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Rent Control out in Spring

New law lets market rule rates

Toronto Sun - November 19, 1997
by James Wallace — Queen's Park Bureau

Ontario's government-regulated rent control system will end April 1, Housing Minister Al Leach said yesterday.

That means starting next April, rent caps will come off apartments once a tenant moves out.

New apartments and rental units will be exempt from control.

Leach said tenants shouldn't worry about rent hikes because landlords already have problems renting all their units out.

The new system will also gradually encourage the private sector to build more rental housing which should force rents down, he said.

Leach's Tenant Protection Act doesn't completely lift rent caps.

Landlords will be able to raise or lower rents on vacated units to whatever the market will bear.

But the rent caps - about 3% this year - will apply on the new rate once a new tenant moves in.

He said the legislation won't become law until spring to give the government time to replace the rent control bureaucracy with an administrative tribunal.

Other measures allow landlords to pass on tax hikes and repair bills to tenants; make it easier to evict tenants who refuse to pay rent; force landlords to repair property; speed up landlord-tenant disputes.

Leach defended a controversial section that gives landlords the right to conduct a credit check on tenants.

"About 80% of landlords own four units or less," he said. "They depend on the rent to pay their own mortgages."

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