The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Rent Increase: What You Need to Know

Nov 14, 2023

Imagine a scenario where your rent suddenly increases, causing financial stress and uncertainty. This situation can be overwhelming, but understanding rent control laws and tenant rights can help alleviate the pressure. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of rent increases and provide a comprehensive guide to navigating the complexities of rent control laws, tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, and strategies for dealing with rent increases.

By the end of this blog post, you will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to face rent increases with confidence, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and understanding the rights and obligations of your landlord. So, let’s dive in and learn how to survive a rent increase together!


Key Takeaways

  • Understand rent control laws and tenant boards to protect rights and obligations.

  • Familiarize yourself with regulations, notice periods, exemptions for new buildings/additions & more when navigating rent increases.

  • Research local laws, communicate with landlords & consider paying rent with a cashback credit card using Chexy.

Understanding Rent Control Laws

Rent control laws are designed to protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases, often regulated by an annual guideline amount. These laws vary regionally and may involve different regulations and restrictions, with both the landlord and tenant agreeing to follow them. Tenants need to grasp rent control laws to avoid being exploited, and landlords should do the same to fulfill their obligations.

If a landlord fails to fulfill their obligations, such as making necessary repairs, tenants have the right to pursue recourse through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or a court of law. Being knowledgeable about the rent control laws and the residential tenancies act in your region can help you protect your rights and avoid potential conflicts with your landlord in residential tenancies.


The Role of Tenant Boards

Tenant boards serve a vital function in rent control matters. These boards, such as the Landlord and Tenant Board, are administrative tribunals that facilitate dispute resolution and provide guidance regarding rent control legislation and regulations. In Ontario, for example, the Landlord and Tenant Board furnishes data on rent control regulations and directives, and assists in resolving conflicts between landlords and tenants.

If you’re unsure whether your rental unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline, landlords can contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine the exemption status. Tenant boards also handle disputes such as:

  • non-payment of rent

  • maintenance and repair issues

  • evictions

  • illegal acts

Knowing what tenant boards in your area do will help you understand rent control laws and communicate with your landlord more effectively.


Navigating Rent Increases

Rent increases are subject to guidelines and proper notice periods, which vary depending on the region and type of tenancy. For example, in Ontario, rent for a residential unit may be increased after a period of 12 months has elapsed since the last increase, and the landlord must provide written notice in the appropriate form to the tenant at least 90 days prior to the increase taking effect.

Landlords use a Rent Increase Notice to inform tenants of an increase in rent. It provides them with information about the specific changes they need to be aware of. Prior to increasing rent, landlords should ascertain the regulations in their respective jurisdiction to ensure compliance. Tenants can obtain the necessary forms for a rent increase notice from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

A clear understanding of these guidelines and notice periods can simplify the process of rent increases for both landlords and tenants.


Annual Rent Increase Guideline

Annual rent increase guidelines determine the maximum allowable rent increase without approval from a tenant board. For instance, the 2023 Rent Increase Guideline in Ontario is 2.5% as stipulated by the provincial government. If a landlord wishes to increase rent by more than the annual guideline amount, they must follow the process for seeking approval for an Above Guideline Increase.

Certain rental units, like social housing, are exempt from the rent increase guideline. The annual rent increase guideline in Ontario is computed by taking the average of the monthly Ontario Consumer Price Index over the course of twelve months concluding at the end of May of the preceding calendar year.

Being aware of your area’s annual rent increase guideline can help you anticipate potential rent increases that are within legal bounds.


Proper Notice for Rent Increases

Before implementing a rent increase, landlords must provide proper written notice to tenants, with notice periods varying by region and lease agreement. In Ontario, a landlord is obligated to provide a minimum of 90 days written notice prior to implementing a rent increase. For periodic tenancies, the notice period varies depending on the type of tenancy, with monthly periodic tenancies requiring a minimum of 3 tenancy months notice and weekly periodic tenancies requiring a minimum of 12 tenancy weeks notice.

There are no formal requisites for delivering a Rent Increase Notice, as long as it is delivered within the mandated time frame and includes all requisite information. Awareness of the proper notice requirements in your region allows tenants to ensure they’re given enough time to prepare for rent increases, while landlords can ascertain their compliance with local regulations.


Fixed-Term vs Periodic Tenancies

Fixed-term tenancies have specific rent increase rules, while periodic tenancies may have more flexibility in terms of rent increases. A fixed-term tenancy requires that landlords cannot increase a tenant’s rent until at least one year (365 days) has passed from the time of their last rental increase, or since when the tenancy began. Whichever is later will be applicable in such cases. However, during a periodic tenancy, landlords are not obligated to provide written notice of rent increases.

