April 22, 2004 For Immediate Release
The release of the Government Tenancy Reform Consultation Paper has started an overdue debate on the fairest system for tenants and landlords.
Tenants have suffered under the mis-named Tenant Protection Act for six years. The announcement that the most unfair part of that act for sitting tenants will be eliminated for 2005 was welcome. The annual guideline will be reduced by 2%.
The Government also signals an end to vacancy de-control which has driven rents up hundreds of dollars. There are also strong signals that a fairer system to deal with evictions and other disputes will be implemented.
But the paper is weak on the issue of stopping Above Guideline Increases. Tenants in thousands of apartment buildings have experienced unfair and unjust and compounding rent increases based on capital expenditures or temporary jumps in utility costs (already included in the guideline).
The current system allows expenditures without regard to best business practices, historical data, neglect, and other circumstances. Once put in the rent, it stays in the rent and compounds annually. There is no provision for costs no longer borne and the paper gives that issue short shrift.
"This rent freeze is a beginning, but we have a lot of work to do with the tenants of Toronto to achieve the best possible system", stated Vivienne Loponen, Chair of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Association.
Loponen added "To their credit, the government has issued a true discussion paper. We will be encouraging all tenants to have their say."