What is the Tenant Defence Fund?
Tenant Defence Fund is a program established by the City of Toronto that helps tenants preserve affordable rental housing. The Fund supports a Tenant Support Grant Program and a Tenant Outreach and Organizing Program.
- The Tenant Support Grant Program provides direct grants to tenant groups wishing to challenge their landlord’s application for a rent increase above the guideline (AGI) demolition of their buildings, conversion of their buildings to condominiums and other applications determined on a case-by-case basis. The grants cover the costs of hiring legal or technical professionals to help tenant groups prepare for the challenge and represent them at the legal proceedings.
- The Outreach and Organizing Program helps tenant groups to organize and prepare for hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board for rent increase disputes, or at the Ontario Municipal Board for demolitions and condo conversion matters. The Outreach and Organizing Program helps tenants with other matters as needed. The Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA) is contracted by the City of Toronto to provide the outreach and organizing services.
Tenant Support Grant Program
Who can apply?
Support Grants are only issued to groups of tenants living in private market housing. Individual tenants and tenants living in subsidized housing are not eligible. Tenants need to work with other tenants in the building as a group to apply for a grant. The City strongly encourages tenants to form a tenants’ association and set up a bank account to deposit any money they may receive from the grant in order to pay their legal representatives and/or technical expert witnesses.
To qualify for a grant, a minimum number of tenants must be affected by the landlord’s AGI, demolition or condo conversion application, or other issue. Affected tenants need to sign the tenants’ petition in the grant application form. If there are fewer than 100 units in your complex, at least 50% of the affected tenants must sign the petition; if there are 100 or more units, at least 33% must sign.
Those who sign the petition must rent at or below a specified rent for their unit (“qualifying rent”). If there are fewer than 100 units in your complex, at least 50% of the affected tenants must rent at, or below, the qualifying rent for their unit type. If there are 100 or more units, at least 33% must rent at, or below, the qualifying rent. The reason for setting the qualifying rents is to help target the grants to buildings with affordable rents.The qualifying rents for 2011 are:
- Bachelor apartment $895
- One-bedroom apartment $1,093
- Two-bedroom apartment $1,305
- Three-bedroom or larger apartment $1,548
Please note there are other eligibility criteria on the grant application forms. Applications for funds to defence on issues other than a landlord’s AGI, demolition or condo conversion application will require a detailed request and Council approval.
What is the maximum amount of grants tenants may get from the Tenant Support Grant Program?
Tenant groups may receive up to $1,000 to cover the basic costs of disputing a landlord’s AGI application. Some groups may receive an additional grant up to $5,000 to cover costs of professional services (e.g. lawyer, engineer, account) for more complex AGI cases. Groups may receive up to $10,000 for more complex legal issues such as launching an appeal to the Divisional Court on a Board Order concerning AGIs or requesting a judicial review of an AGI application. Groups who contest applications for demolitions or condo conversions before the Ontario Municipal Board may receive up to $15,000.
What information is needed for an application?
Each application form has three parts:
- information about the building and the reasons for the dispute or appeal
- an estimate of expenses and the reasons for them
- a petition of tenants supporting the dispute or appeal.
In addition, a complete application package should include:
- a copy of the landlord’s application for an AGI, demolition or condo conversion, or other legal issue
- proof of rent for each tenant affected by the landlord’s application (e.g. rent roll for your complex, rent receipts or Notices of Rent Increase)
- a Notice of Hearing from the Landlord and Tenant Board, OMB or Divisional Court (if available).
What if we have questions about the application or need help?
Contact the FMTA Outreach Team at 416- 413-9442. They can help you prepare an application.
Where do we get an application?
- Download the Application for Basic Tenant Support Grant (PDF) or the Application for Additional Grant (PDF)
- Download the Tenant Support Grant Program Fact Sheet (PDF)
Where do we send the completed application form?
Please send completed application forms to:
City of Toronto
Shelter, Support & Housing Administration Division
55 John Street, Metro Hall, 6th Floor
Toronto ON M5V 3C6
Attention: Administrative Co-ordinator, Housing and Homelessness Supports and Initiatives