Bill 184 was introduced for the first reading on March 12, 2020 and has since faced staunch opposition from tenants and community groups in Ontario.
The provincial government released a news release on July 22, 2020 that states the bill, which updates the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 and Housing Services Act, 2011, will require tenant compensation of one month’s rent for “no fault” evictions; allow the Landlord and Tenant Board to order up to 12 months’ rent in compensation for eviction notices issued in bad faith or where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back in after renovations or repairs; and it will double the maximum fine amounts for offences under the Act to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation.
“We know tenants and landlords have struggled during COVID-19, and some households may be facing eviction due to unpaid rent during this crisis,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in the July 22 new release. “By making these changes we are trying to keep people in their homes, and at the same time, helping landlords receive payment through a mutual repayment agreement. It’s a better approach, especially during these difficult times.”
Several other notable changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 are:
Under the new section 49.1, a landlord who gives a notice of termination of the tenancy to a tenant on behalf of a purchaser under section 49 is required to compensate the tenant in an amount equal to one month’s rent or offer the tenant another rental unit acceptable to the tenant.
Currently, under section 52 and subsections 54 (1) and (2), a landlord is required to compensate a tenant if the landlord gives a notice of termination of the tenancy for the purposes of demolition or conversion to non-residential use or for the purpose of repairs or renovations, provided that the residential complex in which the rental unit is located contains at least five residential units. Subsections 52 (2) and 54 (3) and (4) are added to also impose an obligation to compensate the tenant if the residential complex contains fewer than five residential units.
Currently, under subsection 82 (1), at a hearing of an application under section 69 that is based on a notice of termination under section 59 (non-payment of rent), the tenant may raise any issue that could be the subject of an application made by the tenant under the Act. Under section 82, as re-enacted, a tenant may do so if the tenant complies with specified requirements (including giving of advance written notice of intent to raise the issue) or provides an explanation satisfactory to the Board explaining why the requirements could not be met.
Currently, under sections 87 and 89, an application for arrears of rent, for compensation for the use and occupation of a rental unit by an overholding tenant or for compensation for damage to the rental unit may be made only if the tenant is in possession of the unit. Sections 87 and 89 are amended to provide that such applications may be made while the tenant is in possession of the unit or no later than one year after the tenant or former tenant ceased to be in possession of the unit.
The provincial government maintains that the changes will “modernize and streamline the dispute resolution processes at the Landlord and Tenant Board and encourage the use of alternatives to formal hearings to resolve certain issues and encourage negotiated settlements.” However, critics of the bill have argued that changes will allow landlords to bypass the board and offer tenants their own repayment plan.
The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations has previously released a statementregarding Bill 184, stating that the changes “will essentially transform the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) into a debt collection forum, by allowing landlords to pursue tenants for rent and utilities arrears through the LTB, instead of small claims court as is currently the case.”
In light of the controversy surrounding the bill, On July 29, 2020, Toronto’s city council voted 22-2 to bring a legal challenge against the changes enacted by Bill 184, “on the basis that they are contrary to the rule of procedural fairness and natural justice,” according to the motion passed by the city.
As is stands, the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 as contained in Bill 184 are in effect in Ontario pending the City of Toronto’s legal challenge.
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