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Ontario Strengthening Protections for Tenants; Proposed changes would also tackle delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board

Ontario is taking steps to support renters and rental housing providers by increasing the number of adjudicators and staff at the Landlord and Tenant Board to speed up decision timeframes, as well as strengthening a broad range of tenant protections.

Ontario is investing $6.5 million to appoint an additional 40 adjudicators and hire five staff to improve service standards and continue to reduce active applications and decision timeframes at the Landlord and Tenant Board. This increase more than doubles the number of full-time adjudicators at the Landlord Tenant Board.

“Residents and rental housing providers deserve fast results, and government bureaucracy should not stand in the way,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “That is why we’re investing millions of dollars to increase the number of adjudicators and staff at the Landlord and Tenant Board, so the board can continue its work to reduce its case load, improve client service and resolve disputes faster.”

Ontario is also taking steps to make life easier for renters, with proposed changes that would enhance tenants’ rights to install air conditioning in their units. The government is also proposing to strengthen protections against evictions due to renovations, demolitions and conversions, as well as those for landlord’s own use.

“Today’s announcement builds on the record number of rental housing starts that have occurred in recent years thanks to the actions our government has taken,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We know this record is being challenged by external economic factors, but we will continue to take actions that lay the groundwork for long-term housing supply growth. Meanwhile, our government is also taking real steps to make life easier, stabler and more predictable for tenants and landlords alike.”

When evicting a tenant to use the unit themselves (or for their family), a landlord (or their family members) would have to move into the unit by a specific deadline.

When evicting a tenant to renovate a unit, landlords would be required to:

provide a report from a qualified person stating the unit must be vacant for renovations to take place
update the tenant on the status of the renovation in writing (if they plan to return)
give them a 60-day grace period to move back in, once the renovations are complete
If the landlord doesn’t allow the tenant to move back in at the same rent, the tenant would have two years after moving out, or six months after renovations are complete (whichever is longer), to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a remedy.

When a tenant is in arrears of rent, they may enter into a repayment agreement with their landlord to pay the rent they owe and avoid eviction. To make it easier for both tenants and landlords, the government is proposing to require use of the Landlord and Tenant Board’s plain language repayment agreement form. This would help ensure all parties better understand their rights and responsibilities.

The province remains focused on its long-term goal of creating 1.5 million homes by 2031, including rental homes. In October 2022, More Homes Built Faster introduced changes to reduce barriers for home builders to replace older, mid-sized rental apartments with larger, more modern rental buildings.

The government is consulting on changes that will help to create a balanced framework governing municipal rental replacement by-laws. For example, the government is considering requiring replacement units to have the same core features (e.g., number of bedrooms) as original units. The proposals would also give existing tenants the right to move into the new unit while paying the same rent. This would help protect affordable housing while encouraging the revitalization of older, deteriorating buildings and increasing rental housing supply.

Quick Facts
The Landlord and Tenant Board funding builds on the government’s April 2022 investment of $4.5 million over three years as part of the More Homes Built Faster: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan 2022-23, along with an additional $1.4 million in November 2022 to hire operational staff.
The province is proposing to double the maximum fines for offences under the Residential Tenancies Act (such as bad faith renovictions) to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations. Ontario has the highest fines in Canada for residential tenancy offences.
In 2022, Ontario broke ground on nearly 15,000 new purpose-built rentals, a 7.5 per cent increase from 2021 and the highest number on record.
The government has committed to releasing updates to its housing supply action plans every year to help address the housing supply crisis.

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