Most landlords must follow two main rules about when they can increase the rent. Your landlord must:
- wait at least 12 months before raising your rent
- give you a written notice at least 90 days before raising your rent
12 months between increases
After you move in, your landlord must wait at least 12 months before raising your rent. Any increases after that also must be at least 12 months apart.
90 days' notice
Your landlord must give you a written notice at least 90 days before your rent goes up. For example, if your landlord wants to raise your rent on June 1, they must give you a written Notice of Rent Increase no later than March 2.
This notice should be on a Form N1 or N2 from the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord does not use the Board's form, the notice might still be legal if it includes all the information that is on the Board's form.
Some landlords do not have to follow these two rules. For example, in subsidized housing there are different rules about rent increases.
You don't have to pay a rent increase if the landlord did not give you a written notice.
If you got a notice that is written on one of the Board's forms (N1 or N2), check that all the information is complete. If the notice is not on a Board form, check that it contains all of the following information:
- date of notice
- date rent increase is to take effect
- amount of new rent
- your address, including unit number
- name, phone number, and signature of the person the notice is from
If the provincial rent increase guideline applies to your unit, the notice should be on a Form N1. It must show the increase in dollars and as a percentage, and must say one of the following:
- that the percentage increase is less than or equal to the provincial guideline, or
- that it is more than the guideline and the landlord has applied to the Board for approval, or
- that it is more than the guideline and the Board has already approved it
Look at the date the increase is to begin and the date your last increase began. If this is the first increase, look at the date of the increase and the date you moved in. If there are not at least a full 12 months between the two dates, the increase is probably not legal and you don't have to pay it.
A full 12 months means from any date to the same date the following year, for example, January 15, 2015 to January 15, 2016.
Look at the date the landlord gave you the notice and the date the rent increase is supposed to begin. If the date of the rent increase is less than 90 days after the day the landlord gave you the notice, then the increase is probably not legal and you don't have to pay it.
To count correctly, count the day after the landlord gave you the notice as day 1, and then count to 90.
If your landlord sent you the notice in the mail, the law assumes your landlord gave it to you on the 5th day after it was mailed, regardless of when you actually received it. So count the 6th day after mailing as day 1, and then count to 90. The postmark on the envelope shows the latest date it could have been mailed.
If the increase needs to be approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board, you have the right to oppose it.
If the increase is legal and doesn't need approval, you will probably have to pay it unless you can negotiate a lower increase with your landlord.
If you want to move out instead of paying the increased rent, you will have to give proper notice or take other steps to make sure you do not have to keep paying after you leave. Most tenants have to give 60 days' notice to move out, and that is why landlords are required to give 90 days' notice to increase the rent.
If you decide to stay, you don't have to sign any papers or do anything else. If your lease is expiring, your landlord might ask you to sign a new one for another term or a fixed term such as a year. But you do not have to sign one if you don't want to. If you don't sign a new lease, you automatically stay as a monthly or weekly tenant. Your rent will increase but everything else in your lease agreement will stay the same.