Starting Jan. 1, landlords in Ontario will be allowed to increase most tenants’ rent to a maximum of 2.2 per cent without approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. This is the highest increase since 2013, when the maximum was 2.5 per cent.
This news didn’t sit well with Torontonians and many took to Twitter to argue that rent is already too expensive.
— Carol Davies Wigley (@pinkbassist) June 20, 2019
This fucking bullshit right here. As if it isn’t already too expensive to rent in this province.https://t.co/TLBbkfV7kn
— Phil Rickaby (@philrickaby) June 20, 2019
One user even noted that she’d soon be forced to move out of the city just to find an affordable home.
I repeat: I am in the process of being priced out of Ontario. I’m kinda fine with it. I’ve never lived anywhere but Toronto, so maybe at the nice age of 30, when I finish my masters, I’ll be well prepared to leave my home. https://t.co/BZwz9ObaZx
— Chelsea La Vecchia (@ChelseaLaVecch) June 20, 2019
Nobody likes rent increases, but the government’s 2020 guideline might not be as bad as it seems. The cap for 2019 was 1.8 per cent, which means the guideline will only rise by 0.4 per cent next year, said Tony Irwin, the President and CEO of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO).
Plus, the increase is necessary for landlords to keep their properties up to par. “This maximum increase will allow property owners to merely keep up with increased costs while striving to meet the need for quality rental housing options in Ontario,” Irwin explained to Toronto Storeys.
These increased costs go towards property taxes and utilities, Irwin added, as well as insurance. The cost of the latter has jumped dramatically, by as much as 40 per cent in some cases, he said.
The guideline was always intended to help landlords cover the cost of inflation, The Star reports. That’s why the number is calculated using the Ontario Consumer Price index — a tool that “measures inflation and economic conditions over a year.”
So how much money can Torontonians expect to shell out for rent in 2020? A 2.2 per cent increase next year would mean a unit that now costs $1,000 a month would jump to $1,022. A $2,000 unit would climb to $2,044.
Although the new rate isn’t huge, it can make a big difference for those who are already struggling. Four in 10 Canadians put more than one-third of their income towards housing, a recent study found.
As one Twitter user pointed out:
Cost of living rises but not minimum wage?
— Paul Scott 🐊 (@Chicken008) June 20, 2019
Toronto rent is the highest in the country, according to Rentals.ca’s national report. A one bedroom now goes for $2,231, while a two bedroom goes for $2,735.
The rent guideline does have exceptions, though. It does not apply to social housing units, nursing homes, commercial properties, and new buildings. Most new basement apartments occupied for the first time after Nov.15, 2018 are also exempt from the increase, the Ontario government’s website notes.
Landlords will have to give their tenants 90 days’ written notice before the new rate comes into effect.