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Rent increases

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Agreements to raise the rent

If your landlord asks you to agree to increase your rent by more than the guideline, you can always refuse, or try to work out a different amount. Try to get legal advice before you sign anything.

For the agreement to be legal, you must be getting:

  1. improvements or new services, or
  2. new items or services that are listed in the Residential Tenancies Act.

The rules for each type of agreement are explained on the next page.

1. Improvements or new services

You can agree to a rent increase to get improvements to your apartment or building. For example, your landlord might want to put in a new security system or a washer and dryer.

If you agree to a rent increase, your landlord does not have to give you written notice of the rent increase.

This type of agreement:

  • must be in writing and on the correct Board form,
  • can be cancelled if you tell your landlord in writing within 5 days after signing the agreement,
  • cannot increase your rent sooner than the sixth day after you signed the agreement,
  • cannot raise your rent by more than the guideline amount plus 3%, and
  • cannot increase your rent before 12 months have passed since your last rent increase or since you first moved in.

2. Items listed in the Residential Tenancies Act

You can also agree to a rent increase in return for certain new services or things, such as:

  • a parking space
  • cable or satellite television
  • an air conditioner
  • extra electricity used by an air conditioner, washer, or dryer
  • lockers, storage space, or extra floor space

These are only some of the items listed in the law. The government could change this list at any time. If you are not sure whether something is on the list, check with the Landlord and Tenant Board. There is contact information for the Board in section Where to get help.

As with the first kind of agreement, your landlord does not have to give you written notice of the rent increase.

But, this kind of agreement is different from the first kind in the following ways:

  • The agreement does not have to be in writing. But it is safer if you get it in writing.
  • You do not have the right to change your mind after you have made the agreement.
  • The increase is not limited to 3% above the guideline amount. The law says that the limit is a "reasonable" amount or the landlord's actual cost.
  • If you and your landlord later agree that your landlord will stop providing the service or item, your rent must go back down.
  • The 12-month rule does not apply. This means that the increase can take effect on any date you agree to, even if you have had a rent increase less than 12 months ago. And after this kind of increase, your landlord does not have to wait 12 months before raising your rent again.

Is the increase worth it?

Before you make either kind of agreement, it is helpful to think of what the cost of the rent increase will be over time. Figure out how much you will have paid for the item, improvement, or service after a year or more, and how much it is worth.

Also, remember that these increases can be added to the other kinds of increases described in this booklet. Your rent does not go back down when the improvement has been paid for, unless the agreement says that it will.

You should not agree to a rent increase to cover normal maintenance and repair costs. Your landlord is responsible for doing this without a rent increase. There is more information in the CLEO resource called Maintenance and repairs. To find out how to order it or view it online, turn to the back cover of this booklet.

If you are paying too much

If you think you are not getting what you agreed to, or if your landlord forced or misled you into making the agreement, you can apply to the Board to get some money back. See Where to get help for where to get legal help and how to contact the Board.