Corporate Landlords Dominate Ontario Rent Increase Applications in 2022

Corporate landlords in Ontario are exploiting rent control loopholes, leading to unaffordable rent hikes for low-income tenants. This raises concerns about housing affordability and inequality in the province.

Sakchi Khandelwal
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Corporate Landlords Dominate Ontario Rent Increase Applications in 2022

Corporate Landlords Dominate Ontario Rent Increase Applications in 2022

A CBC News analysis has revealed that fewer than 20 corporate landlords were responsible for filing over half of the 470 applications to raise rents above Ontario's 2.5% guideline in the first eight months of 2022. These above-guideline increases (AGIs) are affecting thousands of rental units and low-income tenants across the province.

The data, released as part of an access to information request submitted by tenants advocacy group ACORN, shows that major corporate landlords such as Starlight Investments, Realstar Corp, BCIMC, Homestead Land Holdings, and Hazelview Properties are using AGIs to circumvent rent control measures and pass on the costs of building upgrades to tenants, many of whom are already struggling to afford their rent.

Why this matters: The dominance of corporate landlords in Ontario's rent increase applications raises concerns about the affordability and stability of rental housing for low-income tenants. The use of AGIs to bypass rent control measures may contribute to a growing housing crisis and exacerbate income inequality in the province.

Under the current system, landlords can apply for AGIs to cover repairs and upgrades with significant capital costs, such as elevators, roofs, window replacements, and heating systems. However, tenants argue that the rent they already pay should be sufficient to maintain and update the buildings without additional increases.

ACORN is calling for the province to end the AGI system, arguing that it allows landlords to circumvent the annual allowable rent increase and boost profits instead of improving the quality of the buildings. "The AGIs are just a way for landlords to get around rent control," said ACORN spokesperson Marva Burnett.

On the other hand, the Rental Housing Providers of Ontario, a landlord group, defends the AGI system, stating that it allows some of the significant costs of maintaining older buildings to be passed along to residents. "The AGI system is necessary to ensure that landlords can properly maintain and upgrade their properties," said Tony Irwin, president of the Rental Housing Providers of Ontario.

The CBC News analysis highlights the disproportionate impact of AGIs on low-income tenants, many of whom live on fixed incomes and are already struggling to make ends meet. With corporate landlords dominating the rent increase applications, the affordability and stability of rental housing in Ontario are being called into question.

Key Takeaways

  • Fewer than 20 corporate landlords filed over half of 470 above-guideline rent hike apps in 2022.
  • Major landlords use above-guideline increases to bypass rent control and pass upgrade costs to tenants.
  • Advocacy group ACORN calls for ending the above-guideline increase system, which allows landlords to boost profits.
  • Landlord group defends above-guideline increases as necessary to maintain and upgrade older buildings.
  • Above-guideline increases disproportionately impact low-income tenants, raising affordability and stability concerns.