Tenants call for province-wide stop to rental increase ‘loopholes’ in Mississauga and across Ontario

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Published July 8, 2024 at 4:13 pm

Tenants call for province-wide stop to rental increase 'loopholes' in Ontario

Tenants and housing advocates will take to the streets this week to call on Ontario to close what they call rental rate “loopholes” that will see some Mississauga tenants paying more than the provincial maximum increase.

The protests are planned for five cities including Mississauga, Ottawa and Hamilton with calls for the province to do more to protect renters from rent increases above Ontario’s capped 2.5 per cent annual hike.

ACORN Canada is organizing the day of action in response to the province’s announcement last month of the cap, saying the rate is “well below the average inflation rate of 5.9 per cent.”

But ACORN says the rent ceiling doesn’t apply to all units or renters equally.

Vacant units and those built after 2018 are excluded from the 2.5 per cent cap and landlords can also request an above-guideline increase (AGI) to raise rent beyond the provincial limit – a loophole ACORN says will leave many in Ontario with larger increases.

“This creates a financial incentive to do renovictions,” a term ACORN uses to describe tenants evicted by landlords who want to renovate or demolish a unit, booting the tenant from the space during construction.

“An AGI allows landlords to pass down the cost of major repairs or building upgrades to tenants. This means that thousands of tenants will see their rent increase by much more than 2.5%,” ACORN says.

The protests will run on Thursday in Mississauga, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Ottawa.

In Mississauga, renters living at a local apartment building will be speaking out about what they say is a 5.8 per cent building-wide renal increase coming under an AGI.

“We had no recourse, but to accept the AGI, which is really a maintenance fee and fight with no access to legal counsel without going into debt,” said local ACORN leader Michele Sarantos. “These same tenants are fighting to put food on the table for their families and many have medical issues which are costly and not covered by OHIP.”

The Mississauga protest will start at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at the corner of City Centre Drive and Kariya Gate, with a march to the building’s management company to deliver a demand letter opposing “their most recent round of AGIs.”

Between 2017 and August 2023, data from ACORN shows there were 112 N13 or “renoviction” notices issued in Brampton and 68 were issued in Mississauga. The most notices were issued in Toronto (950), Hamilton (337) and Ottawa (184).

Over 16,000 households in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon fall under the region’s affordable housing system, and the region says there’s a need for more youth transitional housing.

The region has been pushing to increase its housing stock as Ontario and much of Canada is grappling with an affordability crisis. A report last year found the affordable housing system in Peel has been unable to keep up with dramatic increases in demand for housing and homelessness supports over the last decade.

For more information on the protest and affordable housing advocacy in Mississauga and Brampton visit www.acorncanada.org.

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