One of the biggest fears renters have is being priced out of their own homes. Landlords often increase rent to profit more from their tenants, or because they claim they need to do repairs or renovations.
But as a tenant, you have rights that protect you from suddenly being unable to afford your home.
When can my landlord increase my rent?
Your landlord is only allowed to increase rent once every 12 months:
since the day of the last rent increase if there’s been a previous increase; or
since the day you started renting the unit.
How do I get notified of a rent increase?
To raise your rent, your landlord must give you proper written notice at least 90 days (three months) in advance.
The written notice must be given through the proper form, which is available at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
A text message or phone call isn’t appropriate written notice, and as a tenant you have the right to ignore the rent increase until your landlord follows the due process.
How much can my rent increase by?
Your landlord can only increase your rent by a guideline set by the provincial government every year.
The guideline is calculated according to the Consumer Price Index. It is released no later than August 31 every year, and goes into effect on January 1 the following year.
The 2018 Rent Increase Guideline is 1.8%. So if your rent is $1000, for example, it can only go up by $18.
Note: If you move into a unit that's never been used as a residential space before November 15, 2018, then your landlord can increase your rent by however much they want once a year. For example, if you decide to rent a newly built basement apartment because it's more affordable than a condo or apartment, your landlord may choose to drastically increase the rent next year. New residential units won't be constrained by rent control.
Can my rent go up above the guideline?
If your landlord wishes to increase your rent above the rent increase guideline, they must first submit a request to the LTB.
The LTB will approve the above the guideline rent increase only if:
Municipal taxes in your area and charges have increased significantly
Major repairs or renovations are being done
Costs of external security services have increased or are being provided for the first time
You can do it!
It can be hard to find the courage to challenge someone who technically has the power to force you out of your home, especially if you’re young or a first-time renter. Here are some tips to help empower you to take a stand:
Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can about your rights as a tenant.
Be polite, but firm.
Make sure all your communication with your landlord has a paper trail. Even if you speak on the phone with them, send a follow-up email summarizing the conversation.
Use your support system. Lean on friends and family, and get advice from people who have similar experiences.