Dreaded rent increase in Canada: what you need to know

If you’re a landlord or tenant entering a new rental agreement, it is important to know the rules for rent increase in Canada, especially if you’ve just moved to a new province as the rules vary across the country. Here are the basic rules for rent increase in Canada from province to province. It is important to note that there are some variations and exceptions. These are the rules that apply to basic month-to-month tenancies.

British Columbia

Landlords must use the official “Notice of Rent Increase” form and give their tenant three months’ notice to increase rent. BC has rent control and the allowable increase for 2017 is 3.7 per cent.

Alberta

Landlords may increase rent if there hasn’t been an increase in the last 365 days or since the start of the tenancy, whichever is later. Written notice must be given and the time frame varies based on the tenancy term. There are no rent controls in Alberta. The notice of increase must be dated and signed by the landlord and include the effective date.

Saskatchewan

If the landlord is a member in good standing with the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association (SRHIA) they can give six months’ written notice of a rent increase and can increase the rent twice a year. If they’re not in good standing with the SRHIA one year’s notice is required and rent can only be increased once a year.

Manitoba

Each year the Residential Tenancies Branch sets a rent increase guideline. Landlords can apply for a larger increase for a fee, but can only increase rent once every 12 months. Three months’ written notice is required and must be submitted to the Branch. The tenant can send objections to the Branch at least two months prior to the effective date. For 2017, the allowable rent increase is 1.7 per cent.

Ontario

Landlords must give 90 days’ written notice and can only increase rent once every 12 months, following Ontario’s rent guidelines that are set each year. Landlords can apply for a larger increase to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Board can prohibit all rent increases if the tenant has reported outstanding maintenance issues. For 2017 the maximum rent increase is 1.5 per cent. For rentals that came to market on November 1, 1991 or after, the maximum rent guideline does not apply.

Quebec

A written notice of rental increase is required, dated and signed by the landlord. Notice timelines vary depending on the rental term. It also must include the time the tenant has to refuse the modifications. The tenant can contest the increase to the Regie du lodgement. Upon refusal to accept the increase, the landlord must apply to ‘fix the rent’ with the courts within a month.

New Brunswick

There are no rent controls. Three months’ notice is required to increase the rent in a year-to-year lease and two months for a month-to-month lease. On a fixed-term lease the landlord can give three months’ notice if the box on the Residential Lease form has been checked.

Nova Scotia

There are no rent controls, but landlords can only increase rent once in 12 months. Notice must be issued four months prior to the anniversary date of the tenancy.

Prince Edward Island

Each year the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission sets rent increase guidelines. Notice of Increase in Rent of Residential Premises must be submitted three months before the effective date of the increase and if they want to exceed the rates set out in the guidelines they must apply for approval. Rent cannot be raised until a fixed-term lease expires and the increases are attached to the property, not the tenant. Rent can be increased once a year, but if tenants change within that year they should be paying the same rent as the previous occupants. For 2017 the maximum rent increase is 1.5 per cent.

Newfoundland & Labrador

Landlords cannot increase rent during a fixed-term agreement more than once a year, or within the first year of a weekly or monthly rental agreement. Three months’ written notice is required.

Nunavut & Northwest Territories

Landlords cannot increase rent more than once a year and three months written notice is required. A tenant can treat the notice as a termination of tenancy, but must inform the landlord in writing of their decision to vacate before the increases effective date. The unit can be re-rented, but the rent must stay the same as stated on the increase notice.

Yukon

Rent cannot be increased within the first year of tenancy. After that, a landlord must give three months’ written notice.

Need more information? The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has more information on rent increases and lease renewals for each province.

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