In the U.S., landlords typically cannot raise the rent during a fixed-term tenancy until the lease has ended, although state and local laws may differ. Understanding fixed-term versus periodic tenancies helps tenants manage rent increases and set expectations for their tenancy.


Rent Increase Exemptions

Some rental units, such as new buildings or additions, may be exempt from rent increase guidelines. To be excluded from rent increase regulations for new buildings or additions, landlords must demonstrate that the building or addition was initially inhabited by a new tenant for residential purposes after November 15, 2018.

Various states and countries have particular exemptions to rent increase regulations, including:

  • Recently constructed rental properties

  • Eviction prohibitions

  • Inflation adjustments

  • Rent pressure zones.

In Ontario, rental units are exempt from rent increase guidelines if they are located in detached houses, semi-detached houses, or row houses that were not occupied for residential purposes prior to November 15, 2018, and have not been subject to rent control regulations, making them ‘new’. Landlords may need to provide sufficient proof to claim exemption from rent increase guidelines, with specific requirements for proof varying depending on the jurisdiction.

Being aware of rent increase exemptions helps tenants know their rights and landlords ascertain compliance with local regulations.


Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants have rights and responsibilities when facing rent increases. Some of these include:

  • The right to reside in a secure and habitable rental unit

  • The obligation to pay rent punctually

  • The right to have repairs and maintenance carried out in a timely fashion

  • The obligation to keep the rental unit neat and undamaged

  • The right to privacy and freedom from harassment

  • The obligation to adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the lease agreement, which both the tenant and landlord tenant agree upon

To ascertain if a rent increase is permissible, a tenant may:

  1. Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board

  2. Ascertain if the proper notice has been provided

  3. Consult the residential tenancy act or regulations

  4. Deduct overpayment if necessary

If a tenant believes their rent has been raised inappropriately, they may dispute the increase at the Landlord and Tenant Board within 12 months of the initial charge.

Knowledge of their rights and responsibilities enables tenants to handle rent increases and safeguard their interests.


Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Landlords must follow rent control laws and provide proper notice for rent increases while also considering factors such as rental market conditions and tenant behavior. Under rent control laws, landlords may have the right to increase rent once a year, with a required notice period, although this varies by location. It’s essential for landlords to consult the specific regulations in their area to ensure compliance with rent control laws.

When increasing rent, landlords should take into account factors such as rental market conditions, tenant behavior, and local rent control laws. Knowledge of their rights and responsibilities enables landlords to abide by the law and foster positive relationships with their tenants.


Tips for Dealing with Rent Increases

Dealing with rent increases can be challenging, but there are several tips to help you navigate the process:

  1. First, research local rent control laws to understand your rights and the legal limits for rent increases in your area.

  2. Communicate with your landlord regarding rent increases, ensuring that you convey the proposed increase in a timely manner, exhibit politeness in your approach, furnish written notification, and maintain records of all communications.

  3. Lastly, if you have done all of the above, consider paying your rent with a cashback credit card. There are a number of Canadian credit cards that allow you to earn a high cashback percentage on recurring bill payments, which rent qualified as. Consider:
    undefinedundefinedundefined

Taking a proactive and prepared approach and using a good cashback card in combination withChexy, can help you manage rent increases and safeguard your financial health by staying informed about the rent payable.


Summary

In conclusion, surviving a rent increase involves understanding rent control laws, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and landlord, and being prepared for potential rent increases. By researching local rent control laws, maintaining open communication with your landlord, and exploring rent assistance programs, you can better navigate the complexities of rent increases and protect your financial well-being.

As you face the challenges of rent increases, remember that knowledge is power. By staying informed and proactive, you can confidently navigate rent increases and maintain a positive relationship with your landlord. Don’t let rent increases overwhelm you – stand firm, stay prepared, and face the future with confidence.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the maximum a landlord can raise across 

Canada?


British Columbia

The B.C. government has set the maximum allowable rent increase for existing tenants in 2023 at 3.5%, which is below the provincial inflation rate. This is the second consecutive year that rental increases have been capped below the provincial inflation rate.

Ontario

The maximum rent increase for Ontario in 2023 is 2.5%. This applies to rent-controlled units, and landlords may contact their Program Coordinator for assistance in increasing market rents.

Alberta

In Alberta for 2023, landlords can increase the rent on a residential rental unit to market price with 90 days written notice. There is no limit on rent increases in the province.

