New law will encourage landlords and tenants to negotiate repayment agreements amid COVID-19

The act aims to streamline and modernize Landlord and Tenant Board processes

New law will encourage landlords and tenants to negotiate repayment agreements amid COVID-19

Ontario’s Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, which has received royal assent, seeks to better protect tenants and to improve the stability of the province’s rental market.

The legislation amends the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, the Housing Services Act, 2011 and the Building Code Act, 1992, as well as repeals the Ontario Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act.

The Act introduces numerous legislative changes, such as the following:

  • The Act encourages repayment agreements. Before the Landlord and Tenant Board can issue an eviction order for non-payment of rent for reasons relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, it should first determine whether the landlord attempted to negotiate a repayment agreement with the tenant.
  • The Act strengthens the protection against unlawful evictions by requiring a landlord to notify the Board if they seek to evict a tenant to use a unit for themselves and by requiring a landlord who is filing a no-fault eviction application to file an affidavit at the same time.
  • The Act imposes tenant compensation of one month’s rent for no-fault evictions, increases tenant compensation for bad-faith evictions and increases the maximum fines for offences under the Act.
  • The Act modernizes and streamlines the Board’s processes by encouraging the use of alternative dispute resolution services to resolve certain issues. It also requires advance notice for newly raised issues to prevent delay and postponement of hearings. Certain types of disputes have been transferred to the Board from the Small Claims Court.
  • The Act promotes long-term sustainability in the community housing sector. The Act seeks to match individuals with housing that will meet their needs, to improve the flexibility of supports and services, to encourage innovation and to build effective relationships between the government and the relevant stakeholders.

These amendments aim to address the challenges faced by tenants, landlords and households amid the pandemic. “By making these changes we are trying to keep people in their homes, and at the same time, helping landlords receive payment through a mutual repayment agreement,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark.

The legislative changes are a part of the government’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy. The province intends to continue consulting with stakeholders regarding governance and accountability requirements.

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