On Tuesday May 26, the Ford Government tried to slip through a bill - Bill 184 - that will make it easier for landlords to illegally raise the rent and evict renters. Here’s our summary of Bill 184.
Bill 184 would make it easier for landlords to evict tenants by:
- Taking away a tenant’s right to easily defend themselves at eviction hearings: tenants facing eviction for non-payment of rent would no longer be allowed to raise new issues, such as disrepair, at the hearing unless they formally applied to introduce that matter in advance.
Taking away a tenant’s right to a hearing following a repayment agreement: currently, if a tenant and landlord reach an agreement on repaying rent arrears prior to a hearing, and if the tenant fails to fulfill that agreement, the tenant is entitled to a hearing before eviction can proceed. Bill 184 would allow landlords to proceed straight to an eviction order without a hearing.
Bill 184 would hurt tenants in other ways as well, by:
- Making illegal rent increases legal: an illegal rent increase will now become legal if the tenant doesn’t file an application to fight the increase within one year.
- Allowing landlords to withhold information about utility costs: currently landlords with suite-metered units must give prospective tenants information about electricity consumption. Bill 184 removes this requirement.
Allowing landlords to pursue former tenants for repayment: currently, landlords must go to Small Claims Court to seek repayment from former tenants. Bill 184 would allow landlords to go after former tenants much more easily via the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Bill 184 does increase the amount of compensation a tenant can receive if they are evicted, by:
- Providing one month’s rent in compensation to tenants who are evicted because their building was sold and the new purchaser wants to move in.
- Providing one month’s rent in compensation to tenants who live in properties with fewer than five units who are evicted from their home due to demolition, conversion or renovation. Currently, only tenants who live in buildings with five or more units get three months compensation.
Increasing penalties for landlords who illegally evict tenants or refuse to allow a tenant back into a renovated unit, which is the tenant’s right. The Landlord and Tenant Board can now order the landlord to pay the tenant a year’s rent in compensation. Previously, compensation was capped at the difference between the old rent and new rent. Tenants now have two years, instead of one year, to file a claim.
Instead of ramming through Bill 184, this is what the Ontario Government should be doing to help renters.
- Protect tenants from losing their homes because they couldn’t afford to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill 184 currently offers no solution for the thousands of tenants who are unable to pay their rent during the pandemic through no fault of their own and now face eviction. The government has told landlords they may continue to threaten tenants with eviction notices during the emergency, despite the suspension of eviction hearings and orders. We are also hearing that the Landlord Tenant Board will soon start hearing eviction proceedings online, setting the stage for mass evictions.
- Introduce real rent control on all units, including vacant units. Vacancy control will stop landlords from profiting from evicting people and replacing them with people who can pay higher “market” rent.
- Truly protect tenants from illegal evictions. Ontario needs higher fines for landlords that illegally evict, and real government enforcement of illegal evictions. Currently, tenants must prove to the Landlord Tenant Board that a landlord illegally evicted them, which in practice means there is no real enforcement.
This is our city. We all deserve to live in safe affordable homes.
Please send a message to Premier Ford and Minister Clark calling on them to do the right thing for renters.