Late yesterday afternoon (August 28th, 2020) the Minister of Housing released a statement signaling the Ford Government’s intention to freeze guideline rent increases for 2021. The rent control bill is to be introduced when the legislature resumes sitting on September 14th, 2020.

The Ministry was required to calculate and publicize the rent
control guideline for the coming year by August 31st. Typically the
guideline has been announced in the spring each year; however, the delay and
ultimate decision follows a number of ill conceived, knee jerk reactions to the
COVID pandemic that have become the hallmark of this government.

At this point no details have been provided with respect to the
impact on previously approved Above Guideline Rent Increase (“AGI”)
Orders and pending AGI applications where the increase would be implemented in
2021. Nor has there been any definitive decision about increases for post 2018
exempt rent control properties.

Many Landlords have deferred issuing rent increases since March
2020, out of concern for the impact on their tenants during COVID. They now
have a very limited window of opportunity in which to salvage an increase by
issuing Notices of Rent Increase for December 1st, 2020. The
deadline to serve a rent increase (N1/N2 Notice) is September 2nd,
2020 – to meet the prescribed 90 day notice period. Landlords that chose to
exercise their right to serve an increase should ensure they meet the delivery
requirements under the Rules (it is too late to serve the notice of rent increase
by regular mail!).

Although the Minster’s statement indicates that consultation
will be held with landlord & tenant groups, the government’s actions have
once again blindsided the rental housing industry.

Stay tuned as more details become available.

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