Quebec

In 2023, Quebec's housing tribunal released rent increases as follows:

  • 2.3% for residential unit that don't include heating

  • 2.8% for residential unit with electric heating

  • 4.5% for residential unit with gas heating

  • 7.3% for residential unit with heating oil

Imagine a scenario where your rent suddenly increases, causing financial stress and uncertainty. This situation can be overwhelming, but understanding rent control laws and tenant rights can help alleviate the pressure. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of rent increases and provide a comprehensive guide to navigating the complexities of rent control laws, tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, and strategies for dealing with rent increases.

By the end of this blog post, you will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to face rent increases with confidence, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and understanding the rights and obligations of your landlord. So, let’s dive in and learn how to survive a rent increase together!


Key Takeaways

  • Understand rent control laws and tenant boards to protect rights and obligations.

  • Familiarize yourself with regulations, notice periods, exemptions for new buildings/additions & more when navigating rent increases.

  • Research local laws, communicate with landlords & consider paying rent with a cashback credit card using Chexy.

Understanding Rent Control Laws

Rent control laws are designed to protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases, often regulated by an annual guideline amount. These laws vary regionally and may involve different regulations and restrictions, with both the landlord and tenant agreeing to follow them. Tenants need to grasp rent control laws to avoid being exploited, and landlords should do the same to fulfill their obligations.

If a landlord fails to fulfill their obligations, such as making necessary repairs, tenants have the right to pursue recourse through the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service or a court of law. Being knowledgeable about the rent control laws and the residential tenancies act in your region can help you protect your rights and avoid potential conflicts with your landlord in residential tenancies.


The Role of Tenant Boards

Tenant boards serve a vital function in rent control matters. These boards, such as the Landlord and Tenant Board, are administrative tribunals that facilitate dispute resolution and provide guidance regarding rent control legislation and regulations. In Ontario, for example, the Landlord and Tenant Board furnishes data on rent control regulations and directives, and assists in resolving conflicts between landlords and tenants.

If you’re unsure whether your rental unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline, landlords can contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine the exemption status. Tenant boards also handle disputes such as:

  • non-payment of rent

  • maintenance and repair issues

  • evictions

  • illegal acts

Knowing what tenant boards in your area do will help you understand rent control laws and communicate with your landlord more effectively.


Navigating Rent Increases

Rent increases are subject to guidelines and proper notice periods, which vary depending on the region and type of tenancy. For example, in Ontario, rent for a residential unit may be increased after a period of 12 months has elapsed since the last increase, and the landlord must provide written notice in the appropriate form to the tenant at least 90 days prior to the increase taking effect.

Landlords use a Rent Increase Notice to inform tenants of an increase in rent. It provides them with information about the specific changes they need to be aware of. Prior to increasing rent, landlords should ascertain the regulations in their respective jurisdiction to ensure compliance. Tenants can obtain the necessary forms for a rent increase notice from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

A clear understanding of these guidelines and notice periods can simplify the process of rent increases for both landlords and tenants.


Annual Rent Increase Guideline

Annual rent increase guidelines determine the maximum allowable rent increase without approval from a tenant board. For instance, the 2023 Rent Increase Guideline in Ontario is 2.5% as stipulated by the provincial government. If a landlord wishes to increase rent by more than the annual guideline amount, they must follow the process for seeking approval for an Above Guideline Increase.

Certain rental units, like social housing, are exempt from the rent increase guideline. The annual rent increase guideline in Ontario is computed by taking the average of the monthly Ontario Consumer Price Index over the course of twelve months concluding at the end of May of the preceding calendar year.

Being aware of your area’s annual rent increase guideline can help you anticipate potential rent increases that are within legal bounds.


Proper Notice for Rent Increases

Before implementing a rent increase, landlords must provide proper written notice to tenants, with notice periods varying by region and lease agreement. In Ontario, a landlord is obligated to provide a minimum of 90 days written notice prior to implementing a rent increase. For periodic tenancies, the notice period varies depending on the type of tenancy, with monthly periodic tenancies requiring a minimum of 3 tenancy months notice and weekly periodic tenancies requiring a minimum of 12 tenancy weeks notice.

There are no formal requisites for delivering a Rent Increase Notice, as long as it is delivered within the mandated time frame and includes all requisite information. Awareness of the proper notice requirements in your region allows tenants to ensure they’re given enough time to prepare for rent increases, while landlords can ascertain their compliance with local regulations.


Fixed-Term vs Periodic Tenancies

Fixed-term tenancies have specific rent increase rules, while periodic tenancies may have more flexibility in terms of rent increases. A fixed-term tenancy requires that landlords cannot increase a tenant’s rent until at least one year (365 days) has passed from the time of their last rental increase, or since when the tenancy began. Whichever is later will be applicable in such cases. However, during a periodic tenancy, landlords are not obligated to provide written notice of rent increases.

