The Rental Fairness Act has been come in as a whirlwind since May 2017 and it is not done making its mark yet. The Bill has made direct changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, which is the legislation that the Landlord and Tenant Board rely on for hearings and Landlords must be familiar with. Let me mention a few that are worth noting!
On May 30, 2017, the Act was given Royal Assent and the initiative of the legislation was fulfilled, there were no longer exemptions under the Residential Tenancies Act for raising the rent above guideline amounts. This repeal was backdated to April 20, 2017.
Another part of the Act that came into force that day was that corporations could no longer use a rental unit for personal use. The Courts had previously had allowed one director, or one owner corporations to use a unit for personal use, but now if a corporation owns the property, then it is just no longer an option, the landlord must be an individual.
The presumption of bad faith was changed. It is now presumed that if you rent the unit at a higher rate, or do not live there for at least on year, then it is presumed you have given the notice in bad faith.
There were other changes as well on May 30th, but just mention one last point, was the start of moving extraordinary utility costs for the allowable Above Guideline Increase applications to no longer be allowed.
Moving forward to September 2017. It was then when this Act changed how a personal use application is to be presented. Added to this section was the requirement of an affidavit stating that the person who will be residing in the unit will be there for a minimum of one year. It was also added that a payment of one month’s compensation that must be paid to the Tenant prior to the termination date on the Notice.
The next major change to mention is the new Prescribed Lease that came into effect on February 7, 2018. This Lease will be mandatory for all new leases on or after April 30, 2018. The Act has added consequences to Landlord’s who choose not to use this Lease. There are specific timelines that must be followed, but if a Landlord does not respond within these timelines, then one of the consequences can be that a Tenant does not have to be liable for one month’s rent. Another consequence is that a Tenant can end the tenancy even if there is a term within the Lease.
The Prescribed Lease that has been recently released is only for residential leases. The government will be releasing other classes of leases to be used in different situations, for example, care homes or mobile home parks. There will also be more forms released and changes to guidelines.
So, as you can see, this Act has still lots of changes for us to keep up on so ensure you keep updated!