Legally reduce your rent if you get this letter

Almost 30% of Toronto tenant households can automatically reduce their rents—Rent reduction notices in the mail to 136,000 Toronto households

By Patricia Anderson –

legallyAlmost 30 per cent of Toronto tenant households will receive notices this week that mean they can automatically reduce their rents. All tenants should check their daily mail. If there is a rent reduction notice, tenants should take action.

Addressed to the Current Tenant, clearly marked Rent Reduction Notice Enclosed, and in an envelope with the City of Toronto logo, these letters contain all the customized information a tenant requires to start paying a lower rent as early as December 31, 2012.

More than 136,000 households are eligible this year for a rent reduction under provincial legislation because the property taxes on their buildings have been lowered by more than 2.49 per cent.

Ontario’s municipalities are required to send notices about the tax decrease and resulting rent reduction to landlords of affected buildings by September 15 and to tenants by December 15. Notices are based on assessment information provided by Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC), an independent organization established by the provincial government.

The rent reduction provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act apply only to private rental buildings occupied as residences before November 1, 1991. A number of other exemptions apply, including social housing and housing owned by educational institutions.

Property taxes on some rental properties are declining because the City decided a number of years ago to more closely align business and residential property tax rates. This results in a lowering of business rates. Rental properties are considered to be businesses.

The province sets out the rule that determines the amount of a rent reduction and every situation will be different. As an example, a building with seven or more units, based on the average tax decrease, a typical rent reduction for a two-bedroom apartment might be about $9 a month.

Questions? Ph. 311.

Top five questions the City of Toronto receives after mailing out the rent reduction notices:

1. My landlord says the rent reduction notice I received from you doesn’t apply to me. Is this true?

No. According to the law (Residential Tenancies Act), if the property taxes in the building have decreased by more than 2.49%, tenants can automatically reduce their rents. If you receive the City notice, it means you are entitled to a rent reduction.

2. My landlord still hasn’t given me the rent reduction. What can I do?

You should find out why your landlord hasn’t given you the rent reduction first. If the reason is he doesn’t want to reduce the rent, you may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an Order to require your landlord to pay you a rebate. You must apply as soon as possible, and no later than December 30, 2013.

3. Exactly how much can I take off my rent?

The City notice you have received shows the percentage of rent reduction you can take off your rent. There is an example in the notice showing how you can calculate the dollar amount of reduction.

4. Today, I got a rent reduction notice from the City and a rent increase notice from my landlord. What should my rent be?

The automatic rent reduction takes effect December 31, 2012.  If your rent increase date is after that date, your rent should be reduced by the percentage reduction shown in the City notice, and then calculate the rent increase.

5. The maintenance in my building is extremely poor and the rent reduction is not enough. How can I get a bigger reduction?

If you have a maintenance problem, the first thing you should do is make a written request to the landlord to fix the problem. If the landlord does not fix the problem, you can contact Municipal Licensing and Standards or file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to order a rent abatement, or order the landlord to do the repairs, or pay you the cost if you have fixed the problem.

Questions about the automatic rent reduction? Call 311.