You've survived several months in your rental unit and have
managed to transform your rental unit into a home. You're
probably wondering about the amount of rent you'll have to pay
if you remain living there. You have no clue what the rent will be
like next year if you decide to stay in your rental unit (you also
have no clue about what you'll wear tomorrow but that's a
whole different story). Here are a few guidelines that will satisfy
your curiosity about rent control in Ontario.
After 12 months have passed since you first moved in (or since
your last rent increase), your landlord can (and more than likely
will) increase your rent once every 12 months. Once the 12 months
have passed, you'll be happy to know that your landlord cannot
surprise you with an increase of rent without first notifying you.
In fact, the landlord must give you a written notice of rent
increase at least 90 days before the day the rent increase is to
start. Why 90 days? Well, if you don't like (or can't
afford) the new rent, it will allow you enough time to give the
landlord proper notice of termination and find another suitable
place to call home.
Regarding how much your landlord can increase your rent by, in
most cases your landlord will follow rent increase guidelines set
annually by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The
Ministry isn't inventing random numbers but relying on the
Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is a measure of inflation
calculated monthly by Statistics Canada. For 2014, the rate of
allowable rent increases is 0.8%.
For example, if your monthly rent ($900) of an apartment began
on September 1, 2013, then 12 months later on September 1, 2014,
your landlord could lawfully increase your rent by 0.8 percent. Of
course, proper written 90 days' notice should have been
provided to you. Therefore, your new rent amount from September 1,
2014 would be ($900 x 0.008 = $7.20) $907.20. Now here's where
it can get complicated. If your rent increases by more than 0.8%
then it's probably because the law allows landlords to apply to
the Landlord and Tenant Board for an increase above the rent
increase guideline for operating costs related to security
services, for eligible capital expenditures, or if their costs for
the municipal taxes or utilities have increased by more than the
guideline plus 50 per cent.
The only silver lining with all this talk about rent control is
that the interest rate on the deposit for the last month or week
that you gave to your landlord before you began your tenancy is the
same as the rent increase guideline.
Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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