New resources available on the FMTA resource section!
This handbook provides general information on the nature of a not-for-profit corporation and guidelines on how to incorporate such a corporation. This handbook examines the most relevant section of the Corporations Act and its regulations. This guide provides only general information intended to serve as a general guide, and not as a substitute for legal advice or consultation with an accountant for financial matters.
Click here for the full resource!
Many people believe that they cannot be evicted in the winter months. This is false, says this Learn Law fact sheet, and it lists the rules set out by Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act that a landlord must follow to evict a tenant. It also explains the eviction procedure and what the rights of tenants are in this procedure.
Produced by Community Advocacy & Legal Centre
The Fall/Winter 2012 issue of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre newsletter is devoted to housing. Articles include:
¬∑ My landlord wants me to pay 6 months rent in advance because I am new to Canada. Can he do that?
¬∑ How are my housing rights protected under Ontario's Human Rights Code?
¬∑ The following types of rental ads are discriminatory under Ontario's Human Rights Code:
¬∑ Mediated settlements negotiated by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre
¬∑ Accessibility improvements must be made to individual units
¬∑ Landlord has obligations with respect to other tenants
¬∑ Decisions of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario where the human rights claimant was represented by a lawyer from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre
¬∑ Other significant Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decisions on housing
Human Rights: Discrimination in Housing
December 10 is Human Rights Day, which celebrates the United Nations' adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
To mark the date, this month's On the Radar talks about one of the most important human rights ‚Äì freedom from discrimination ‚Äì in relation to one of the most basic human needs ‚Äì housing.
The Ontario Human Rights Code
In Ontario, the main law that aims to prevent discrimination is the Human Rights Code. It applies to areas like housing, employment, and buying and selling goods and services. All types of housing are covered except where occupants must share kitchen or bathroom facilities with the owner or the owner's family.
The Human Rights Code says that everyone must be treated equally, and not discriminated against or harassed because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability. These personal characteristics are sometimes called "grounds" of discrimination.
Most people are familiar with some of these grounds, and would not be surprised to learn that the law says, for example, that landlords cannot refuse to rent to someone because of the colour of their skin, the country they come from, or their sexual orientation. But some forms of discrimination are not as widely known or understood. Below are some examples.
Discrimination often happens in unintentional or indirect ways: an apartment might be unavailable to someone who uses a wheelchair because the unit or the building is not accessible, or the landlord might have strict noise rules that are unfair to tenants with children.
In situations like these, the law says the landlord must take all necessary steps to meet the needs of those tenants, except steps that would cause "undue hardship" for the landlord. Sometimes this means making physical changes to the unit or building, and sometimes it means changing a rule or practice.
For example, landlords cannot refuse to rent to people with no Canadian credit history, because this is more likely to exclude newcomers and young people. Landlords must use other ways of assessing whether a tenant is likely to be reliable about paying the rent.
Being on social assistance:
There is one ground of discrimination that is prohibited only in housing and that is "receipt of public assistance". This means that landlords cannot treat people differently, for example, by refusing to rent to them or requiring a guarantor's signature, just because they are getting welfare or any other form of public assistance.
New grounds: gender expression and gender identity
The Human Rights Code was expanded in 2012 to expressly prohibit discrimination and harassment against transgender or transsexual (trans), and gender non-conforming people. This protection includes anyone who experiences or expresses their gender identity differently from what society generally expects for the sex they were assigned at birth.
Legal remedies for discrimination
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has the power to make decisions and order remedies in most cases of discrimination.
But in some situations, it may be better for a tenant to raise the human rights issue at the Landlord and Tenant Board, especially if it is connected to something the Board normally deals with, such as eviction or maintenance.
Tenants should get legal advice before deciding which route to take, and to see whether the situation can be resolved without legal action.
Note: On The Radar is a monthly newsletter published by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).
For more information, please contact:
- The tenant Hotline: 416-921-9494
- Centre for Equality Rights in Accomodation: 416-944-0087
This year, over 136,000 rent reductions are going out to tenants in the City of Toronto.
Go to the City of Toronto's website to learn more and see if you qualify for a rent reduction.
You can also call the Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494.
The following are the most common questions faced by the FMTA:
1. Do I need to ask my landlord to take the reduction?
No. The reduction is automatic. You do not need to ask your landlord or obtain their permission. You can simply pay them less when you pay your rent.
2. My landlord is not giving me the reduction. How can I get them to do so?
Your landlord does not give you the reduction, the reduction is automatic. You can simply reduce the money off your rent and you do not have to ask their approval.
3. The notice I got says that my rent has been reduced to $800, is this true?
There is an example in the notice which assumes a rent of $800. This is only an example. Your reduction is based off of whatever your rent was last month.
