Ontario to finally introduce bill that will protect renters

Apr 25 2017, 1:30 am

After introducing the Foreign Buyer Tax on real estate last week, the Government of Ontario is also rolling out its Rental Fairness Act.

As part of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, the Liberal Government has introduced new legislation that would, if passed, help keep rental housing costs predictable and affordable.

Named the Rental Fairness Act, the new bill would address rising rental costs by expanding the initial rent control bill to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1, 1991. Approximately 20% of private rental housing in Ontario (over 237,000 units) is affected by the current post-1991 exemption rule, according to the province.

In March, a bill was proposed by the NDP to provide rent-hike protection for all renters. The bill was pushed by Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth, after Liberty Village residents faced the reality of the current Residential Tenancies Act, and tenants in the area were given notice from their landlords that a rent hike of 100% would be taking effect in July.

Earlier this month, the Wynne government rejected the fast-tracking of the NDP bill.

Now, however, the province is expanding on rent control with the legislation also including additional changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, like:

  • 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.

“We can’t stand by and watch as people in Ontario face dramatic rent increases and remain vulnerable to unfair practices,” said Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy in a statement. “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.”

The proposed rent control amendments, if passed, would apply to notices of rent increase given on or after April 20, 2017.

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