Note: The following information relates specifically to for-profit rental housing (renting from an individual or business corporation) in Ontario. This includes renting an apartment unit, a house, a rooming house, basement apartment, condo apartment, etc.
The rules for Social Housing (TCHC), Non-Profit housing, Co-operative housing, Student dormitories, shelters, jail/prison, care homes, renting from another renter (not a landlord), or renting a space where you share a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord can be different.
Sometimes the processes are the same, and sometimes they are completely different depending on the type of housing you live in. For questions related to these types of housing please call our tenant hotline or check this page for more info.
In addition to inflationary (guideline) rent increases, the law in Ontario also allows landlords to apply for “Above Guideline Rent Increases” or AGI’s.
Landlords are able to apply for a host of reasons including:
- Major capital work has been paid for and finished (balconies, elevators)
- Conservation programs have been paid for and finished (low energy lights, low-flow toilets)
- Safety elements have been paid for and finished (security cameras)
- Accessibility elements have been paid for and finished (wheel-chair ramps, automatic door openers
- There’s been an extraordinary increase in the landlords property taxes
For items 1 – 4, the maximum increase a landlord could ask for is 9% in any one application, however the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) will also force a landlord to spread such an increase out over three years. The maximum a landlord can receive in any one year would be 3%.
For example, if a landlord received a 9% increase in 2019, they could raise rent by 4.8% in 2019 (guideline of 1.8% for 2019 plus 3%), 5.2% in 2020 (guideline of 2.2% for 2020 plus 3%), plus an unknown amount in 2021 (the guideline has not yet been released).
There is no maximum increase for an application related to an extraordinary increase in the landlords property taxes, however most of those applications seek to raise the rent between 0.5% - 1.0% and are done via written submissions.
When a landlord can ask vs. When you have to pay
Landlords must be approved by the LTB for AGI in order to legally raise your rent, they cannot force you to pay for an AGI without an order from the LTB.
An interesting element of the law around these increases is that landlords can ask for the money after they have applied to the LTB but before the increase has been approved. There’s often a gap of several months in between applying and the hearing.
Additionally, if the landlord asks for the increase but it hasn’t been approved yet, the tenant doesn’t have to pay the “Above Guideline” portion (only the guideline amount).
The only issue with not paying is that if and when the increase is approved, the LTB could award back rent to your landlord for the period they asked but did not get the AGI.
Some tenants prefer to pay for the AGI and see if they get money back after the increase has been approved. Other tenants prefer to not give the landlord a cent until it’s legally owed. Ultimately the choice will be up to the tenant to decide when to pay or not.
Disputing an AGI
Tenants have many options in fighting an AGI that includes:
- doing nothing
- organizing to fight the AGI through self-represention
- organizing to self-fundraise to hire someone to fight an AGI
- Partnering up with your neighbours
- Working with the FMTA Outreach and Organizing team
The City of Toronto funds the FMTA Organizing and Outreach team to help tenants organize to dispute AGI’s and keep the rent at affordable levels. We help save millions in rent for tenants in Toronto every year. The Outreach team can outline your options and also help refer you to an appropriate legal service that might be able to help with your case.
If you’ve received notice of an AGI that hasn’t been approved yet by the LTB, our Outreach and Organizing Team can help. Call the Outreach Team at 416-413-9442 today to ask talk about your options in disputing an AGI including holding in a meeting in your building to discuss these options will all interested tenants.
More information on the Outreach and Organizing Team here.