The Residential Tenancies Act regulates the annual rent increase you may charge on apartment units that are not vacant. For 2020, the maximum allowable increase is just 2.2%, about the rate of inflation. Landlords should absolutely raise their rents this year by the maximum, as the government is examining changing the formula again to cap the maximum that may be taken. NOTE: there is no rent increase for 2021 allowed due to Covid-19.
There are provisions in the Act and in the Regulations, that allow a landlord to apply to the Board for the allowable increase above the provincial guideline, if there has been an extraordinary increase in utility costs, realty taxes or security services, or if the landlord has made capital expenditures during the prescribed period, these are called AGI’s. These are complicated applications to bring forward. No landlord should try to do these on his or her own. The consequences of failure are severe, as this will limit the amount you may raise your rents, depriving you forever from recovering the costs you incurred through rent increases.
Specialized skills and tools are required by any company acting on your behalf in these applications. Most agents and law firms are not equipped to carry the ball.
There are also provisions for increasing rent for increases in services, as well as by an agreement to increase the rent. The Regulations also allow discounting of rents in certain circumstances, and rent reductions can be automatically imposed by the Act if municipalities reduce taxes more than a prescribed percentage. There are also applications that can be filed to reduce the amount of a rent decrease based on a reduction in realty taxes and municipal charges if you disagree with the calculation.