Understanding Ontario's Rental Property Laws

As an expert in the real estate industry, I have encountered numerous questions about Ontario rental property laws. One of the most common inquiries is whether there are any rent control laws in Ontario. The short answer is yes, there are rent control laws in Ontario, but the details and implications of these laws may surprise you.

The Basics of Rent Control Laws in Ontario

Rent control laws in Ontario fall under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which was established in 2006. These laws aim to protect tenants from excessive rent increases and provide them with security of tenure. In simple terms, rent control means that landlords cannot increase the rent by any amount they want.

Instead, there are specific guidelines and restrictions that they must follow. The RTA applies to most residential rental properties in Ontario, including apartments, houses, and condominiums. However, there are some exceptions, such as properties built after November 15, 2018, and those that are not considered to be primary residences (e.g., student housing or retirement homes).

How Rent Control Works in Ontario

The RTA sets out the maximum percentage by which landlords can increase the rent each year. This percentage is known as the rent increase guideline, and it is determined by the Ontario government. For 2021, the rent increase guideline is set at 1.5%.

This means that landlords cannot increase the rent by more than 1.5% for existing tenants. It is important to note that this guideline only applies to rent increases for existing tenants. For new tenants, landlords can charge whatever rent they want. However, once a tenant has moved in, the rent increase guideline will apply to them as well. There are also specific rules for rent increases in between tenancies. If a tenant moves out, the landlord can increase the rent for the new tenant by any amount they want.

However, once that new tenant has been living in the property for 12 months, the rent increase guideline will apply.

The Implications of Rent Control Laws

While rent control laws may seem like a great protection for tenants, they can have some unintended consequences. One of the main implications is that landlords may be less inclined to invest in their rental properties. With limited ability to increase the rent, landlords may struggle to cover their expenses and make a profit. This can lead to a lack of maintenance and upgrades in rental properties, which can ultimately affect the quality of living for tenants. Another implication is that rent control laws can create a shortage of rental properties.

With limited profits and potential financial risks, some landlords may choose to sell their rental properties or convert them into condominiums. This can result in fewer options for tenants and potentially higher rents for those who are looking for a new place to live.

Exceptions to Rent Control Laws

As mentioned earlier, there are some exceptions to rent control laws in Ontario. One of these exceptions is vacancy decontrol. This means that if a tenant moves out voluntarily, the landlord can increase the rent by any amount they want for the new tenant.

This exception was put in place to encourage landlords to maintain their properties and provide incentives for tenants to stay long-term. Another exception is above-guideline increases (AGIs). These are rent increases that go beyond the annual rent increase guideline and are allowed under specific circumstances. For example, if a landlord has made significant improvements to the property, they may be able to apply for an AGI to cover the costs of those improvements.


In conclusion, there are rent control laws in Ontario that aim to protect tenants from excessive rent increases. These laws have their benefits and drawbacks, and it is essential for both landlords and tenants to understand them.

As an expert in the real estate industry, I always advise my clients to familiarize themselves with the RTA and seek professional advice if needed. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is crucial to stay informed about Ontario rental property laws and any changes that may occur. By understanding your rights and responsibilities, you can ensure a smooth and fair rental experience.

Stella Bélanger
Stella Bélanger

Certified tvaholic. Extreme food fanatic. Amateur beer evangelist. Certified bacon evangelist. Passionate bacon nerd.

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