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Ontario Conservatives propose rent freeze

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By Nick Seebruch
Ontario Conservatives propose rent freeze
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ONTARIO – The provincial Conservative government have introduced a bill to freeze rent in 2021 for most rent-controlled and non-rent controlled residential units.

“From the very beginning of this pandemic, our government promised the families, workers and small business owners of this province that we would have their backs and provide them with the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Premier Ford. “The crisis is far from over and the threat of a second wave is real, as are the challenges it will bring. That’s why we need to take the necessary steps now to help families keep a roof over their heads and small businesses keep their doors open.”

The government also hopes to reintroduce a ban on evictions for commercial rental properties. The government had proposed the ban in May of this year, but it expired at the end of August.

“Our government wants to stabilize rents for Ontario’s 1.7 million rental households for 2021, because this year is not like any other year,” said Minister Clark. “We know that families are continuing to be impacted by COVID-19. We know landlords have worked hard to be accommodating and have made sacrifices. We know that by continuing to work together, we will move past this extraordinary time and get Ontario back on track.”

These moves seem to address some of the concerns raised by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario back in May.

At that time, they were calling on the government to take the following steps:

  1. The continued restriction of evictions to urgent cases where public safety is at stake.
  2. Restricting rent increases to maintain current rents, which already are unaffordable for nearly half of Ontario’s tenants.
  3. Eliminate rent increases in newer units that are exempt from rent regulation as of November 2018.
  4. Limit rent gouging by landlords by restricting rent increases between tenancies.
  5. Ensure that the Landlord and Tenant Board’s rules make ongoing preservation of homes the object of the dispute resolution processes.

“Protecting public health must take priority over protecting the financial wealth of property owners,” said Kenneth Hale, the Director of Advocacy and Legal Services at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. “Putting tenants in jeopardy of homelessness and increased poverty is cruel, and puts the lives of all Ontarians at risk.”

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