The Ontario government has released its rent increase guideline for next year, setting 2.2 per cent as the maximum percentage a landlord can increase most tenants’ rent without approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board — the highest increase since 2013.
Starting Jan. 1, the 2020 guideline sets allowable rental increases at 2.2 per cent until Dec. 31. That means those paying $2,000 a month for a unit in Ontario could have their rent increased to $2,044 a month.
The guideline, which the province calculates using the Ontario Consumer Price index, which measures inflation and economic conditions over a year, applies to most private residential rental units, excluding vacant residential units, social housing, nursing homes and commercial properties, says the Ontario government website.
The guideline also does not apply to new buildings or apartments, including new basement units, that were occupied for the first time after Nov. 15, 2018, following the Ford government’s removal of rent control on such units last fall.
“(The increase is) relatively small, but what it means is the senior who’s already living on a fixed pension and is living on the line, this increase could push them out,” said Geordie Dent, executive director of Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association.
While the rental increase guideline is meant to help landlords cover cost of inflation, Dent said, there are scenarios where landlords’ profits are going up more than their costs.
“The landlord gets the increase just because the government decided to give them one, not because they need it,” he said.
Most people would be willing to pay an increase in rent if it meant the building is being kept well and services are improving, Dent said. However, he says that’s often not the case.