Rent freeze for 2021

Feb. 14, 2021:

The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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

While the rent freeze will end on December 31, 2021, landlords can give proper 90 days’ notice beforehand for a rent increase that takes effect in 2022.

Exceptions

  • Above guideline increases approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board prior to October 1, 2020 may be applied to 2021 rents. New above guideline increases may still be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board and may still be applied to 2021 rents if they are for costs related to eligible capital repairs and security services, but not if they are for extraordinary increases in municipal taxes and charges.
  • Tenants and landlords can still agree on rent increases in exchange for an extra service or facility (for example, air conditioning or parking)

Residential rent increases

Learn about the rules for rent, including rent increase guidelines and resolving issues about rent control.

Rules for rent increase

In most cases, the rent for a residential unit can be increased 12 months after either:

  • the last rent increase
  • the date the tenancy begins

The landlord must give a tenant written notice of a rent increase at least 90 days before it takes effect.

The proper forms for this notice are available from the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord has not provided the proper notice, or you believe that your rent has been raised by an improper amount, you can dispute it at the Landlord and Tenant Board within 12 months after the amount was first charged.

Rent increase guideline

The guideline is the maximum a landlord can increase most tenants’ rent during a year without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

For most tenants, your rent can’t go up by more than the rent increase guideline for every year.

The guideline applies to most private residential rental units covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. This applies to most tenants, such as those living in:

The guideline does not apply to certain types of units including:

  • vacant residential units
  • community housing units
  • nursing homes
  • commercial properties

Social housing is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, but has different rules regarding rent control and rent increase notices.

Exceptions

  • In some cases, landlords can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval to raise your rent (PDF) by more than the rent increase guideline.
  • In care homes (such as a retirement home), the rent increase guideline only applies to the rent portion of your bill but does not apply to the cost of services like nursing, food or cleaning.
  • New buildings, additions to existing buildings and most new basement apartments that are occupied for the first time for residential purposes after November 15, 2018 are exempt from rent control.

How we calculate the guideline

It is calculated using the Ontario Consumer Price Index, a Statistics Canada tool that measures inflation and economic conditions over a year. Data from June to May is used to determine the guideline for the following year.

A sample calculation of a rent increase

Your monthly rent was increased to $1,000 on June 1, 2019. The guideline for 2020 is 2.2%. Therefore:

  • an increase of 2.2% on $1,000 = $22.00
  • $1,000 + $22.00 = $1,022.00

Your landlord could lawfully increase your rent payment 12 months later, on June 1, 2020 up to $1,022.00 per month

Your landlord would need to provide you written notice at least 90 days before June 1, 2020.

Previous rent increase guidelines

The chart below illustrates yearly rent increases, in Ontario, from 1991 to 2020.

Yearguideline (%)
20202.2
20191.8
20181.8
20171.5
20162.0
20151.6
20140.8
20132.5
20123.1
20110.7
20102.1
20091.8
20081.4
20072.6
20062.1
20051.5
20042.9
20032.9
20023.9
20012.9
20002.6
19993.0
19983.0
19972.8
19962.8
19952.9
19943.2
19934.9
19926.0
19915.4

Additional Information

For more information on the rent increase guideline, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board:

Resolving issues about rent control

As a tenant or a landlord, you can contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine whether a unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline.

To show that a unit is exempt from rent control, landlords can:

  • include an additional term under section 15 of the lease stating that the unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline
  • keep records that prove the exemption – in case the tenant asks, or there is a dispute

New buildings and additions

If there is a dispute about new buildings and additions, the landlord must prove that the building or addition was first occupied for residential purposes after November 15, 2018.

Landlords might want to keep records, such as:

  • building permits, permit applications and plans
  • occupancy permits
  • new home warranty documents
  • documents from the builder

New units in existing houses

If there is a dispute about new units in existing houses, the landlord must prove that the new unit was completed after November 15, 2018.

The landlord must also prove either:

  • the unit was built in a previously unfinished space like a basement or attic
  • the owner lived in another part of the house when the new unit was first occupied

Landlords might want to keep records, such as:

  • documents from the builder or invoices from the contractor
  • “before and after” photographs
  • building permits, permit applications and plans

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