Under the tax, non-residents will need to prove that they have a legitimate reason for buying property in Ontario that goes beyond investing. The tax is not aimed at new Canadians, according to Premier Kathleen Wynne. It will be reimbursed to buyers who become permanent residents within four years of a sale, and won’t apply to international students enrolled full-time for at least two years or someone who has been legally working in Ontario for at least one year. To qualify for a rebate, the property must also be considered someone’s principal residence.
Among the most controversial moves announced on Thursday, April 21st, is a plan to bring all private rental apartments under the province’s rent-control regime, which currently only covers buildings completed before November, 1991. Rent hikes across the board will be held to around inflation, and capped at 2.5 percent a year, although landlords can still apply for special increases if they do renovations or upgrades. Rents can be raised when a tenant moves out.
Tenant groups welcomed the move, but developers and landlords warned it will quash a recent uptick in the building of much-needed rentals, a segment largely abandoned by the industry over the past three decades in favour of condos.
“If you’re concerned if you can rent them out (at) an economic rent… they’re not going to get built,” said Brian Johnston, chief operating officer of Mattamy Homes in Toronto. “It’s going to constrain supply.”
But David Chalmers, vice-president of asset management for Toronto Starlight Investments, said his firm has been making its plans with 10-year projections of rental increases at inflation anyway: “Being mandated to do that isn’t going to change our go-forward business.
Landlords and tenants will use a new standard agreement. The government is also tightening provisions that allow landlords to kick out tenants when claiming they plan to use an apartment themselves.
A recent Globe analysis of Landlord and Tenant Board data suggested the provision was increasingly being used to evict people. The government now says it will ensure tenants are “adequately compensated” if asked to vacate under this rule.
The changes would also ban landlords with outstanding elevator work orders from obtaining rent increases above the rent-control limit they are normally entitled to in exchange for making renovations or other improvements. The government also pledged to make proceedings before the Landlord and Tenant Board “fairer and easier for renters.” (ORLA: how good is that for the Liberals in the upcoming election?)
Source: The Globe and Mail, April 21, 2017. News A8
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As explained in our recent newsletter, the Provincial government is holding a consultation called "Proposals to Encourage Small Landlords to Provide Rental Housing." Tenant advocacy groups are trying to get the government to abandon these proposed changes that will help landlords. It is important that you have your voice heard, by going to http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14837.aspx and sending in your comments about these changes.
The Ottawa Region Landlords Association (ORLA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 primarily for but not limited to landlords and property managers who meet, share information and act in the common interest. Membership is open to everyone.
Box 3210, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 6H7