My Landlord is raising my rent…can he do that?

March 18, 2016

Your landlord is allowed to raise your rent once per year on the anniversary date of when you first created the “contract” with him or her.  The lawful rent for the first rental period for a new tenant under a new tenancy agreement is the rent first agreed upon when signing a lease agreement between the landlord and tenant.

 

A landlord may only increase a tenant’s rent if at least 12 months have passed since the last rent increase or since the tenant moved in and signed the original lease agreement.

 

The anniversary date must be preceded by a written notice to the tenant at least 90 days prior to this anniversary date.  If the landlord increases a tenant’s rent without the appropriate notice, the rent increase is void and the landlord will have to give a new notice before the rent can be increased.  This applies even if the rent charged is increased according with an order under s. 126 (landlord’s application for rent increase)

 

A landlord cannot charge rent for a rental unit in an amount that is greater that the lawful rent permitted under the Residential Tenancies Act.  A landlord cannot increase a tenant’s rent during the term of the tenancy by more that the guideline under the Residential Tenancies Act.

 

The rent increase guideline is set each year by the Ontario Government.  It is based on the Consumer Price Index.  Each year, the Government announces the guideline by August 31st for rent increases that will take effect on or after January 1st of the following year.  The guideline is published in the Ontario Gazette.

 

The guideline for 2013 is 2.5%.

 

A landlord may raise the rent beyond this 2.5% but only with the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

A landlord may apply to the Board for an order permitting the rent charged to be increase by more than the guideline for the following reasons:

 

  1. an extraordinary increase in the cost for municipal taxes and

charges or utilities or both for the residential complex.

 

  1. eligible capital expenditure like repairs/renovations that are not

part of regular, ongoing maintenance.

 

  1. operating costs related to security services provided with respect to the residential complex by persons not employed by

the landlord.

 

On the other hand, the Board may decide a landlord is in serious breach of maintenance obligations, and can:

 

  1. prohibit the landlord from giving a notice of rent increase for

the rental unit, or

 

  1. prohibit the landlord from taking any rent increase for which

notice has been given, if the increase has not been taken before

the date an Order under subsection 30(1) is issued, or

 

  1. prohibit the landlord form charging a new tenant under a new

tenancy agreement any amount or rent in excess of the last

lawful rent charged to the former tenant of the rental unit,

until the landlord has,

a)completed the items in work orders for which the compliance

period has expired and which were found by the Board to

be related to a serious breach of a health, safety, housing or

maintenance standard, and

b)completed the specified repairs or replacements or other work

ordered by the Board.

 

A tenant or landlord may bring an application to the Board to have, in the case of a landlord, the rent increased beyond the limit for that year or, in the case of a tenant, to request a rebate for money collected illegally since the amount of increase either exceeded the limit established by the government or was imposed without regard to proper notice or in keeping with the Act.

 

Applications are deemed to be lawful unless an application has been made within 1 year after the date the increase was first charged and the lawfulness of the rent increase is in issue in the application.

 

For more information or if you have a question about this or any other legal matter write Kevin at the Standard or contact your Community Legal Clinic at 461-3935 or Ken at bondyk@lao.on.ca.