Major Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act under Bill 184

Bill 184 (Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020) was passed by the Ontario Legislature on July 21, 2020. The bill made many changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. Some of the changes to the RTA went into effect immediately upon passage of the bill, while other changes will come into effect at a later date.

There are too many changes to the RTA to list them all here. This is a list of the most important changes currently in effect that I want my landlord clients to know about.

Please note that although every effort was made to make sure these explanations are complete and accurate, it is very difficult to take complex legal language and explain it fully in layman’s language.

Please check the precise wording of the amendments made in the Residential Tenancies Act. It is recommended that you obtain proper legal advice on interpreting the RTA, and how it applies to you.

Here are the sections of the Residential Tenancies Act whose major changes are already in force:

  • Section 49.1(1)(2)

If an N12 Notice for Purchaser’s Own Use was given to the tenant after July 21, 2020, the landlord must pay compensation to the tenant equal to one month’s rent, or offer the tenant another apartment suitable to the tenant.

  • Section 52(2)

If an N13 Notice for demolition or conversion to non-residential use was given to the tenant after July 21, 2020, and the building contains fewer than five residential units, the landlord must pay compensation to the tenant equal to one month’s rent, or offer the tenant another apartment suitable to the tenant. This section applies if the demolition was not ordered to be carried out.

  • Section 54(3)(4)

This section applies if:

  • an N13 Notice for major repairs requiring vacant possession and a building permit was given to the tenant after July 21, 2020;
  • the building contains fewer than five residential units;
  •  the tenant does not give notice to the landlord before vacating that the tenant is exercising their right of first refusal to move back in after repairs are made;
  • the major repair was not ordered to be carried out.

The landlord must pay compensation to the tenant equal to one month’s rent, or offer the tenant another apartment suitable to the tenant.

However, if the tenant does give notice before vacating that they plan to move back in after the repairs are completed, than the landlord shall pay the tenant the lessor of one month’s rent or the period the apartment was under repair or renovation.

  • Section 55.1

If the landlord gives a notice of termination for landlord’s own use, purchaser’s own use, for renovation and repair, conversion to no residential use, or for demolition, any compensation the landlord is required to pay the tenant must be paid by the termination date set out in the notice of termination.

  • Section 78(1)(3)(4)(7)(12)

Section 78 allows a landlord to apply to the board for an eviction order, without a hearing being held if the landlord had previously applied to the board for an eviction order, and the board ordered that there would be no eviction if the tenant met certain conditions. The tenant failed to meet one or more of the conditions, and the order of the board permitted the landlord to apply for an eviction order under section 78 if the tenant failed to one or more of the conditions.  

These amendments deal with the section 206.  Now a landlord can also apply for an order evicting the tenant if the tenant fails to meet the conditions in the Payment Plan filed with the board.

  • Section 82(1)(2)(3)(4)

At a non-payment of rent hearing a tenant is entitled to raise any issue that could be raised in an tenant’s application (e.g.: maintenance, harassment,) as if they had filed an application and paid a filing fee to the board.

 This new section now requires the tenant to give to the landlord and the Landlord and Tenant Board written notice of their intent to raise issues which could be raised if a tenant’s application had been filed. The proposed rules require the tenant to give a written description of each issue the tenant plans to raise, and to serve a copy of the issues and of all evidence the tenant plans to rely on at least five business days before the hearing.

 However, the tenant may still be able to proceed with their claim if the tenant provides a satisfactory explanation to the board why they were unable to comply with this requirement.

  • Section 83(6)

The Landlord and Tenant Board is required on all eviction applications to use its discretion based on all the circumstances disclosed at an eviction hearing to determine whether it would be fair to delay or deny an eviction.

The new section deals with non-payments of rent applications where the rent owed in whole or in part is during the COVID-19 period starting on March 17, 2020. The Board is now required to consider whether it would be fair to delay or deny an eviction based on whether the landlord has attempted to negotiate an agreement or payment terms with the tenant.

  • Section 135.1

If a tenant pays an illegal rent increase for 12 consecutive months, and if the tenant does not make an application to the board challenging the illegal rent increase within 12 months of the date of the increase, then this rate becomes the legal rent payable.

This section applies to an illegal rent increase made before or after July 21, 2020, provided the board validity of the rent increase was not determined by the board prior to July 21, 2020.

This section removes the loophole that once an illegal rent increase was made, the tenant could dispute the lawful rent being charged years later.

  • Section 194(1)

The board always had mediators on site to assist the parties, if they voluntarily chose to speak with a mediator, to try come to their own solution to the application before the board.

This amendment now permits the board to order the parties to attend mediation or another dispute resolution process. Mediation may be forced upon the parties.

Section 206

If the landlord has filed an L1 application (non-payment of rent) with the Landlord and Tenant Board, and the landlord and the tenant agree in writing to a payment plan signed by all the parties on how the arrears are to be paid, this may be filed with the board in advance of the scheduled hearing. If filed, the board may order a payment plan without holding a hearing. If this happens, then no eviction will be ordered.

The agreement may include payment of the arrears of rent, NSF cheque fees incurred, and NSF administrative fees, payment of the LTB filing fee, and future rent that will become due during the period that the rent arrears are being paid off. 

The board will issue an order that will contain a section 78 clause. If tenant fails any make payment as set out in the signed agreement, the landlord may within 30 days of that breach file an L4 application with the board setting out which terms were breached. The board may order an eviction without holding a hearing.

Alternatively, a landlord may file a request to reopen the application and have a hearing, even if a section 78 clause was included in the order.

A landlord or a tenant may file a request to reopen the application within 30 days of the L1 payment plan order being made alleging the other party coerced them or deliberately made false or misleading representations which had an effect on the agreement and the order issued as a result of the signed payment agreement. 

 Section 238(1)

The Rental Housing Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Housing investigates and prosecutes contraventions of the Residential Tenancies Act.

The maximum fines for individuals (landlords or tenants) found guilty increases to $50,000.00. This is up from $25,000.00.

The maximum file for corporate landlords found guilty increases to $250,000.00. This is up from $100,000.00.