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How much can my rent go up?

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How much can my rent go up?

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Reviewed: 
April, 2017
Answer

In most cases, your landlord can only raise your rent by a percentage called the "guideline".

The rent increase guideline

The guideline is set by the government. By the end of each August, the government announces the guideline for the next calendar year.

For rent increases in 2017, the guideline is 1.5%. In 2016, it was 2.0%.

Your landlord must also wait 12 months between increases. And your landlord must give you a written notice at least 90 days before your rent goes up.

Above-guideline increases

Your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval to raise the rent by more than the guideline.

Exceptions

The rent increase guideline doesn't apply to all rental units. If your unit is not covered by the guideline, your landlord can raise your rent by as much as they want. But they must still give you 90 days' written notice and wait 12 months between increases.

1. Find out if you're covered by the guideline

Most rental housing is covered by the guideline rule but there are some exceptions. Here are some of the types of rental housing that are not covered by the guideline:

  • a unit where the rent is subsidized or based on the tenant's income,
  • a unit that was never occupied for any purpose before June 17, 1998 (NOTE: The government has announced it is introducing a bill that, if passed, will remove this exception, effective April 20, 2017),
  • a building that had no one living in it before November 1, 1991 (NOTE: The government has announced it is introducing a bill that, if passed, will remove this exception, effective April 20, 2017), and
  • a unit where the tenant has to share kitchen or bathroom with the landlord. (And in this situation, the landlord doesn't have to give you 90 days' written notice and doesn't have to wait 12 months between increases.)

If your landlord has given you a Notice of Rent Increase, check to see if it is on a Form N1 or Form N2. A Form N2 means your landlord believes you are not covered by the guideline. The form does not require the landlord to say why they think you are not covered, so you should ask them if you are not sure of the reason.

If you are not sure if you are covered or if your landlord has used the right form, check with a lawyer or legal clinic.

If you are not covered by the guideline, and the landlord has given proper notice of the increase, you will have to pay the new rent unless you can get your landlord to agree to a lower amount.

Reviewed: 
April, 2017
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2. Check if your increase is within the guideline

If you are covered by the rent increase guideline, then the Notice of Rent Increase (Form N1) must show you the increase as a percentage. It also must tell you if the increase is within the guideline for the year.

You can find the guideline for the year on the Board's website.

Your landlord must follow the guideline for the year in which your increase starts. For example, if your landlord gave you a notice in September 2016 that your rent will go up on January 1, 2017, they must use the 2017 guideline amount.

For rent increases in 2017, the guideline is 1.5%. In 2016, it was 2.0%.

Reviewed: 
November, 2016
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3. Check if your landlord has applied for a larger increase

If you are covered by the guideline, and the landlord wants to increase your rent by more than the guideline, then the landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The Notice of Rent Increase should be on a Form N1. The form must tell you that:

  • the landlord has applied for approval, or
  • the Board has already approved the increase.

If the landlord has applied, you should receive a separate notice about this. You and other affected tenants have the right to oppose your landlord's application.

If the Board has already approved the increase, you should have received notice about the landlord's application and you should have received a copy of the Board's order approving the increase.

If you didn't get a notice about your landlord's application to the Board, contact the Board to ask if your landlord has applied.

Reviewed: 
October, 2016
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4. Decide if you want to stay or move

If the increase needs to be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board, you have the right to oppose it.

If the increase is legal and doesn't need approval, you will probably have to pay it unless you can negotiate a lower increase with your landlord.

If you want to move out instead of paying the increased rent, you will have to give proper notice or take other steps to make sure you do not have to keep paying after you leave. Most tenants have to give 60 days' notice to move out, and that is why landlords are required to give 90 days' notice to increase the rent.

If you decide to stay, you don't have to sign any papers or do anything else. If your lease is expiring, your landlord might ask you to sign a new one for another term or a fixed term such as a year. But you do not have to do this if you don't want to. If you don't sign a new lease, you automatically stay as a monthly or weekly tenant.

Reviewed: 
December, 2016
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Learn more about this topic
Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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