Ontario NDP bill proposes capping rent increases between tenants

London North Centre NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan announced the bill during a news conference near Western University on Tuesday. Andrew Graham / Global News

The Ontario NDP has put forth a new bill that it hopes will stabilize rents in the province while cracking down on “renovictions.”

The Rent Stabilization Act: Pay What the Last Tenant Paid was unveiled in a series of news conferences from NDP MPPs in London, Ottawa and Toronto.

During an announcement near Western University, London North Centre MPP Terence Kernaghan said if passed, the proposed legislation would ensure that when a new tenant moves into an apartment, they’ll be charged the same rent as the previous tenant.

The only price hikes allowed would be ones tied to government-regulated increases that are based on annual inflation.

Read more: ‘We are stretched to our limits’ — Advocates push for extension of Ontario rent freeze

“One of the most common stories I hear from renters is that when they move out, their apartment goes back on the market, costing anywhere from 200 to 400 more dollars,” Kernaghan said.

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“The new rent is hundreds of dollars more, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a single upgrade or improvement.”

The MPP added that Ontario has seen an uptick in “renovictions,” which he describes as a practice where “landlords will evict their current tenants, make some upgrades to the unit and then charge exponentially more rent.”

“A good tenant shouldn’t lose their home because of this and this bill would remove that profit incentive for landlords and keep reliable tenants housed,” Kernaghan said.

Read more: Canadians piled on more debt during COVID-19, see quality of life worsen, survey says

In 2018, the Ontario government introduced legislation that scrapped rent control on new builds that are occupied for the first time after Nov. 15, 2018.

Apartments that do fall under rent control have to follow Ontario’s rent increase guideline, which is capped at 1.2 per cent for 2022.

The province enacted a rent freeze for 2021 that is set to expire at the end of the year, but advocates are pushing for an extension as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.

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