Ontario’s New Rental Fairness Act

The Ontario Fair Housing Policy was rolled out on April 20, 2017. As it states, its aim is “to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. The Act has already had an impact on the housing market.

The Rental Fairness Act

The following focuses on a number of changes the policy addresses to protect renters through the passing of the Rental Fairness Act. According to the Ministry of Finance, the RFA  will “help keep rental housing affordable and predictable by protecting tenants from unfair rent increases.”

New Tenant Measures:

  • Extending Rent Controls: As of April 20th, Private rental units built in 1991 and after are no longer exempt from rent controls. Now landlords cannot raise rents beyond the guideline set by the government of 1.5 per cent for 2017.
  • Notice to Implement Increase: Landlords are required to give at least 90 days’ notice in order to implement the increase in rent. Landlords, however, can determine rent levels for new tenants once a tenant moves out.
  • Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases to protect tenants from utility costs and promote energy efficiency by landlords.

Some Additional Protections for Tenants

  • The use of a standard residential lease is being implemented to help improve tenants’ and landlords’ knowledge of their rights and responsibilities.
  • The FRA further protects tenants from eviction due to abuse of the "landlords own use" provision. Now the landlord must compensate the tenant with one month’s rent or offer another unit acceptable to the tenant.  Without payment, an eviction order by the Board will not be issued.

If Landlord Acts in “Bad Faith”

As well, for up to one year from delivering the notice of termination, the landlord cannot act in bad faith by performing any of the following actions:

  • Advertise the unit for rent or the building that houses for sale,
  • Enter into a alternate tenancy agreement for the unit,
  • Demolish the unit, or
  • Make attempts to convert the rental unit.

Under these circumstances, the tenant may, within a year of termination, apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. It’s now up to the Landlord to prove that he did not act in “Bad Faith”.

Possible penalties for landlord “Bad Faith”:

  1. All or a portion of any increased rent paid by the tenant after vacating;
  2. Reasonable out-of-pocket moving, storage expenses;
  3. Abatement of rent;
  4. An administrative fine of up to $25,000.

Harsh measures indeed to discourage illegal evictions

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