In the U.S., landlords typically cannot raise the rent during a fixed-term tenancy until the lease has ended, although state and local laws may differ. Understanding fixed-term versus periodic tenancies helps tenants manage rent increases and set expectations for their tenancy.


Rent Increase Exemptions

Some rental units, such as new buildings or additions, may be exempt from rent increase guidelines. To be excluded from rent increase regulations for new buildings or additions, landlords must demonstrate that the building or addition was initially inhabited by a new tenant for residential purposes after November 15, 2018.

Various states and countries have particular exemptions to rent increase regulations, including:

  • Recently constructed rental properties

  • Eviction prohibitions

  • Inflation adjustments

  • Rent pressure zones.

In Ontario, rental units are exempt from rent increase guidelines if they are located in detached houses, semi-detached houses, or row houses that were not occupied for residential purposes prior to November 15, 2018, and have not been subject to rent control regulations, making them ‘new’. Landlords may need to provide sufficient proof to claim exemption from rent increase guidelines, with specific requirements for proof varying depending on the jurisdiction.

Being aware of rent increase exemptions helps tenants know their rights and landlords ascertain compliance with local regulations.


Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants have rights and responsibilities when facing rent increases. Some of these include:

  • The right to reside in a secure and habitable rental unit

  • The obligation to pay rent punctually

  • The right to have repairs and maintenance carried out in a timely fashion

  • The obligation to keep the rental unit neat and undamaged

  • The right to privacy and freedom from harassment

  • The obligation to adhere to the rules and regulations outlined in the lease agreement, which both the tenant and landlord tenant agree upon

To ascertain if a rent increase is permissible, a tenant may:

  1. Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board

  2. Ascertain if the proper notice has been provided

  3. Consult the residential tenancy act or regulations

  4. Deduct overpayment if necessary

If a tenant believes their rent has been raised inappropriately, they may dispute the increase at the Landlord and Tenant Board within 12 months of the initial charge.

Knowledge of their rights and responsibilities enables tenants to handle rent increases and safeguard their interests.


Landlord Rights and Responsibilities

Landlords must follow rent control laws and provide proper notice for rent increases while also considering factors such as rental market conditions and tenant behavior. Under rent control laws, landlords may have the right to increase rent once a year, with a required notice period, although this varies by location. It’s essential for landlords to consult the specific regulations in their area to ensure compliance with rent control laws.

When increasing rent, landlords should take into account factors such as rental market conditions, tenant behavior, and local rent control laws. Knowledge of their rights and responsibilities enables landlords to abide by the law and foster positive relationships with their tenants.


Tips for Dealing with Rent Increases

Dealing with rent increases can be challenging, but there are several tips to help you navigate the process:

  1. First, research local rent control laws to understand your rights and the legal limits for rent increases in your area.

  2. Communicate with your landlord regarding rent increases, ensuring that you convey the proposed increase in a timely manner, exhibit politeness in your approach, furnish written notification, and maintain records of all communications.

  3. Lastly, if you have done all of the above, consider paying your rent with a cashback credit card. There are a number of Canadian credit cards that allow you to earn a high cashback percentage on recurring bill payments, which rent qualified as. Consider:
    undefinedundefinedundefined

Taking a proactive and prepared approach and using a good cashback card in combination withChexy, can help you manage rent increases and safeguard your financial health by staying informed about the rent payable.


Summary

In conclusion, surviving a rent increase involves understanding rent control laws, knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and landlord, and being prepared for potential rent increases. By researching local rent control laws, maintaining open communication with your landlord, and exploring rent assistance programs, you can better navigate the complexities of rent increases and protect your financial well-being.

As you face the challenges of rent increases, remember that knowledge is power. By staying informed and proactive, you can confidently navigate rent increases and maintain a positive relationship with your landlord. Don’t let rent increases overwhelm you – stand firm, stay prepared, and face the future with confidence.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the maximum a landlord can raise across 

Canada?


British Columbia

The B.C. government has set the maximum allowable rent increase for existing tenants in 2023 at 3.5%, which is below the provincial inflation rate. This is the second consecutive year that rental increases have been capped below the provincial inflation rate.

Ontario

The maximum rent increase for Ontario in 2023 is 2.5%. This applies to rent-controlled units, and landlords may contact their Program Coordinator for assistance in increasing market rents.

Alberta

In Alberta for 2023, landlords can increase the rent on a residential rental unit to market price with 90 days written notice. There is no limit on rent increases in the province.

Quebec

In 2023, Quebec's housing tribunal released rent increases as follows:

  • 2.3% for residential unit that don't include heating

  • 2.8% for residential unit with electric heating

  • 4.5% for residential unit with gas heating

  • 7.3% for residential unit with heating oil