4. How do I calculate what my new rent is?
There are several ways to calculate your new rent.
a) You can call the Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494 and we can do the calculation for you.
b) Use the hand written formula available on your rent reduction notice.
c) If you have a calculator with a % button, you can simply punch in your current rent, hit the minus button, punch in the reduction percentage and hit the % button.
d) Go to the City's rent reduction website: Click here find your building!
5. I got notice of a rent increase a few months ago and notice of a rent reduction recently. How can I have a rent increase and rent reduction at the same time?
Provincial law allows landlords in Ontario to increase the rent once every 12 months. In 2013, landlords will be able to increase rent by 2.5%. Provincial law also forces all municipalities to reduce a tenant's rent when a landlord's taxes go down by 2.5% or more. It is quite common for tenants to receive a rent increase and rent reduction in the same year, and sometimes even on the same day. In these cases, a tenant's rent will go down by the rent reduction percentage and then go up by the rental increase percentage.
6. My landlord says that they will be challenging the reduction and I therefore should not take it. Is this true?
All landlord's are able to apply to challenge rent reductions at the Landlord and Tenant Board. They have until March 31, 2013 to apply, though the case may not be heard until much later in the year. Until the Landlord and Tenant Board says otherwise, you can take your reduction immediately if you wish.
You can also choose to pay your old rent and then claim your reduction (and any money owed to you) retroactively at any point in 2013. So you could choose to wait and see if your landlord will challenge the reduction before you take it.
Remember, you must claim the reduction before the end of 2013.
7. The Landlord says I have to give them a copy of the rent reduction notice before I can claim the rent reduction. Is this true?
No. The landlord received notification of the rent reductions in September. You are not required to give them a notice even if they demand it. You can simply reduce your rent by the amount on the notice.
8. The Landlord says the notice doesn't apply to me. Is this true?
No. The notice does apply to you. If you are a tenant in a long term care home, if you receive a rent subsidy, or if you live in a non-profit building, the rent reduction may affect you differently then other tenants. For more information please call the Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494.
9. How do I check to see if I got the rent reduction myself?
All tenants can call the FMTA tenant hotline at 416-921-9494 to calculate their rent reductions. In addition, tenants can find out more information about rent reductions and search for their rent reduction on the City rent reduction website. Click here!
Top Five Tenant Gripes about Condo Landlords
Tenants face unique challenges when they rent condo units. In this article, which appeared recently in the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine, The FMTA discusses top five ways in which landlords fail condo tenants:
The Problem: Raising Rent
Condos built after 1991 are exempt from rent guidelines which means landlords can raise rent whatever they want. Sometimes, condo rents can be as much as 40% higher than in other buildings.
The Problem: Repairs
While tenants are supposed to go to their landlords with maintenance problems, who in turn have to go to the condo board: Landlords often try and skirt around the issue by sending tenants directly to the condo board which can lead to complications .
The Problem: Communications with the condo board
While each condo corporation has its unique “rules and regs,” landlords often keep quiet about deposits or other fees or misinform tenants about the condo regulations which leads to trouble.
The Problem: Pets in Units
Landlords fail their tenants by omitting to put down a deposit or make other provisions (where allowed by the condo corporation) which might allow condo tenants to keep pets in their units. Instead many landlords issue a blanket “no pets” provision and deny tenants their rights.
The problem: Emergencies
Many condo tenants find themselves living in dank and moldy units when condo landlords fail to respond to emergencies (such as floods or fires) quickly.
To celebrate National Housing Day 2012, the Wellesley Institute Published a flip sheet outlining three major housing facts all Canadians should know. These are:
- Canada has no national housing plan and federal investment in housing continues to erode.
- Precarious housing and homelessness remains deep and persistent in every part of Canada and has a large, adverse impact on individual and population health.
- There are smart and successful housing solutions within Canada that can be replicated throughout the country.
To read more and to download the flip sheet,
Would you like to learn more about landlord and tenant law?
Do your clients deal with housing problems?
Registration for the January- February 2013 Tenant School is now open. Sign up by completing the registration form and returning it to:
Howard Tessler- Tenant School Coordinator
[email protected]; Fax: 416-921-4177; Phone: 416-413-9442
In October, the FMTA was featured in several sources talking about low vacancy rates and tips on looking for housing:
With low vacancy rates in many major cities, including Toronto, renters have been driven to desperation and forced to settle for less-than-ideal apartment conditions and unreliable landlords. The article also talks about ways to avoid rental fraud and goes into tips for looking for an apartment.
Considerable challenges face students looking for housing in the middle of October who are faced with long waiting lists for student residence and few choices in rental housing as vacancy rates have been the lowest in a decade. The article talks about reasons for the low vacancy, attempts by unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of the situation and the challenges faced by young and first-time renters.