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It is important for tenants to know their rights. If they don’t, they may be taken advantage of by predatory landlords or those who simply do not understand the law themselves.  Therefore, it is important that tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities, particularly with the laws around rent control. 

What Is Rent Control?

Rent control is a policy designed to protect tenants by restricting rent increases instituted by landlords. The idea is that fewer tenants will be driven from their homes if they are given advance notice of any rent increases and by having limitations on how much and how often rent can be increased.

Types Of Rent Control Policies

There are several kinds of rent control policies available across Canada.

  • Frequency limits – How often rent can be increased by a landlord.
  • Increase limits – The amount by which rent can be increased.
  • Vacancy decontrol – a landlord’s ability to re-rent a unit at the market rate once it has been vacated.

Rent Control Policies Across Canada

Each province and territory has different rent control rules, including frequency limits, increase limits, vacancy decontrol, and how much advance notice is needed ahead of a rent increase.

British Columbia

In British Columbia, landlords must give tenants at least three months’ notice before any rent increases. Rent increases can only happen once every 12 months, and they are tied to the inflation rate. The percentage by which rent can increase changes annually. If a rent increase does not meet this percentage, landlords are not allowed to make up the difference in the future by topping up a rent increase.

Alberta

In Alberta, landlords cannot increase a tenant’s rent until either a tenancy has lasted for one year or one year has passed since the last rent increase.

Advance notice is required for periodic tenancies. If it’s a week-to-week periodic tenancy, 12 full weeks of notice must be given before a rent increase. For a month-to-month periodic tenancy, this period extends to three full months. For other kinds of periodic tenancy, 90 days of notice must be given.

Saskatchewan

When it comes to fixed-term tenancies in Saskatchewan, no rent increases are allowed unless both the tenant and landlord agree to a rent increase and if the increase is in effect at the start of the tenancy. Since landlords must let tenants know two months ahead of the end of a lease whether they wish to renew the lease or not, they must also only give two months’ notice ahead of a rent increase.

For periodic tenancies In Saskatchewan, landlords must give at least one year of notice ahead of a rent increase unless they are members of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association or the Network of Non-Profit Housing Providers of Saskatchewan. In this case, they must only give six months of notice. Landlords must also wait one year between rent increases, but if they are SKLA or NPHPS members, they only have to wait six months.

While there are rules on when a landlord can increase rent, there is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Manitoba

In Manitoba, landlords can increase the rent only once every 12 months. Before enacting any rent increases, landlords must give tenants at least three months’ notice.

The maximum percentage by which rent can increase is known as the annual rent increase guideline. This guideline is the average annual change in the Manitoba Consumer Price Index and dictates how much a landlord can increase your rent for that year. If a landlord wants to raise the rent above the annual rent increase guideline, they must receive approval from the Residential Tenancies Branch.

Ontario

In Ontario, rent cannot be increased for 12 months after the last rent increase or until 12 months since tenancy began. Before increasing the rent, landlords must give tenants at least 90 days advance notice.

The percentage that rent can increase is known as the rent increase guideline. This guideline is calculated by determining the average change in the Ontario Consumer Price Index over a 12-month period. Increases above this percentage require the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a rent freeze is in place until December 31, 2021. Most rental units will not face a rent increase until 2022.

Quebec

In Quebec, landlords can only increase rent once every 12 months. For periodic tenancies, they must give one to two months’ notice ahead of a rent increase. For fixed-term tenancies, they must give one to two months’ notice if the lease is less than 12 months, or three to six months’ notice if the lease is more than 12 months.

The Tribunal administratif du logement has a calculation form for tenants and landlords that lets them come up with a mutually acceptable rent increase, although this form is not legally required.

Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months if the tenant is renting week to week or month-to-month. If the tenant is renting for a fixed term, the rent cannot be increased during the term of the rental agreement. Landlords can also not increase the rent in the first year of a rental agreement.

If the premises are being rented from week to week, landlords must give at least 8 weeks of notice before a rent increase. If the premises are being rented from month to month, landlords must give at least 6 months of notice before a rent increase. 

