Ontario is making several changes to protect tenants from landlords
The Ontario government is moving to support tenants in the province further by increasing the number of adjudicators and staff at Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to speed up decision timeframes and help tackle the astounding number of cases before the board.
The $6.5 million investment was announced on Wednesday, and aims to appoint an additional 40 adjudicators and hire five staff to improve service and continue to reduce active applications.
The provincial government is also working on “strengthening a broad range of tenant protections,” according to a media release.
The LTB resolves disputes between landlords and tenants and manages eviction applications filed by non-profit housing co-operatives under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.
The board has long been criticized for its often-delayed resolutions, with complainants reporting wait times as long as seven to eight months, and in some instances, even longer.
Ontario is finally making it easier for landlords and tenants to fight each other https://t.co/EGyqK3EpUo #Ontario #RealEstate
— blogTO (@blogTO) November 25, 2022
The recent investment more than doubles the number of full-time adjudicators at the LTB, meaning reducing case loads for existing staff, and potentially resolving disputes faster.
“Residents and rental housing providers deserve fast results, and government bureaucracy should not stand in the way,” said Attorney General Doug Downey.
Ontario is also taking several steps to make life easier for tenants, with proposed changes that could enhance tenants’ rights to install air conditioning in their units.
In addition, the provincial government is proposing to strengthen protections against evictions due to renovations, demolitions, and conversions, as well as those for the landlord’s own use.
Toronto landlord keeps writing letters to tenant begging them to pay owed rent https://t.co/yql2gbbA9f #Toronto
— blogTO (@blogTO) March 13, 2023
When evicting a tenant to renovate a unit, landlords would be required to provide a report from a qualified person stating that the unit must be vacant for renovations to take place, update the tenant on the status of the renovation in writing, and give them a 60-day grace period to move back in once renovations are complete.
If the landlord doesn’t allow the tenant to move back in at the same rent, the tenant would have two years after moving out, or six months after renovations are complete (whichever is longer) to apply to the LTB for a remedy.
When a tenant is in arrears of rent, they may enter into a repayment agreement with their landlord to pay the rent they owe and avoid eviction.
The government is also consulting on changes that will help to create a more balanced framework governing municipal rental replacement bylaws.
For example, the government is considering requiring replacement units to have the same core features, such as the number of bedrooms, as the original units. This proposal would give existing tenants the right to move into the new unit while paying the same rent.
Ontario is also proposing to double the maximum fines for offences under the Residential Tenancies Act (such as bad faith renovictions) to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.