I’ve heard from many of you that being a renter in Toronto is becoming increasingly difficult and it feels like your budget is being squeezed tighter every month. While we appreciate that guideline rent increases have been capped, Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs) for basic upkeep and repairs have pushed rents that were already steep into the unaffordable range. In addition, the low vacancy rate has made it nearly impossible to find lower-cost alternatives elsewhere. No Torontonian should be forced to choose between paying rent and buying groceries, but that’s the unfortunate choice too many of us are facing.
It’s time for real action to protect tenants!
Stop Unfair Rent Hikes
An AGI is a rent increase above the “Guideline” increase that a landlord can apply for through the Landlord and Tenant Board to cover the cost of capital repairs such as replacing elevators or balconies. As a result of this provincial law, tenants are being unfairly burdened for the landlord’s cost of doing business. Landlords already receive guideline increases and further rent hikes from vacancy decontrol to deal with their costs. Repairs should be included as part of a landlord’s overall expenses and paid for from the significant rent they already receive.
Landlords should be required to maintain the building and pay for maintenance as needed, not be given incentive to let their buildings deteriorate and then place huge bills on the backs of tenants. They should be mandated to save 20% of rental income for a maintenance account that they can then access for capital expenditures instead of getting tenants to fund the projects. A similar requirement is already in place for condominiums.
Stop Spiralling Rents in Newer Buildings
Property owners of older buildings are bound by the Guideline rent increase when setting their cost to tenants. However, renters in apartments built after November 1, 1991 have no such protection. Landlords of these newer apartments are free to raise rents as much as they want with minimal notice.
Most new buildings constructed in Toronto over the past decade have been condominiums, yet many are being rented out and that trend is increasing. There were 31 per cent more condo units rented in the first quarter of 2013 than in 2012. Rents in these units increased 4.4% during the same period.
Toronto’s population is expected to grow by 160,000 over the next 10 years with just as many new condo or apartment units added. The provincial government needs to end the exemption for buildings constructed after 1991 to protect current and future tenants from spiralling rents.
Is your rent too high?
Are you afraid you will no longer be able to afford your apartment?
Looking for an apartment and unable to find a home that you can afford?
You are not alone. Average rents have risen $80 per month for a one bedroom in just the last four years – higher in the old City of Toronto. That’s almost $1000 a year extra at a time when wages have stagnated. Please write to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and your Member of Provincial Parliament. Tell them:
- Many upgrades and repairs landlords want to do should be the regular “price of doing business” and should not be forced onto tenants to pay for. Landlords should be required to pay for maintenance as needed through the high rents they already receive.
- Please get rid of unfair Above the Guideline Rent increases
- End the exemption from rent control for apartments built or first occupied after 1991
The Honourable Chris Ballard
Minister of Housing
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5
Please copy my office at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can keep track of the numbers of emails sent.
Contacting Your Local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)
Toronto has 22 MPPs who sit in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park. It is important to let your local MPP know that AGIs are an important issue to you.
|Beaches—East York||Arthur Potts|
|Don Valley East||Michael Coteau|
|Don Valley West||Kathleen Wynne|
|Etobicoke Centre||Yvan Baker|
|Etobicoke North||Shafiq Qaadri|
|Parkdale—High Park||Cheri DiNovo|
|Pickering—Scarborough East||Tracy MacCharles|
|Scarborough Centre||Brad Duguid|
|Scarborough Southwest||Lorenzo Berardinetti|
|Scarborough—Rouge River||Bas Balkissoon|
|St. Paul’s||Eric Hoskins|
|Toronto Centre||Glen Murray|
|York Centre||Monte Kwinter|
|York South—Weston||Laura Albanese|
|York West||Mario Sergio|
If you don’t know the name of your MPP or your local electoral district, you can search by postal code here. You are also very welcome to write or call me (at 416 392 7906) for assistance contacting your local MPP.
Standing up for Tenants’ Rights
Please visit my webpage on Tenants’ Issues to find additional resources and to learn more about my work to defend your rights as a tenant. I have also written a column for the Town Crier about the urgent need for AGI reform and some other initiatives to benefit tenants that I am defending at City Hall.