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Ontario tenants share stories of living with no rent control. Here's what it's like

Ontario tenants living in new builds are speaking out about the stress of double-digit rent increases that threaten to price them out of their homes.

In 2023, the province capped rent increases at 2.5 per cent. But for those who moved into buildings constructed after Nov. 15, 2018, rent can be increased by any amount.

The Ford government scrapped rent control for these units to incentivize developers, and in doing so, increase the province’s housing supply.

CTV News Toronto spoke to three tenants living without rent control.



Jonathan Holmes' rent increased 12 per cent in March.

“We were disappointed because we didn't want to increase our bills by $400,” Holmes said.

He moved into a new two-bedroom condominium with his partner at Bathurst and Front streets in July 2021. The rent for their corner unit, along with standard amenities and a parking spot, came to $2,900.

In January, their landlord notified them of a rent hike, to $3,350 a month, come March, which they were able to negotiate down to $3,250.

With a wedding in the books for the summer, on top of a rent hike, they said they were forced to tighten their spending, which Holmes said has made the decision to live downtown less worthwhile.

“We are contemplating moving from the area. Spending that much doesn't allow you to actually enjoy the area,” he said.

Now, the couple says they are looking at rentals in Mississauga, Oakville, or Burlington, Ont. While they are flexible on location, they are firm on finding a rental that’s not in a new building.

“Just so we can gain that protection,” he said.



Nicole Stibbe’s 77-year-old mother lives alone in an apartment of about 600 square feet near her community in Oakville, Ont.

She moved into the new one-bedroom unit in 2019 for $2,000-per-month. At first, rent increased by $20 a month, which Stibbe said was manageable. Then last September, Stibbe said a 3.75 per cent increase raised the senior's rent to $2,095, followed by a notice to expect another uptick come next September.

“I guess on paper, it doesn't sound too bad,” Stibbe said. But in reality, the absence of a cap is particularly concerning for a senior with a fixed income, she said, explaining that her mother primarily lives on pension payments.

“There’s not a lot of wiggle room. If this continues to go up, we might have to look at other options,” Stibbe said.



Paul Lagace moved into a four-bedroom house in Aurora, Ont., last May, built a year before he moved in.

His rent, which started at $3,500, is set to increase 18.5 per cent in June, reaching $4,150.

“We’re close to retiring, but that’s not the point,” he said, adding that the house is changing ownership this month, but the rent hike remains in effect.

The point, according to Lagace, is “why does it have to be raised by that much to begin with?”

“Most people that are renting can afford what they are paying that month. That’s why they are renting.” Top Stories


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