Real Estate

Landlords risk fines under stricter eviction rules

By Staff

Tenants’ rights got a boost from recent legislative changes, Toronto landlord and tenant lawyer Andrew Carvajal tells

On Sept. 1, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act came into force that will impose new requirements on landlords who want to evict renters.

“All of these changes are favourable to tenants,” says Carvajal, a partner with Desloges Law Group.

The main amendment entitles tenants to compensation worth a month’s rent when a landlord enforces eviction so that they can move themselves or a family member into the unit.

“This can provide some breathing room to tenants when having to find a new place and enter into a new lease that requires them to pay first and last month as a deposit,” Carvajal says. “The only way to avoid paying this compensation is if the landlord offers the tenants another rental unit.”

Under the new rules, the “own use” provision, as it is known, can only be invoked by individual landlords, and not by corporate entities, to end tenancies. Landlords must also express an intent to live in the unit for at least a year or leave themselves open to penalties. Advertising, re-renting or demolishing the unit within 12 months of the eviction will attract a presumption of bad faith unless the landlord can prove otherwise, with a maximum fine set at $25,000.

“This will discourage landlords from moving in for a few months only to rent it out again for a more expensive lease,” Carvajal says. “The penalty introduced for breaching this is significant.”

The changes are the latest in a series related to the provincial government’s housing plan announced earlier this year, including expanded rent control measures that apply to all private units, and not just those built before 1991.

Peter Milczyn, the provincial housing and poverty reduction minister, said in a statement that the updated law is intended to protect tenants

“When a tenant is evicted through no fault of their own, they are forced to scramble to find new accommodations and cover the costs of a sudden move. These new measures will help make that transition easier and, in some cases, prevent it from happening at all by curbing unlawful evictions,” Milczyn said.

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