Changes To The Residential Tenancies Act, Bill 184: Landlords and Tenants Beware
Bill 184, Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020, received Royal Assent on July 21, 2020, and has made some important changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The RTA governs the relationship between residential landlords and tenants, and Bill 184’s changes will affect this relationship.
Notable Changes To the Residential Tenancies Act
1. A landlord can now bring a number of different applications to the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) after the tenant has moved out of the rental unit.
For example: A landlord can bring an application for:
- Arrears of rent
- The use and occupation of a unit by an overholding tenant
- Compensation for interference with the landlord’s reasonable use or enjoyment of the residential complex
- Unpaid utility costs owed by the tenant/former tenant
- Compensation for damage to the rental unit
Before Bill 184, once the tenant moved out, a landlord’s only recourse for any of the above would be in Small Claims Court, which is generally more costly and time consuming than the LTB. However, now a landlord can bring any of the above applications to the LTB for up to one year after the tenant has vacated the unit.
- An illegal rent increase will now be deemed legal if the tenant does not challenge the increase within 12 months.
Therefore, if after paying the increased rent for 12 months the tenant discovers that the increase was illegal (i.e. above the guideline amount), the tenant can no longer bring an application to the LTB disputing the rent increase.
Accordingly, tenants should carefully read their Notice of Rent Increase and confirm that the amount is within the annual rent guideline posted on the Government of Ontario’s Website.
- Tenants must now provide the landlord with advance written notice if they are going to raise any issue that could be the subject of a Tenant Application at a LTB hearing for a Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent.
Before Bill 184, a tenant could raise any issue at the hearing without giving the landlord prior notice. For example, a common issue raised by tenants is that the landlord has failed to make necessary repairs to the unit, which could potentially reduce the amount of arrears of rent that the LTB orders the tenant to pay. If the tenant does not provide the landlord with the appropriate notice, they may be required to file a separate tenant application against the landlord to have their issues heard.
- Landlords are now required to provide tenants with additional information and compensation when giving tenants a notice of termination on behalf of a purchaser or when terminating the tenancy for the purposes of demolition, conversion to non-residential use, or for the purpose of repairs or renovations.
A landlord who gives a notice of termination on behalf of a purchaser is now required to compensate the tenant in an amount equal to one month’s rent, or to offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to them. Before Bill 184, this affidavit could be presented to the LTB on the day of the hearing.
Furthermore, now the landlord must file an affidavit at the same time that they file an application for an order terminating the tenancy because the landlord or a family member personally requires the unit, or because a purchaser personally requires the unit, or they risk having to delay closing a deal to sell their rental property.
- The LTB now has the ability to order the landlord to pay heavier fines and additional compensation to tenants if the LTB determines that the landlord gave the tenant a notice of termination in bad faith.
As a result of Bill 184, a landlord may be ordered to pay general compensation to a former tenant up to an amount equivalent to 12 months’ rent if the LTB determines that the landlord gave the notice of termination in bad faith.
Additionally, the maximum fines of $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for corporations are now increased to $50,000 and $250,000 respectively. As such, it can be an expensive mistake if a landlord gives a tenant an impromptu notice of termination.
For more information about Bill 184, the RTA, and how to protect your rights as either a tenant or a landlord, contact the experts at Brown Beattie O’Donovan.
Author: Connor Cosma