delivering substantive rent control reform in Ontario.”
Ballard added that the plan is part of an ongoing review of the Residential Tenancies Act, which began nearly a year ago.
More details will be available soon, according to Ballard.
“We’re serious about reducing pressure of housing costs felt by Ontarians & providing more affordable options for people to choose from,” he said.