NDP moves to extend rent-hike protection to everyone
The NDP is proposing a new law that would provide rent-hike protection for all renters by immediately closing a loophole that allows landlords in buildings built later than 1991 to hike rents as much as they want.
The private member’s bill, the Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, will be tabled Monday by the NDP’s Peter Tabuns, NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth.
“We hear from young renters who are worried that this might be the month they’re hit with a rent hike they can’t afford,” said Tabuns. “We hear from families that say the increases are chasing them from their homes – the place they’re raising their kids.
“That’s not fair, and it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to do something about it. It’s time to extend protection against unreasonable increases to everyone.”
The Federation of Metro Tenants (FMT) says the bill addresses a problem renters are constantly facing.
“Through our tenants hotline, we speak with people in crisis every day,” said Diane Dyson, a Member of the Board of FMT. “The fact is, many Ontario households are really at a tipping point. We’re hearing about rent increases of hundreds of dollars or even $1,000 a month. We’re hearing more and more of working people being forced to couch surf. We’re seeing people being forced to give up their home.”
Both the FMT and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) say the NDP bill is a strong move.
“In Ontario, rents are regulated to help tenants keep a roof over their heads,” said Kenneth Hale, Director of Advocacy and Legal Services at ACTO. “We cannot continue to deny this protection to over 150,000 tenant households and we support the NDP’s demand to make the law apply to them.”
Tabuns said if Premier Kathleen Wynne has been listening to Ontarians, she should support the bill.
“Premier Wynne has had years to correct this loophole that’s leaving millions of Ontarians unprotected,” said Tabuns. “Meanwhile tenants face increasing uncertainty and rising prices. It’s time for the premier to act.”
The NDP bill will amend the Residential Tenancies Act to include all renters in a rule that caps rent increases to the annual rent increase guidelines – usually about 1.5 per cent per year. Currently, only tenants of buildings constructed before 1991 have that protection.
Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, 2017
- The Residential Tenancies Act establishes rent increase guidelines that place limits on how much a landlord may raise the rent in any given year. For 2017, the rent increase guideline is a 1.5 per cent maximum.
- In 1997, the Conservative government created a loophole that exempts residences first occupied on or after Nov. 1, 1991 from the rent increase guidelines and other tenant protections in the Residential Tenancies Act.
- Tenants living in residences built after 1991 are not protected from unfair and unmanageable rent increases. Each year, their landlords can raise the rent by whatever amount they wish – resulting in rent increases of 20 per cent, 50 per cent or even doubling a tenant’s monthly rent.
- The Liberal government has kept this loophole open.
- Organizations such as ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario have demanded that this rent-protection loophole be closed, and rent-hike protections be extended to all.
- Peter Tabuns’ Rent Protection for All Tenants Act, 2017 amends the Residential Tenancies Act, and is similar to a 2013 NDP bill tabled by MPP Cindy Forster (Welland).