The Ontario government has passed a contentious law that it says will stabilize the province’s rental market, despite growing claims from tenant advocates that it will only lead to mass evictions.
Bill 184 requires tenant compensation of one month’s rent for “no fault” evictions and allows the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to order up to 12 months’ rent in compensation for eviction notices issued in bad faith or where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back in after renovations or repairs.
These changes apply retroactively to March 17, when the province first declared a state of emergency over the pandemic.
The update to the Residential Tenancies Act also requires landlords to try to renegotiate a repayment agreement with a tenant before it can issue an eviction order for non-payment of rent related to COVID-19.
Housing advocates claim this will make the eviction process easier and faster; tenants who default on their rent payment plan — perhaps one they have been pressured into or that’s unaffordable — will be thrown out of their home with no hearing.
With the provincial moratorium on residential evictions having ended July 31, the LTB is now working through more than 6,000 pending eviction orders.
Approximately 7% of renters either paid part of their rent or none at all during the government lockdown, according to data from the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario.
The City of Toronto is going to court to legally challenge Bill 184.