Greanya Legal Services
|Posted on 22 July, 2020 at 16:55|
By Daniel Greanya
Bill 184, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act 2020 passed the Ontario Legislature and was given Royal Assent yesterday. It contains reforms to both community housing and other statutes, with Schedule 4 of the bill relating to residential tenancies. Let me outline some of the most important parts of the Act relating to residential tenancies. Some parts of this new Act are good and welcome, but other parts are bad law that did not warrant approval of the Ontario Legislature.
Rent Compensation changes (Purchasers use, Demolition & Conversion); & Tenant Bad Faith Applications
Applications for the personal use of the Landlord currently require one months’ rent be given to the tenant as compensation. This requirement has now been expanded to applications where a tenant is evicted for the use of a purchaser. In both cases, the funds must be paid prior to the termination date in the notice. The new law also requires a landlord to provide one month’s compensation where a notice is given for demolition or conversion to non-residential use, and in some circumstances where the Landlord evicts the tenant for repairs.
Where a notice for Purchasers own use is made in bad faith, the new act expands the tenant’s right to make an application for compensation. The time for this application has also been expanded to two years from the current one year.
Expansion of Section 78:
The new changes will allow a Landlord to make an application for an eviction under section 78 of the Act (eviction without a hearing), if the Tenant breached an ‘out of court’ agreement made between the Landlord and Tenant for payment of rent arrears. Previous to Bill 184, this type of application was only available where a mediated agreement or consent order was made. This section will make it easier to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent. A tenant always has the right to bring a Tenant’s Motion to Void the eviction under section 78, and it will be more important for a tenant to be aware of this process to protect their rights.
Prior Notice to Landlord of Tenant Issues:
Where a tenant wants to raise tenant issues on an Application for Nonpayment of Rent, they will now be required to give advanced written notice to the Landlord of the issues that they intend to raise. These issues will likely have to be raised on the appropriate Board form (to be created). Previous to this provision, the Tenant would be able to raise these issues without notice. This change creates an access to justice issue, as this creates a barrier for tenants who would like to raise these issues, many of whom may not have an easy time filling out this type of paperwork. It is also customary for tenants to receive advice from Duty Counsel at the hearing. It is unclear how the Board will deal with this, since a tenant will often have to wait until a hearing to get the advice they need to fill out the new forms.
Payment Agreements and COVID-19:
Landlords are being encouraged to make a deal with their tenants on payment of rental arrears during the COVID-19 emergency. The Board will be explicitly required to consider a Landlord’s efforts when an L1 Application for arrears comes to the Board.
Rent Arrears, Utilities, and other matters after a tenancy ends:
The new law has fixed the loophole created by the Divisional Court decision last year which decided that Small Claims Court does not have authority over residential tenancy matters. This usually became an issue where a tenant had moved out. Under the new law, a landlord may make applications for nonpayment of rent, utilities, or for damages and compensation to the Board for resolution even after the tenant has moved out. A landlord will have one year from the move out date to make the application. Fixing this loophole is a welcome change to the RTA which will end years of confusion over which forum these matters should go to. It makes the most sense for all residential tenancy matters to go to the Board.
A Landlord will be able to make an application for out of pocket costs related to a Tenants substantial interference with the Landlord’s reasonable enjoyment. Currently, a Landlord may only ask for compensation for damage to the residential complex.
Illegal rent increases:
An illegal rent increase will become legal if a tenant does not challenge the rent increase and pays it for at least one year. This section overturns the decision of Price v. Turnbull’s Grove which indicated that a void notice of rent increase has no legal effect, regardless of if a tenant complies with it. This change is bad law, which will reward bad behavior by some Landlords, and allow vulnerable tenants who are not aware of their rights to be taken advantage of.
I hope that this summary provides some guidance as to the changes that are coming out. Articles like this are intended as legal information only, and do not take the place of legal advice. If you need legal advice related to residential tenancies, please contact my office. We are happy to help you.