4 Takeaways From The New Rental Fairness Act

By: Christopher Toste

4 Takeaways From The New Rental Fairness Act

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Renting a room, apartment or a home is something that is common in the GTA area and it isn’t a surprise with homes selling at high record amounts. This is resulting in more people looking at rentals.
Recently the new changes are being proposed called the “Rental Fairness Act,” which amends the Residential Tenancies Act and it is currently in its second reading and are now public.   
Here is what you need to know about the changes if the bill passes.

Ontario landlords would have to offer tenants a new unit or compensate them with one month’s rent, if the landlord needs to evict them for their “own use.”
Currently it is difficult to know how many people are evicted yearly based on a landlord wants to use the property as the N12 form does not track this information. However, tenant advocates say it’s a widespread issue.

This proposed change is in hopes that disincentive landlords from acting illegally as some landlords claim it is for their own use and end up listing the property again in order to get higher rental income with a new tenant. With this proposal, landlords will have to put in writing to the Landlord and Tenant Board that they need the unit for at least a year and that they are acting in “good faith.”

1991 Exemption
The new act would get rid of the “1991 exemption” and expands rent control to all units, not just the properties built before that year. This means landlords can’t raise rent higher than certain guidelines set by the province each year. In 2017, it is 1.5 per cent.

Once the legislation is passed the new rules come into effect as of April 20, 2017. Landlords would still be able to raise rents “above the guidelines” if they apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. However, landlords would not be able to do this for increased utility costs as there is a freeze on these costs based on inflation and expected decrease in the coming years.

Rental Agreements
Oral tenancy agreements can still be done; however, if you want a written lease then a standard government one would need to be used. Reason being is to prevent landlords from including illegal clauses such as prohibiting pets or demanding security deposits into the leases.

Rent Owed
The act would also make it an offense for landlords to go after tenants for rent for the period after they have left the unit (as in rent they’re not owed), or other illegal charges like key fees. These are the highlighted changes from the Rental Fairness Act and can come into play very soon. It will be interesting to see the impact of the changes on the rental and housing market. To learn more about the act, click here.

Purchasing a home is a big step in someone’s life and so is a rental agreement. Always use a professional to review all documents as they work to ensure your best interests are being considered. Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions surrounding renting and/or purchasing a home as I am always ready to help. 

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