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The sub-meter industry has been collaborating with landlords to put a system in place where tenants are charged separately for electricity.  Landlords have allowed sub-meter companies to install sub-meters in rental units not only in new buildings but also for older buildings with sitting tenants.

Sub-meter companies are making huge profits from the collaboration. For example, according to a report in the CNW, the company Wyse Meter Solutions has made tremendous profits:

Wyse made the 2016 PROFIT 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 2,604%.
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/wyse-meter-solutions-inc-ranks-as-29th-fastest-growing-company-in-canada-593534801.html

Legislation by the Government of Ontario allows landlords to install sub-meter in rental units in existing and new buildings. The result is that lease conditions are changing related to electricity use. Landlords can require tenants pay for electricity separately from their rental cost based on the new rental contract. Refer to the Government of Ontario link for clarification on how you may be affected by the new legislation:

Tenants Guide to Suite Meters
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9087.aspx

Another section of the regulation provides clarification about tenant consent:
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page9050.aspx

Quote:
      If a landlord chooses to install a suite meter, tenants will have the
      choice of paying for their electricity consumption separately from
      rent. If electricity is currently included in a tenant’s rent, landlords
      must lower the rent if a tenant chooses to pay for their own electricity
      using a suite meter.

CAUTION – Read your lease carefully and make sure you do NOT sign any contract that states you will pay separately for electricity when renewing your lease. You do not have to pay for electricity because this cost is included in your lease.  Refer to this this link below:
Appendix A –   Your landlord wants you to start paying for electricity – Be Careful!
http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/cd/bgrd/backgroundfile-18103.pdf

__________________

NOTE:
For more details you can check our earlier posts on the subject of Sub-Meter at these links:
Smart Sub-meters . . . Getting It Right!
https://eastyorktenantsgroup.com/2009/09/08/sub-meters-getting-it-right/

SMART SUB-METERS . . .
https://eastyorktenantsgroup.com/2009/08/29/smart-sub-meters/

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East York tenants in Park Vista have successfully challenged an attempt by their landlord to impose an air conditioning fee.

CAPREIT, which had 2016 operating revenue of $596.8 million and 2016 net operating income of $366.9 million, tried to shake down tenants (including many seniors on a fixed income) for a seasonal fee of $125 per air conditioning unit.

The Park Vista tenants’ association was in place and they were able to organize, mobilize and fight back (along with the help of the media and the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations).

Refer to these attachments:
1- Capreit AC noticepdf
2-Park Vista Air Conditioning Notice
3- Capreit AC Follow-up Response

Links to media coverage are below:

Tenants at East York apartment building ‘ecstatic’ after landlord ditches air conditioning fees
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ toronto/east-york-apartment-ai r-conditioning-1.4234743

East York Tenants Battle Over Air Conditioning
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/more /consumer-alert

Given the challenges tenants face, local tenant advocates are meeting to discuss common issues that might help activists learn from one another. A tenant advocate in the Broadview/Mortimer (12 Bater Tenant Association) area is arranging to get some local tenant advocates together for an informal, in-person ‘fun night’ meeting at Whistlers Restaurant. The goal of ‘fun night’ is to have neighbours get together with their local tenant association in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. It will also be an opportunity to network and focus on how to improve tenant education and familiarize tenants with their rights.

Date & Time: Thursday,  August 24th from 7:00 to 10:00 pm
Location: Whistler’s Pub,  995 Broadview Ave, East York, ON M4K 2S1

Contact:  mailto:tentsinaction@gmail.com

The Ontario government has capped the 2018 Annual Rent Increase Guideline at 1.8%. The increase of 1.8% for 2018 is the maximum a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board. Landlords cannot increase rent for sitting tenants above the 1.8% guideline without seeking approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. More information is available at this Ontario Government link:

https://news.ontario.ca/mho/en/2017/06/ontario-capping-rent-increases-for-tenants-in-2018.html

This 2018 guideline increase of 1.8% is higher than the 1.5% rent increase for 2017. It is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation calculated monthly by Statistics Canada.

The 2018 guideline increase takes effect from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

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 the Brochure: 2018 Rent Increase Guideline published by the Landlord and Tenant Board (Social Justice Tribunal) for more details:

http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Brochures/2018%20Rent%20Increase%20Guideline%20(EN).html

NOTE: The guideline is not applicable to: Vacant residential units, Social housing units, Nursing homes or Commercial property

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

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