If you have not yet found yourself skimming the news online today, you may not have heard yet about the Provincial Government’s announcement this morning regarding the Ontario Housing and Rental Markets.
The Provincial Liberal Government, laid out for the Province their plan to address issues in key aspects of the Real Estate and Rental Property Markets in the Province. There were 16 steps in total, however for this post, we are going to focus solely on the announced changes that deal directly with Rental Properties and Landlords. These changes may directly impact our clients whom have or plan to acquire rental property. (Keep in mind that these were just announcements and many of them will have to be passed in the legislature before officially becoming law, although passing is highly likely).
1. Standardized Lease Agreements – The new plan stipulates that rental agreements/leases in Ontario for rental properties will be standardized. This helps the government ensure that lease agreements meet legislation requirements pertaining to landlord/tenant relationships and their respective rights.
2. Expansion of Rent Controls – Currently, any privately owned rental properties that are newer than 1991 are not impacted by Ontario’s rent control legislation. Meaning that a landlord has complete control on rent setting.
To gain control of skyrocketing rents (typically being experienced in Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe markets) the Province is expanding the Rent controls to all privately held rental properties regardless of the year they are/were build. The change would mean that rental rate increases would be capped at annual amount stipulated by the Landlord and Tenants Board. Those increases are typically in line with or around the rate of inflation. Even though this increase needs to come through approved legislation, the change will take effect today, April 20th.
3. Vacancy Taxes – Although a specific tax is not being created by the Province, they are creating new powers for Toronto and other municipalities to introduce a tax on vacant homes in their respective communities. The tax is designed to encourage owners of vacant properties to make these available to tenants or be forced to pay a tax to the municipality.
4. Creating a rebate program designed help with Development Cost Charges to incentivize the building or more rental housing.
5. Ensuring that Property Tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. Designed to encourage developers to build more new rental housing.
As we have become accustom to in the industry, change is always inevitable and many of the changes laid out today are not a surprise. Some of these have been rumored or discussed for some time. The most substantial of those changes impacting owners of rental properties is likely the changes proposed to the rent control rules, although this truly only impacts those owners who have properties that are newer than 1991.
Should you have any questions about any mortgages on properties that you own, please feel free to contact one of our team members anytime. We would be more than happy to complete a full review of your property portfolio and discuss what options might exists for either saving money on interest or accessing equity for another investment.