The Bill amends the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 to do the following:
1. Require landlords of residential complexes with 10 or more residential units to maintain an account, at a financial institution, into which the prescribed percentage of the rents of the residential complex must be deposited. The money in the account can only be used for repairs to the complex.
2. Provide that any hearing of the Landlord and Tenant Board with respect to applications made by tenants under the Act should be a written hearing, if the tenant requests a written hearing, unless the landlord satisfies the Board that there is a good reason to hear oral evidence or submissions.
3. Provide that the Board must order an abatement of rent in certain situations in which the landlord fails to comply with their obligations under the Act or performs certain activities set out in the Act.
4. Provide that the changes referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 do not apply to rental units referred to in subsection 7 (1) of the Act.
In plain English this means:
1. Landlords with 10 or more rental units will be held to the standard condo complexes are already held to — they need to have a fund set aside to cover the costs of major repairs. The money would come out of the rent landlords already collect. Landlords will not be allowed to increase rent to fund this account.
2. Tenants who apply for a rent discount under the St. James Town Act will not have to go to an in-person hearing of the Landlord and Tenant Board, but will be allowed to make a written submission of their evidence that their building was not in a sufficient state of repair.
3. When a state of maintenance is not kept, the Board will order a rent discount for tenants. Currently, landlords can avoid giving tenants a rent discount if they can prove they are trying to repair the unit, or they are not at fault for the need of repair. Tenants will get discounts even if the landlord is trying to repair the unit because they are not getting the state of repair their rent is supposed to pay for.