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Rent increases in month-to-month tenancies

By Wm. F. Watson

Unless the tenant specifically agrees otherwise and in writing, the landlord can only increase the rent in a month-to-month tenancy situation once every 12 months, even if there is a new landlord and even if the tenancy agreement has been assigned to another party. Landlords must use government forms for applications for rent increases, give at least 3 months written notice, and can only raise the rent in the amount permitted by regulation and posted on the RTO website each September.

If the proposed rent increase does not exceed the percentage permitted as an annual rent increase, and 3 months written notice is given on government forms, the tenant cannot dispute the increase. If the landlord doesn’t comply with the legislative provisions and collects a rent increase that doesn’t conform to the rules and regulations, the tenant may deduct the increase from rent or may apply for a monetary order in the amount of the excess rent collected.

Sections 41, 42 and 43 of the Act and sections 22 and 23 of the Regulations set out the details of how and when rent increases are permitted, and there are many. If the forms aren’t filled out correctly or contain incorrect information and/or calculations, the increase cannot take effect.

Thinking of rounding up the numbers to the nearest dollar amount? Think again. The Act specifies that the rent increase ‘cannot exceed’ the percentage amount. So rounding up the increase from $ .95 to $1.00 will kill any request for a rent increase.

In ‘extraordinary situations’, where operating costs have skyrocketed, significant repairs to the premises have been made, unforeseen costs have arisen, etc., then the landlord can apply for an additional rent increase. The tenant(s) must be served with any paperwork, will be given the opportunity to respond or challenge the application, and it will then be up to an Arbitrator to determine if the additional increase will be granted.

Rent Increase Do-It-Yourself Form by



Expert Advice - Rent Increase

Q: We have a four unit building and no leases. I am assuming they are considered month to month then. Originally when they moved in we provided cable. This has increased from $20 per month to $45 now. We provide free laundry as well (the use of a washer and dryer in a common room) Can we change this now? Can we give notice and cut off the cable and have them pay for their own cable and bring in pay machines into the laundry rooms? If so how much notice do we need to give them and what forms would we need to us, or can we just do up leases with the new terms and have them agree to that?

A: Sure, you can try bumping up the rent, but you gotta' expect the tenant(s) to raise a beef and you gotta’ understand that if you don’t go through all the hoops, and the tenants challenge you in arbitration, you are almost certain to lose. The legislation governs rent increases and restricts how much rents can jump in one go. The legislation also stipulates that rents can only go up once per year. There is a ceiling on how much rent can jump, and the notice period must be fulfilled, otherwise you can’t try raising the rent again for one whole year. The legislation also allows for challenges to a proposed rent increase. (See the the RTO website for allowable rent increases). In the situation you describe, it is apparent that you now want to charge for what has up to now been included in the rent. In other words, you wanta' change horses midstream. But, the way the tenants have been proceeding (month to month) will be recognized by the RTO, and they are entitled to get what they’ve been paying for. Bumping up the rent when the landlord feels like it almost always raises a stink, and is a loser because it is not in harmony with the legislation. Cutting off the laundry and bringing in pay machines simply won't wash (pardon the pun). Neither will cutting off the cable get very far. Up until now it has been included in the rent. So, short version? You’re hooped.



More on this Subject

   Related Forms

        - Do-it-yourself Rent Increase Form

        - Notice of Rent Increase -RTB-07

   Other Resources

     - Rent Increases - Policy Guideline 37


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