It is a good day for tenants.
Long sought-after changes to the tenancy laws have been announced today by the Province. The FMTA - including Tenant Associations, individial members and the Board of Directors - has been pushing for decades for many of the tenant protections announced today.
The changes announced have been made possible by good old-fashioned campaign work from our members and volunteers, GTA ACORN, the Advocacy Centre for Tenants of Ontario, Generation Squeeze, RentLogic, MPP's, City Councillors and a host of other agencies and individuals pushing to improve tenant rights.
The changes include:
1. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991.
This creates one system of rent control for in Ontario and brings 100,000's of units under rent control. The FMTA has been working on ending the two-tiered system of rent control since our founding in 1977. It was the first campaign of one of our main founders, Nelson Clarke. He would be proud to see this exemption finally ended.
2. Developing a standard lease
This has been a main FMTA campaign since 2012 and will prevent a host of illegal charges and provisions for tenants throughout the Province.
3. Tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions
Our members in Toronto and allies around the Province in Ottawa, St. Catherines, Owen Sound, Thunder Bay and other municipalities have highlighted this as an issue of major importance with tenants facing constant abuse. We're excited to see provisions brought in to protect against 'bad faith' evictions.
4. Prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed
Reform to legislation that allows for Above Guideline Rent Increases is one of the most common demands we here from tenants in Toronto. We are happy to see landlords restricted from getting tenants to pay for improving their asset and are hopeful that other changes get brought in to further limit a landlords ability to pass these costs along to tenants while keeping high profits and claiming a tax reduction for the work that tenants pay for.
5. Actions to Increase Housing Supply
By far the most important need in the Province is increased supply of rental housing in general and affordable housing specifically. Many of the provisions today will help protect tenants in the short term, but the only way to tackle affordability in the long-term would be to increased supply of housing which would create more options for low-income tenants to afford. Any actions to increase supply are positive, but investment such as that which was done in the 1970's - 90's by the Federal Government is key.
While the FMTA is very happy to see protections extended to millions of tenants, the housing crisis will not be solved today. Increased investment in housing development is needed either directly or through well-tested government incentives. Hundreds of low-income government units are being shuttered. Tenants continue to demand a fair deal including the re - introduction of vacancy rent control, elimination of AGI's, strong penalities for landlords who break the law, expanded programs which help low-income tenants find and keep housing and improved repair and living conditions.
The FMTA will continue to push for improved conditions for tenants, but we remain excited today. Tenants have been brought under one system control and one system of contracts.
Together We Are Strong!