Ford government introduces rent freeze legislation for 2021

  9/18/2020 |   SHARE
Posted in Ontario Real Estate by Eileen Farrow | Back to Main Blog Page

Ontario Government

The Ontario government introduced its proposed rent freeze legislation for 2021 in the provincial legislature on Thursday.

The freeze, which drew the ire of both landlord and tenant groups when it was announced last month, would prevent increases for most renters in units ranging from apartments, condos and houses to care facilities — including units that aren’t covered by rent control.

The freeze would also apply in cases where landlords have already given their tenants notice of increased rent for 2021. And the proposed legislation would cap rents that are geared to a household’s income at 2020 levels.

There are exemptions, the province says, including certain above-guideline increases approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board where a property owner is repairing or upgrading a building, or cases where a landlord and tenant agreed to a rent increase in exchange for extra services or facilities. The province offered the examples of added air conditioning and parking.

Above-guideline increases wouldn’t be allowed due to increases in municipal property taxes unless they were approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board before the bill becomes law, the province said.

The proposed legislation has been anticipated for several weeks, after Housing Minister Steve Clark pledged a freeze to cover “the vast majority” of renters last month.

The maximum allowable rent increases each year are set out by the province, though landlords can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for steeper escalations.

For 2021, the province says the maximum increase would have been 1.5 per cent. That will be brought down to zero for next year, though landlords can give notice of increases 90 days in advance, to take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

The decision to freeze rents was panned by both tenant and landlord advocates when the province announced its intentions, though Clark’s office vowed to work with both on the bill.

Tony Irwin, president of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, said in August his group was “surprised and disappointed” by the news, and urged the government to instead focus on assisting tenants who couldn’t pay their rent whether it was frozen or not.

“This will be providing relief to many tenants who, quite frankly, aren’t in dire straits,” Irwin said at the time.

Renter advocates said that the province wasn’t offering nearly enough protection for tenants, and should focus its attention elsewhere.

One advocate said that simply freezing rents in 2021 gave landlords more of a financial incentive to evict their current renters, given a lack of regulation over rent increases between different tenancies.

Source: St Catharines Standard

Landlords, Ontario Government, Ontario Living, Ontario Real Estate News, Rent Control, Rental Market

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