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RENTAL FAIRNESS ACT 2017
Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

The Rental Fairness Act was amended by the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario May 30 2017.

Refer to this link to access the amendment:   

http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=4755

NOTE – Here are 2 perspectives on the amendment:

1) FRPO Submission to the Standing Committee on General Government ~ Bill 124 ~
May 9, 2017

Refer to this link for the full article:
https://www.frpo.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/FRPO-Submission-to-Standing-Committee-on-General-Government-re-Bill-124-2017-05-09.pdf

2) ONTARIO’S NEW RENT RULE Get ready for a flood of AGIs (About Above Guideline Increases)
by L D Blake
June 29, 2017

Bill 124, the “Rental Fairness Act” (2017) have just achieved royal assent, becoming law.

Refer to the attachment for full details:  Ontario – New Rent Rules

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) is organizing a National Housing Day of Action on Friday, November 18, 2016, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST.
Refer to: http://www.acto.ca/

Description
Food, water and shelter are some of the most fundamental human rights, yet Canada is facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Everything begins with housing – without it, no one can truly live life with dignity.

The Canadian government has promised to fix the affordable housing crisis with Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy. On November 22nd, they will announce what they have heard people across Canada say is needed in a National Housing Strategy. We are calling for the government to ensure our National Housing Strategy will guarantee everyone the right to safe, adequate, and affordable housing.

Make your voice heard. Together let’s make a commitment that we will hold the government accountable.

You can access the ACTO flyer for this event at this link: nhd_flyer

The celebration of International Tenants Day this year will take place on Monday, October 3, 2016.

The theme this year by the International Union of Tenants (IUT) will be: Is control of rents outdated, or a necessity – worldwide?

The view of the IUT is that rent regulation is a response to the power imbalance between landlords and tenants, which creates an opportunity for landlords to exploit tenants that certainly exists in tight housing markets

Refer to these attachments for full details of this year’s theme:

tenantsday_2016

iut_20th_congress_2016_uppslag

Feel free to check the IUT Website for latest news:  http://www.iut.nu/

 

The Ontario government has set the 2017 Annual Rent Increase Guideline at  1.5%. The guideline increase of 1.5% for 2017 is the maximum a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent without approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board. This applies to most sitting tenants in private residential rental units covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.  Rents charged to new tenants are at the discretion of the landlord.

The 2017 guideline increase takes effect from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. As noted above, landlords cannot increase rent for sitting tenants above the 1.5% guideline without seeking approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. This 2017 guideline increase of 1.5% is slightly lower than the 1.6% rent increase for 2016. It is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation calculated monthly by Statistics Canada.

If the landlord intends to implement an Above Guideline Increase the landlord is required to abide by the regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board and file an application with Landlord and Tenant Board for an Above Guideline Increase. Refer to this link:  http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Brochures/2017%20Rent%20Increase%20Guideline%20(EN).html

Detailed information on the 2017 Annual Rent Increased Guideline is available at this link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/rent-increase-guideline

FMTA Response to Proposed Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

In April 2016, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released a consultation paper which discussed Proposals to Encourage Small Landlords to Provide Rental Housing.

FMTA was a core stakeholder in the process and provided feedback about proposals.  Although feedback on the proposals was originally due in late April, the government extended deadlines to June 30th in order to provide more time for feedback from tenants.

The FMTA Board is concerned that these proposals constitute the greatest attack on tenant rights since the Mike Harris government.  More importantly, there’s no evidence that these proposals will encourage small landlords to provide a single unit of housing.

Major Proposals:

1)      Require tenants to provide legal disclosure for any issues that they intend to raise at rental arrears eviction hearings to the landlord prior to the hearing.

2)      Explore whether any changes should be made to the process for tenants appealing decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board to the Divisional Court

3)      Explore whether to allow landlords to terminate a tenancy based on violation of no-smoking provisions in tenancy agreements

4)      Explore whether to allow landlords to prohibit pets in tenancy agreements in small buildings where the landlord also resides

Concerns:

1)      There is no evidence that these proposals will create a single unit.  The FMTA asked for any quantitative evidence (a study/survey) that showed that these proposals would “encourage small landlords to provide rental housing”.  The Ministry didn’t have any.  In fact the Ministry provided no estimate of the number of units they expect to be created by these proposals.

2)      These proposals will encourage eviction of tenants. Three of the most concerning proposals (pre-disclosure of evidence, allowing landlords to prohibit pets, allowing eviction due to breeching a lease) can already lead to an eviction.  These proposals simply make it easier for landlords to evict.

3)      Lack of Fairness. Applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board are already dominated by landlords – 91% of all applications.  These proposals will make it harder for tenants to bring up counter applications and appeal to Divisional Court.

