Tenants in Ontario unfairly shouldering landlords’ maintenance costs

Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGIs) are contributing to unaffordable rents and pushing lower income tenants out of their communities

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rents are soaring in Ontario’s major cities. Above Guideline Rent Increase (AGIs) are pushing lower-income tenants out of their communities. The supply of affordable rental housing is being eroded by the approval of these increases by the Landlord and Tenant Board. Tenant advocates are urging the provincial government to protect tenants from unaffordable rents and respond to the unfair system of AGIs as promised under the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.

Almost half of Ontario renter households are spending over 30 per cent of their income on rent. Almost half have annual incomes below $40,000. Rents continue to increase beyond tenants` ability to pay because the current law allows landlords to unfairly offload the cost of maintaining their rental investments onto tenants.

AGIs allow a landlord to quadruple-dip when it comes to charging tenants rents. Landlords get tenants’ regular rent, the AGI portion, an increase in the value of their property, and Federal and Provincial tax deductions for what they spend to maintain and improve their properties. These concessions contribute to rising profit margins in what industry leaders are calling “the strongest rental market in 30 years”. Meanwhile, tenants are struggling to hold on to their homes, often reducing their spending on vital life necessities.

“We hear repeatedly from tenants that the rent is getting too high for them to afford,” says John Plumadore, Chair of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA). “Calls to our tenant hotline and concerns about AGIs keep going up, and more and more often we see landlords getting approval for cosmetic elements like gardens.”

“Tenants’ incomes have remained stagnant for decades, while rents have soared. The market is failing tenants who are desperately in need of government protection to stay in their home,” says Kenneth Hale, Legal Director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO). “It is the responsibility of the Provincial Government to fix the rules they set for rent increases when it is obvious that these rules are having such a negative impact on the tenant community.”

About Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO)

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) is a specialty community legal clinic, funded by Legal Aid Ontario, with a province-wide mandate. ACTO works for the advancement of human rights and social justice in housing for low-income Ontarians through legal advice and representation, law reform, community organizing, and education and training. The clinic also coordinates the Tenant Duty Counsel Program (TDCP) across Ontario, which provides legal information and assistance to self-represented tenants appearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA)

The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations is a non-profit organization advocating for better rights for tenants. Founded in 1974, we are the oldest and largest Tenant Federation in Canada. The FMTA runs several tenant services and is comprised of affiliated Tenant Associations and individual members. 

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) Canada

ACORN is an independent national organization of low- and moderate-income families. We have over 102,000 members organized into twenty neighbourhood chapters in nine cities across Canada. We believe that social and economic justice can best be achieved with a national active membership who are invested in their organization and focused on building power for change!

For more information including interviews with FMTA, ACORN or ACTO representatives:

Bahar Shadpour
Communications Coordinator, ACTO