Ontario Introduces Rent Control Legislation

Ontario has introduced new legislation that would, if passed, help keep rental housing costs predictable and affordable while strengthening protections for tenants across Ontario.

The Rental Fairness Act, 2017, would address rising rental costs faced by people in Ontario by expanding rent control to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1, 1991. “We can’t stand by and watch as people in Ontario face dramatic rent increases and remain vulnerable to unfair practices,” Minister of Housing responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Expanding rent control is a key component of Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan to help more people find an affordable place to call home.

The legislation also includes additional changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, including:

  • Enabling a standard lease to help both tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities, while reducing the number of disputes
  • Protecting tenants from eviction due to abuse of the “landlord’s own use” provision
  • Ensuring landlords can’t pursue former tenants for unauthorized charges
  • Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases in buildings where elevator maintenance orders have not been addressed
  • Removing above-guideline rent increases for utilities, to protect tenants from carbon costs and encourage landlords to make their buildings more energy efficient.

Ontario is also strengthening its transitional housing system to support the goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025. The proposed amendments would exempt transitional housing providers from the Residential Tenancies Act for up to four years, as long as participants are protected by written tenancy agreements. This would allow transitional housing providers to deliver their programs and services over a longer period of time, and help more people successfully transition to longer-term, stable housing.