The Responsible Housing Provider ‑‑ Proposed Amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act

March 27th, 2013 by Celia Chandler

The recently introduced bill related to co-op housing eviction reform included something new: an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act that would allow the Landlord and Tenant Board to waive or defer application fees charged to low-income Ontario tenants.

This seems to have caught everyone off-guard including the PC housing critic who expresses his concern that while the filing fee is nominal, $45, this change could lead to an increase in tenant applications on an already over burdened system.

I think we’re going to see complaints increased at the Landlord and Tenant Board. I think, again, it’s horrendously backlogged to begin with and we’re going to suffer from some even further delays because of that. Not only is the process going to be bogged down by the sheer volume of complaints, but I think we need to take the time to review all of those applicants for a fee waiver. Again, no one, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, wants to wait longer for a decision. I can understand that $45 to some tenants is going to be a big deal; it’s going to be groceries, a contribution to a utility bill. It’s a big deal. and I am very sympathetic. But I worry about whether the fee and this whole process will see, perhaps, nuisance applications from both sides being put forward. I just want to make sure, Speaker, that no matter whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, the system would work for you.

While the critic has perhaps overstated the case, the filing fee, while nominal, does sometimes serve as a deterrent against frivolous tenant applications. The removal of even a small barrier may open the door for advocacy groups to encourage and support tenants to file unwarranted applications – having a particular impact on non profit landlords where limited finances and staff time will be diverted from other priorities. This is even more reason for responsible housing providers to work hard to ensure ongoing positive tenant relationships, limiting possible avenues for dissatisfaction.


Filed in: Co-operative Law, Housing

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