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Bill 124, Rental Fairness Act 2017

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Bill 124, Rental Fairness Act 2017

On April 20, 2017, Premier Wynne announced that at the first opportunity, the provincial government would introduce legislation that if passed (likely with a majority government) would expand Rent Control to all rental housing in Ontario.  This would specifically delete the “post-1991 exemption”.

The first opportunity was Monday, April 24, 2017, and the provincial government introduced Bill 124, Rental Fairness Act 2017.  This legislation if (when) passed will amend key parts of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Elimination of Post 1991 Exemption

  • This expands rent control to ALL private rental units, including those that were previously exempt under the ‘post 1991’ rule.
  • Notices of rent increases sent before April 20, 2017 even with a later effective date will be allowed to proceed – the legislation requires the rent control guideline to apply to all notices and increases given on or after April 20, 2017.

Changes to Above Guideline Increases (AGI)

  • Remove the ability to apply an AGI for all utilities.
  • Prohibit AGIs in buildings with outstanding elevator work orders – all elevator work orders must be cleared before new AGI applications will be considered.
  • Create the ability to add additional circumstances where otherwise eligible capital expenditures are ineligible for AGI applications.
  • Hold ‘consultations’ in the development of the regulations related to capital expenditure AGIs.

Requiring a Standard Lease

  • Government will develop a standard lease that will be required to be used by ALL landlords.
  • Hold ‘consultation’ on the standard lease.
  • Note the following conditions:
    • If the landlord does NOT provide the standard lease within 21 days of a tenant’s written request, the tenant could withhold one month’s rent, until the landlord provides the lease;
    • If a landlord does not provide the standard lease within 30 days after the tenant has withheld the rent, the tenant would no longer be liable to repay the withheld rent;
    • A tenant who has not received a standard lease could terminate the tenancy on 60 days’ notice at any time.

Changes to Landlord’s Own Use Eviction Provisions

  • Corporations will no longer be able to use own use eviction provisions, only landlords who are individuals will be able to use this as a ground for eviction.
  • Require the landlord or the landlord’s family to reside in the unit for at least one year and provide this intention in writing to the tenant.
  • Require the landlord to compensate the tenant one month’s rent or offer the tenant another acceptable rental unit.
  • Deem the landlord to have acted in bad faith if the landlord advertises or re-rents the unit for a higher rent within one year and shift the onus on to the landlord to disprove bad faith at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), if bad faith cannot be disproved the LTB could order additional compensation be paid to the tenant.

The Bill has completed the 1st Reading and 2nd Reading and is proceeding to the Standing Committee on General Government for two days of public hearings next week (May 9-10) on the proposed amendments to the RTA.  GTAA, FRPO, and several other stakeholders have requested an opportunity to make presentations to this Committee.

On May 16, this Committee will deliberate and may make changes in a ‘clause by clause’ review of the Bill.  The eventual version will proceed to the Legislature for the 3rd (and final) Reading.  Once approved, it requires Royal Assent (just a formality), and then it becomes law.  This one is certainly speeding through the process.