Housing minister says rent control will expand
Exemption for buildings built after 1991 ‘not working’
Bill Davis’s Conservative government introduces rent controls. Rent hikes are initially limited to 8 per cent per year. New buildings are exempt. Rent controls are scheduled to end on July 31, 1977, but are later extended.
A government report concludes eliminating rent control may be the best option, and suggests a tribunal be set up to mediate some landlord-tenant disputes.
Under new landlord-tenant legislation, rent control stays indefinitely. Increases are limited to 6 per cent unless landlords can prove to new Residential Tenancies Commission they need more to recover costs.
The Residential Rent Regulation Act introduces a new formula for rent increases, based on inflation and landlords’ operating costs. Rent control is extended to all rental units in the province. The province will expand rent control, Ontario’s Housing Minister told Metro on Thursday.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that so many Ontarians are faced with housing costs that are rising dramatically,” said Chris Ballard, who is also the minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy.
The comments come as the discussion around housing costs in Toronto reaches a fever pitch.
As reported by Metro, calls for rent control have been mounting from city hall and the NDP in the face of a very low vacancy rate and soaring rents.
The vacancy rate for available apartments in Toronto is 1.3 per cent, and the average rent is $1,233, up 3.1 per cent from 2015, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The announcement comes shortly after Metro began its Code Red series on the housing crisis in Toronto.
Check out the rest of the series at metronews.ca.
Ballard said members of his staff are developing a plan to address unfair rent increases as part of an ongoing review of the Residential Tenancies Act. He declined to comment on whether that would include scrapping legislation that exempts buildings built after 1991 from limits on rent increase or put a timeframe on changes.
That legislation was originally introduced in the 1990s to provide an incentive for developers to build rental housing, but has come under fire in Toronto’s housing market for leaving tenants vulnerable to yearly rent hikes of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.
“Clearly that 1991 exemption is not legislation that’s working today,” Ballard said.
NDP MPP Peter Tabuns announced this week he will introduce a private member’s bill on Monday to end the 1991 exemption. (For all other buildings the province sets yearly guidelines for rent increases, based on factors like the rate of inflation.)
Tabuns, who represents Toronto Danforth, said he’s been hearing more and more from tenants about huge rent increases. Some have been forced to move out because they just can’t afford the hikes.
“They’re put in a very tough situation,” he told Metro.
Private member’s bills rarely pass. There have been at least two others put forward to scrap the same loophole since 2011.
“You have investor, landlord, and developer interests who really don’t want their ability to make a profit constrained in any way,” Tabuns said.