In terms of how much rent can be increase, there is currently no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Prince Edward Island

In Prince Edward Island, landlords can only increase rent once per year. They must give at least three months of notice before increasing the rent.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission sets an annual allowable percentage by which rent can be increased. In 2021, this percentage is 1.0%. Any landlord wishing to increase rent by more than the allowable amount must apply to the Director of Residential Rental Property.

New Brunswick

If enough notice is given, landlords have the right to increase rent for periodic tenancies. For week-to-week and month-to-month tenancies, at least two months of notice is required. For year-to-year tenancies, at least three months of notice is required. For a mobile home site, at least six months of notice is required.

For long-term tenancies, where premises have been occupied by the same tenant for five consecutive years or more, tenants must be given at least three months of notice before a rent increase. Landlords must also increase the rent of each unit in the same building by the same percentage or increase the rent to the same amount as comparable units in the area. 

Tenants have 15 days following the receipt of a Notice of Rent Increase to request assistance from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to request a revision of the notice. There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, landlords can only raise the rent once per year, and they cannot raise it during the first 12 months of your tenancy. 

If you have a yearly or monthly lease, you must be given at least four months of notice ahead of a rent increase. For a fixed-term lease, your lease will dictate how much notice is needed ahead of a rent increase. 

There is generally no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is currently a rent cap of a two percent increase. This cap will be removed when the provincial state of emergency is lifted or on February 1, 2022.

Nunavut 

In Nunavut, tenants must receive a minimum of three months of notice ahead of a rent increase. Landlords cannot increase the rent for a rental property more than once every 12 months.

There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Northwest Territories

Tenants in the Northwest Territories can expect to have no rent increases in the first 12 months of their tenancy. Landlords must give at least three months’ notice ahead of a rent increase.

There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Yukon

In the Yukon, a landlord cannot increase the rent during the first year of a tenancy. Three months of notice must be given before any rent increase, and landlords can only increase the rent once every 12 months.

Tenants and landlords cannot enter into multiple tenancy agreements to get around laws on rental increases. 

There is no limit on the amount by which a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent.

Check out the average cost of rent across Canada.

What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford Your Rent

If you can’t afford rent, speak with your landlord. They may be willing to negotiate a reduced rent in exchange for services, such as lawn maintenance. Do not use this option too frequently, however, as your landlord may not be as understanding if you negotiate multiple times.

Some communities offer rent banks, which offer a variety of rent-related services. These services include one month’s rent and low-interest loans for multiple months’ rent. These organizations have requirements you must meet to qualify for assistance.

Subsidized, non-profit, and social housing may also be an option. This kind of housing has rent that is a percentage of your income, which is typically 30%. There are requirements you must meet, and you must get on the waiting list to get housing.

You may also be able to reach out to friends, family, or your employer for help paying your rent. Your employer, for example, maybe willing to offer an advance on your paycheque.

Rent Control In Canada FAQs

What if I can’t afford a rent increase?

In some provinces, if you cannot afford a rent increase, you can apply to the provincial authority for a rent reduction for certain reasons, including:
  • Not making repairs or improvements
  • Failure to provide services as a condition of a rent increase 
  • Lowered municipal taxes
  • Reduction or removal of a building service or facility  

What if my landlord doesn’t give me enough notice of rent increase?

No matter which province you live in, your landlord is obligated to give you enough notice before increasing rent. However, depending on the province you live the amount of notice a landlord must give you varies. If your landlord does not give you enough notice, you can refuse to pay the increased rent amount until they give you proper notice. 

Which provinces have rent control in Canada?

The provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island have rent control.

Bottom Line

There are several rent control policies in Canada, including frequency limits, increase limits and vacancy decontrol. Each province and territory has its own rent control laws and tenancy regulator, which govern rent control. By knowing the rent control laws, tenants can be aware of their rights so that they aren’t taken advantage of.

Matthew Taylor avatar on Loans Canada
Matthew Taylor

Matthew joined the Loans Canada writing team in 2021 while was finishing up a Bachelor's degree at the University of Saskatchewan. It was there that he discovered his love of writing. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Canadian Student Review and NewEngineer.com. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys reading, geocaching, and spending time with his family and pets.

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