On November 15th, 2018 Doug Ford and the Conservative Government announced plans to scale back rent control in Ontario. The plan will reverse the April 2017 “Rental Fairness Act” originally put in place by Ontario’s then-Liberal government which expanded rent control to all private rental units in Ontario.
Who Will Be Impacted By The Changes to Rent Control?
The new policy will not impact all units in Ontario but rather all newly built units occupied AFTER November 15th, 2018. That means that if you’re planning on renting a unit that was built and occupied PRIOR to November 15th, 2018 – these changes will not impact you at all, and rent control will continue to be in place. Units that are subject to rent control can only increase the monthly rental rate by a predetermined amount set by the government each year. For units without rent control – there is no cap for how much you can increase per year!
How Will The Loosening of Rent Control Impact The Market?
Our first reaction to the change was that this would be HUGE news for the pre-construction market. On the surface, a condo with no rent control seems very appealing to condo investors. But digging (in the video below) a bit deeper, reveals that possibility of the opposite being true…
With these new changes, Tenants will have a choice between living in a rent-controlled unit with relatively minor yearly increases, versus non-controlled rents that can spike to any amount each year. Our assumption is that a tenant will be willing to pay more at the start of the lease in exchange for the stability and peace of mind that a rent-controlled unit will offer them.
In 2017, Toronto saw a big jump in rental prices once the “Rental Fairness Act” came into effect. Since landlords knew they would be limited in how much they could increase the yearly rent, many came to market on the higher end in an effort to hedge against lost rental rates for units with long term tenants. We anticipate a similar impact as there will be an even higher demand for units with rent control.
How Will Changes Impact Landlords and Condo Investors
If you are a landlord of a unit that is built and occupied AFTER November 15th, 2018, you have the option of increasing your rent by any amount, once, per 12 month period.
For landlords of units built and occupied BEFORE November 15th, 2018 the amount you’re allowed to increase per year shall continue to be capped by the yearly amount decided by the government.
When trying to decide if your unit is subject to rent control, it’s important to remember that the date your unit was built and occupied determine if it’s impacted by the changes, and that it has nothing to do with when a lease was signed.
Lastly, remember that governments change… and just as the last one introduced rent control to all units, the same can happen in the next election. Whether you invest in a rent-controlled condo or one with no control, make sure you examine the pros and cons of each carefully!