LEGAL RIGHTS BULLETIN: How much will the rent be!?

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Most landlords can increase the rent every 12 months by a certain percentage called the guideline, which is set by the province each year. There has been a rent freeze for the year 2021, but the rent increase guideline for 2022 is 1.2%. The rent increase guideline for 2023 is 2.5%.

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If the landlord is going to increase the rent, they must give the tenant at least 90 days written notice in a form called “Notice of Rent Increase N1”.

Landlords can also try to increase the rent above the guideline annual amount, if they give the tenant notice of an increase above the guideline (AGI). To do this, the landlord must give the tenant 90 days written notice, using Form N1. The form must state that “the rent increase is above the rent increase guideline”.

If your landlord wants to raise the rent above the guideline, they can ask you to agree to it. You don’t have to agree. You should seek legal advice before accepting or signing any document.

If you receive an N1 form from your landlord stating that the rent increase is above the guideline, you must continue to pay your regular rent (plus the amount of the guideline increase).

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After serving the tenant with the N1, the landlord must then file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

You do not have to pay the AGI amount unless the Landlord and Tenant Board (CLI) approves the landlord’s request. However, you may be ordered to pay the increase retroactively.

Landlords can apply for an AGI if capital works lasting at least five years have been paid for and completed (i.e. elevators, parking structures, balconies, major repairs, renovations, etc. ).

AGI claims can also be filed for significant property tax increases, new or increased security costs, energy conservation programs, and accessibility improvements.

Once the landlord files the application, the LTB will notify the tenant and schedule a hearing date. Tenants must attend the hearing.

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Tenants will be allowed to ask the landlord questions about the application and present evidence as to why AGI should not be allowed. This could be evidence that the landlord has not completed the capital work they claim, or evidence of an existing serious breach of the landlord’s support obligations.

The CLI does not have the authority to consider the financial situation of the tenant when deciding on an application for AGI.

The maximum rent increase for any AGI request is 9%. However, the maximum a landlord can charge a tenant in a year is 3%.

If you or someone you know receives notice from their landlord of a rent increase, whether within or above the guideline amount, contact Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic for immediate legal advice.

Melinda Katzman, CKLC lawyer (www.cklc.ca, 519-351-6771)

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