Delays in implementation of Rental Fairness Act anything but fair, critics say

On Wednesday morning, affected tenants and Ontario's NDP government critics voiced their concerns at Queen's Park saying delays in the implementation of certain sections of the law are hurting tenants in the city.

Ministry of Housing says it's leaning on Landlord and Tenant board to implement changes faster

Aaron Benson thought he was protected under the new Rental Fairness Act but certain rules have yet to be implemented by the government. (CBC News)

When Parkdale resident Aaron Benson received an unexpected eviction notice from his landlord, he thought he was protected under the new Rental Fairness Act.

However, despite the law having been passed mid-May and achieving royal assent on May 30, portions of it have yet to be implemented — an oversight, Benson says, that is hurting tenants like himself all over the city. 

According to the new rules, "landlords who want to evict a tenant for their own use of a unit must provide one month's rent to the tenant, or offer them another acceptable rental unit." 

They must also prove that they intend to live in the unit for at least a year. 

Around 90 per cent of residents in Parkdale, where the city has recently seen a number of battles between landlords and tenants, are renters. (Shannon Martin/ CBC News)

Because those changes aren't fully implemented, however, Benson has 60 days from the end of the month to move out. 

He is also not going to receive any compensation from his landlord. 

"There are a vast number of tenants in Toronto who are now more fearful and put into difficult circumstances because this hasn't been properly implemented," he said. 

Other protections under the law, such as rent control for units built after 1991 and annual rent increases for tenants capped at the rate of inflation, have been in effect since April.

NDP criticizes delays 

On Wednesday morning, provincial NDP government critics voiced their concerns at Queen's Park, saying the delays surrounding the implementation of landlord compensation, which the Liberal government is attributing to updating technology and forms, may take up to a year. 

"We checked with ministry liaison people and they told us it could be up to a year for some of these provisions to be implemented because they had to [put the regulations] in writing," said NDP housing critic Percy Hatfield.

The Ontario housing minister's press secretary, Myriam Denis, told CBC Toronto it is leaning on the Landlord and Tenant Board "to ensure these changes are implemented this summer to bring greater fairness to the rental system."

That isn't much help to Benson, who has to sell his car to come up with extra money as he, along with two of his roommates, begins searching for a new home. 

"There's no reason to put the brakes on basic compensation for breaking a contract," said Benson. 

Another Parkdale resident, Helen Dworaczek, is facing a similar situation to Benson and says the new protections fail to prevent landlords from taking advantage of tenants. 

"I'm not counting on getting any compensation," she said. "I'm not planning on trying to extend my tenancy because there really is no legal remedy for this situation."

With files from Shannon Martin