Minister talks housing with students

Ontario’s Housing Minister Peter Milczyn engaged in a roundtable with students on housing issues today

With a view to educate and resolve issues faced by students and off-campus housing, Peter Milczyn, Minister of Housing, conducted a roundtable with students to discuss Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan today at the Ontario Legislature.

With 600,000 post-secondary students getting back to school, Milczyn says it is imperative for students to know their rights as tenants, especially considering that off-campus housing is the more popular option. 

“We want to make sure that renting a place is hassle-free so that you can focus on what really matters to you, which is furthering your education,” said Milczyn.

Students from the University of Toronto, York, Waterloo and Laurier Universities were engaged in a quick quiz to check if they had adequate knowledge about rental issues, such as their right to maintenance of heat during the winters, viewing the unit you’re signing a lease for and the maximum your rent can be increased.

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) was recently restructured to make rent increases consistent and now cover all off-campus housing in the province.

“The rental increases are now limited to 1.8 per cent for 2018,” said Milczyn.

Previously rent control only applied to buildings built before Nov. 1, 1991. 

Andrew Clubine, vice president of education of the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo, raised issues relating to pre-occupancy with the minister. 

“In Waterloo for over last four years, each year there has been a major student-targeted development not ready for move-in day,” said Clubine. 

His major concern was is that pre-tenancy issues cannot be taken to the Landlord and Tenant Board because the Act only covers tenants once they are possession of their unit. 

Framing it as a consumer awareness issue, Milczyn responded, “that’s an issue we are aware of, and we are looking at what we could do and how we could work with the post-secondary institutions around some more awareness for students about what their housing options are.”

Clubine said they will be working with the minister’s office on the issue.

The press release had the following tips for tenants:

  • Starting September 1, if the landlord wants the unit for their own use, a close family member’s or caregiver’s use, they must give the tenant one month’s rent or offer them another acceptable unit —and they can’t re-rent it for a year.
  • Landlords are responsible for maintenance, but tenants have to keep the place clean.
  • Renters have to give landlords 60 days’ notice before they move out if they are on a monthly or fixed term lease.
  • A landlord can’t ban pets or guests, but if renting a condo, tenants have to follow any rules set under the Condominium Act.

Minister talks housing with students