The rules have changed: 6 things you need to know
As Ontario emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown and life slowly returns to normal, tenant and landlord rights are dramatically affected. Real estate is a key topic, and everyone has questions – whether you are a tenant, landlord, prospective home buyer or home seller.
Here is where you can learn about some of the new changes to Ontario real estate laws, as we discuss 6 critical changes to the Ontario real estate landscape that you should be aware of in 2022.
- Tenants: your rent can be raised as of January 1 2022.
Due to COVID-19 relief, Ontario rents could not be raised during 2021. However, as of 2022, the rent of most units in Ontario can be raised by 1.2% provided that written notice is given 90 days in advance.
However, if the rental unit was built after November 15, 2018, there is no limit on the rent increase. Many tenants are complaining about increases of 20% or more, as landlords try to recoup the losses incurred during the pandemic. This is legal, and if the tenant does not pay, they can be evicted for failure to pay rent.
Expect this to be a key election issue when the province goes to the polls in 2022.
- Evictions can and are happening in 2022 throughout Ontario.
Typically, for an eviction to occur, the Sheriff of the county must physically attend and enforce the removal of the tenant. However, during the pandemic, with the waves of income loss, one of the ways the province provided relief was to not permit a Sheriff to enforce an eviction order. Therefore, during 2021, evictions were not taking place. However, with the pandemic ending, this relief is also ending as we come out of lockdown. In other words, evictions are now able to happen, and so, are happening.
However, with the backlog of cases, it is recommended to make a deal, if possible, to have the tenant leave in a timely manner. Both landlords and tenants can benefit tremendously from this and avoid wasting time and money.
- Vaccination mandates and showings: use common sense!
For any showing, attendants can demand proof of vaccination, or refuse showings on grounds of COVID-19 safety. Although this issue is so new that there have been no legal cases decided (and therefore no legal precedent), it is just common sense. For landlords, this could be a challenge in acquiring new tenants.
If the attendant takes this position, it may take four months just to obtain a hearing for an eviction – another challenge, and a potential time and money sink. To avoid this, we again recommend that a deal with the tenant is made to permit showings on terms agreeable to the tenant.
- If a buyer is moving in on closing date, the lease can be terminated as of today.’s some practical advice for landlords.
This is possible in the case of a monthly lease, and as long as the required 60 days notice is given to the tenant. However, the tenant has the right to dispute the notice. If they choose to do so, this could delay closing for an additional two to four months.’s some practical advice for landlords.
In some cases, I have seen agreements canceled as the buyer would not agree to continue extending the closing date.
- The landlord may incur a loss if the tenant refuses to leave.’s some practical advice for landlords.
While the landlord or seller can sue a tenant if they lose an agreement with a prospective buyer because the tenant refused to leave, the tenant has every legal right to dispute an eviction notice. Given that the law generally favours tenants, it is likely that the landlord will not be successful with this type of loss.
- Finally, here’s some practical advice for landlords.
The real estate industry – from law firms to real estate agents – have been taking the necessary steps to make sure real estate continues to be marketed and sold safely at all times, complying with government guidelines. However, evicting a tenant during these times can still be very traumatic for both the tenant as well as the landlord. If possible, try and arrange a new place to live for the tenant before you even put the property up for sale. With a happy tenant, you will not have any issues with home staging, showings or providing vacant possession on closing.