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This Ontario tenant will soon have to pay $350 more on rent every month. This is why it's allowed


An Ontario tenant will soon have to pay $350 more in rental fees every month – a 17.5 per cent hike her landlord is set to enforce in less than two weeks.

“It’s really maddening,” Kara Petrunick, a naturopath in St. Catharines, Ont., told CTV News Toronto.

She left Toronto for the Niagara Region during the pandemic to live and work closer to family.

When she moved in Feb. 2021, her rent for a three-bedroom townhouse on Russell Avenue cost $2,000-a-month. She recognized the price tag was high, but the local rental market was limited and it was the best she could find.

Two years after she moved in, on Feb. 28, she said she found a note was taped to her door announcing a 17.5 per cent rent increase set to go into effect in June.

“Of course, it comes as a shock,” she said.

Ontario capped the maximum a landlord could increase rent at 2.5 per cent in 2023.

However, that rule does not apply to new buildings first occupied after Nov. 15, 2018. The Ford government scrapped rent control for these units to “stimulate the construction of new rental housing,” a spokesperson for Ontario’s Minister of Housing told CTV News Toronto.

Ontario resident Kara Petrunick's rent is set to be raised $350-per-month in June (Supplied). The problem with this model, says Douglas Kwan, director of advocacy and legal services at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, is these newly built rentals won’t become affordable for 10 to 15 years, once the units age and are no longer as hot on the market.

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“We’ve seen so many horror stories of just every day Ontarians seeing double digit increases because of the rent control exemptions for post 2018 units,” Kwan said.


Up until this point, Petrunick’s rent had never been increased past $2,000, which she credits to unfinished renovations on her townhouse.

According to Petrunick, the landscaping was left as dirt and mud, no fences were put up between the townhouses, and there were gaping holes in her floors instead of heating grilles. She also said the appliances in some of her neighbourhoods’ homes were never hooked up.

In an effort to negotiate the rent hike, she sent a letter cosigned by neighbours, offering a 5 to 9 per cent increase, instead of 17.5 per cent.

In response, her landlord said he sympathized with the current state of living and faced the same dilemmas with the cost of mortgages, insurance, property tax and maintenance costs.

“This is the first increase I have provided since you occupied the unit and purposely did not increase until now and tried to hold off as long as possible, but the expenses have gone to a point where I am unable to hold off on increasing rental prices,” they wrote in a letter reviewed by CTV News Toronto.

Petrunick’s landlord has not responded to CTV News Toronto’s interview requests.

While Petrunick said she can afford the current rent increase, she worries about the uncertainty looming in the future.

“I can stay, but what about next year? What about the year after? Am I going to be hit with a $1,000 increase next year just because they can?,” There is a lot of fear and risk in speaking out, but Niagara is my home,” she said. Top Stories

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