Better Options:

1)      Zoning.  Provincial changes to the Planning Act for second units came into effect on January 1, 2012.  Did these changes encourage small landlords to provide rental housing?  Evidence-based analysis would provide an answer.

2)      Licensing.  Many small landlords receive no training on the requirements and difficulties for running a rental housing business.  Licensing could help better prepare them.

3)      Standardized leases.  Many new, small landlords are shocked to find they cannot ban pets or smoking outright or that some fees included in their leases are illegal.  Standardized leases would help train landlords to understand and follow the law.

4)      Better law enforcement.  While good landlords follow the law in terms of repairs, charges and tenant rights, they face similar difficulties and penalties to landlords that flagrantly break the law.  Providing appropriate punishments for landlords who break the law and incentives for those who follow it could help spur rental housing growth.

Contact the Ministry!
Concerned about these proposals? The full list of changes can be found on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs website. Public feedback can be sent to residential.tenancies@ontario.ca.

SOURCE:  Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association
http://www.torontotenants.org

Important note
FMTA Annual General Meeting –  Join the FMTA for the 42nd Annual General Meeting on Saturday June 18th, 2016 at 1pm.
Location: 120 Carlton St – Party Room. Corner of Jarvis and Carlton St. Closest station is College Subway.
Refer to this link for more details on the 2016 FMTA Annual General Meeting:  http://www.torontotenants.org/news/fmta-annual-general-meeting-2016

In recognition of International Tenants Day this year a public forum will be held to put the spotlight on repairs and maintenance standards.

The forum is being organized by several agencies including the FMTA, Toronto Acorn & University of Toronto.

While this forum will bring to the forefront the challenges tenants face in getting landlords to address repairs and maintenance issues it is also an opportunity to address other pressing rental issues that impact tenants.  Tenant participation in forums such as these is instrumental in ensuring that affordable and quality housing remain a basic human right.

Here are the details of this event:

Date: Thursday October 22nd, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Innis Town Hall – 2 Sussex Av (1 block south of St. George Subway)

Refer to this link for full details:  Tenant Fall 2015 (E)

NOTE – International Tenants Day is an annual event coordinated by the Swedish-based International Union of Tenants. It aims to promote tenant rights around the world while creating awareness of tenant issues.

We will have a federal election on October 19, 2015. The political leaders have aired their views and had debates on a variety of issues of concern to Canadians. Many families struggle to meet their monthly rent due to rising rental cost. Community housing is not an option for them as there is a huge backlog of applicants on waiting lists.  Moreover, most of the community housing buildings are in need of massive repairs and renovations. In light of the ongoing housing crisis, the lack of affordable housing and increase in homelessness should be more of a priority for all political parties and included in their platform.

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) and the Right to Housing Coalition are joining groups and individuals across Canada in a national week of action to address the issue of affordable housing and homelessness. The Right to Housing Forum is part of a national week of action taking place September 23rd-30th.

The Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants Association (FMTA) has extended an invitation to attend the Right To Housing Forum that will take place in Toronto on September 30, 2015. The FMTA recognizes that there is an affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Canada and the government is doing little to fix it.  Affordable housing should be an election issue. You are invited to this Right to Housing Forum to talk about the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in the context of housing as a right.
This event will be held at Ryerson University Library Building, Room 72, 350 Victoria St., Toronto. TIME: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Refer to this link to view the flyer for full details: https://righttohousing.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/votehousing4all_actoforum_flyer.pdf

For more information: http://righttohousing.wordpress.com/take-action
Use the hashtag #votehousing4all

NOTE:
Wheelchair accessible and ASL interpretation provided.
The forum will also be broadcast live online at http://acto.ca and http://righttohousing.wordpress.com
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/522951371188832

The Ontario government has set the 2016 Annual Rent Increase Guideline at 2.0%. The increase of 2.0% for 2016 is the maximum a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

If the landlord intends to implement an Above Guideline Increase the landlord is required to abide by the regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board and file an application with Landlord and Tenant Board for an Above Guideline Increase. Refer to this link: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Brochures/Information%20about%20AGI%20Applications%20(EN)%20Revised_Bill140_June15_2015.pdf?b58864

This increase for 2016 applies to most sitting residential tenants. However, the guideline increase does not apply to new tenants. Rents charged to new tenants are at the discretion of the landlord.

The 2016 guideline increase takes effect from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. Approximately 85% of private market tenants are will be covered by this recent guidelines increase. As noted above, landlords cannot increase rent for sitting tenants above the 2.0% guideline without seeking approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. Refer to:2016_Rent_Increase

This 2016 guideline increase of 2.0% is higher than the 1.6% rent increase for 2015. It is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation calculated monthly by Statistics Canada.

More detailed information on the 2016 Annual Rent Increased Guideline is available at the Municipal Affairs and Housing website: http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2015/06/2016-ontario-rent-increase-guideline.html

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