Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act That Every Tenant Should Know
You might have heard about it as the “Eviction Bill” of 2020 when it reached Royal Assent at the height of the pandemic. Eventually, the masses have dubbed this Bill as pro-landlord as its defined amendments will affect tenants specifically. Now that it is being mandated and decreed in Ontario, how will these new changes to the law affect tenants and landlords alike? Our paralegal firm here at Oracle Legal Services would like to answer this question and more.
Here’s the rundown on the 5 changes in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 that you should know about:
1. Repayment Agreement Outside of the LTB (Landlord and Tenant Board)
What’s in it for me? Prior to this change, evictions were done through applications at the LTB. These applications go through the due process of mediation and can go all the way to a hearing wherein evidence is presented and witnesses are questioned before the final decision.
How will this affect me? Agreements when it comes to rent repayments can now be done outside of the LTB. Which means that the landlord and tenant can agree on a repayment plan through their own accord, and if the tenant happens to breach this agreement the landlord is permitted to seek an eviction order for the infraction no questions asked.
2. Landlords and Prior Tenants
What’s in it for me? Before the change Landlords can only bring cases against former tenants via the Small Claims Court, which in turn deters most landlords being that they have to go through another application and a different process with varying fees to be dealt with.
How will this affect me? With the recent change, landlords are now given 12 months after a tenant vacates the property to file a case against them at the LTB. This law will make it easier for landlords to file an application against former tenants, which was not the case before.
3. Advance Notice for s.82 Defense for Arrears Hearing
What’s in it for me? The most common issue that tenants face are problematic apartment units that needed repairs but have fallen on deaf ears. Not all tenants are informed that they could file for rent arrears if repairs or problems in the unit are left unresolved (Example: pest issues, heating, plumbing, etc.)
How will this affect me? It was hard enough that tenants are not legally savvy to know that they have a right to rent arrears. But with the recent change to the law, tenants are now expected to file for advance notice to inform and explain the problems in the unit to its landlord prior to a hearing. The dilemma here is most tenants are self-represented in the majority of LTB applications. This change calls for tenants to prepare an advance notice for issues that they will raise at the hearing which most people do not have a time for unless they hire legal representation.
4. Illegal rent increase after 12 months
What’s in it for me? Generally speaking, a tenant can challenge any rent increase if he/she thinks that there is an error in calculations.
How will this affect me? If a tenant does not challenge any rent inflation within 12 months of paying for it, any illegal increase will be deemed legal by the LTB after a year. What is the reason for this? Typically, a tenant is given a 90-day notice of rental increase by their landlord. If left unquestioned it is assumed that the tenant has accepted the new rent. In this new law, any responsibility of checking if the increase is legal will rest upon the tenant’s own scrutiny.
5. Compensation and Fines for “no-fault evictions”
What’s in it for me? This is one of the changes in the RTA that most people will consider as pro-tenant because it enhances provisions in regard to bad faith evictions.
How will this affect me? Just the general gist of this alteration, successful applications to LTB by tenants in regard to bad faith evictions are now entitled to a remedy called “general compensation” which is an amount not exceeding 12 month’s rent. This will be on top of additional remedies available to the tenant such as rent differential. One major change though is attributed to illegal eviction fines which the RTA doubled up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for corporations.
All of these changes can have quite a drastic effect on the dynamic between landlords and tenants. If you are dealing with problems due to these changes or otherwise and are in need of landlord and tenant paralegal help in Toronto, we here at Oracle Legal Services can help. To learn more, be sure to call our team at 647-872-3484 today.