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How often can a landlord increase the rent?
Your landlord can only increase your rent once every 12 months. They must also give you written notice at least 90 days before the rent goes up.
When you enter a rental agreement for the first time, the landlord decides the amount of rent you will pay and what services (hydro, parking, etc.) are included. Sometimes, you can negotiate what bills will be included in the rent but it is ultimately their decision. Although rental housing prices are based on current market prices in Ontario, there are no limitations to what a landlord may ask for rent.
The market price for a unit can be significantly higher than what the tenant before you paid. There is no maximum amount of rent that a landlord can charge a new tenant, with the exception of non-profit housing like: rent-geared-to-income (RGI) or subsidized, co-ops, and some student housing.
Ontario is a rent-controlled province for the most part, with a few exceptions. This means that a landlord can only increase your rent by a limited amount each year. Newer buildings are not rent controlled and landlords do not need to follow the same guidelines.
How much can my landlord increase the rent?
Once you've completed the first 12 months on the lease, your landlord can only increase your rent by a limited percentage. This maximum increase amount is based on the yearly guideline limits set out by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and it is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index.
In 2020, the limit was 2.2%.
In 2021, the limit was 0% due to the pandemic
In 2022, the limit will be 1.2%
In some cases landlords can apply to The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for approval to raise your rent above the guide limits. For example, the LTB might approve a higher increase if your landlord has made large repairs or installed a security system.
What is not rent controlled?
New residential apartment buildings, condos or houses that were occupied for the first time as of November 15, 2018 are not rent controlled. Landlords can increase the rent year-to-year to whatever they want and they are not required to follow any guideline. They must however, wait 12 months before they can request an increase
This also applies to residences that were newly built and occupied as of November 15, 2018 like:
- apartment additions to existing buildings or houses
- basement apartments
- mobile home parks and land lease community
- a self-contained unit in a house that already had up to two residential units
Note: Rent freeze exceptions apply for 2021.
Always read your lease carefully before you sign anything for the first time and ask questions about when the unit was built and first occupied to determine if the place will be rent controlled or not. Some landlords are more flexible and you can negotiate specific terms ahead of time to be listed into the rental contract. For example: "Increase after the first 12 months will be no more than 4%" so always ask if you plan to stay in a place for a long term.
Pandemic Exemption - 2021 Rent Freeze
The Government of Ontario passed legislation to freeze rents at 2020 levels and will not increase in 2021 for the majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act. This will be in effect until December 31, 2021.
The rent freeze applies to most tenants living in:
- rented houses, apartments and condos (including units occupied for the first time for residential purposes after November 15, 2018)
- basement apartments
- care homes (including retirement homes)
- mobile home parks
- land lease communities
- rent-geared-to-income units and market rent units in community housing
- affordable housing units created through various federally and/or provincially funded programs
For rent increases that will take effect in 2022, landlords can give full 90 days’ notice beforehand.
Exceptions to this are:
- If special considerations increases were already approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board before October 1, 2020
- Tenants and landlords can still agree on rent increases in exchange for an extra service or facility (for example, air conditioning or parking).
For More Information
- Rent Increases - This guide explains how a landlord can increase a tenant's rent according to the Residential Tenancies Act. From Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).
- Navigate Tribunals Ontario- With this online tool from the Landlord and Tenant Board you can customize your search to access resources on your rights and responsibilities. The tool is designated to help you navigate the rules set out by the Landlord and Tenant Board.
- Landlord and Tenant Board - Provides information about the Residential Tenancies Act and how to resolve disputes between most residential landlords and tenants.
- What Tenants Need to Know About the Law - Topics covered include rent increases, deposits, and other charges, repairs and maintenance, privacy, moving out, and eviction. From Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).
September 14, 2021