280 Wellesley Rent Reduction
Last month, tenants at 280 Wellesley received a letter from the City of Toronto saying that their rent is being reduced by 1.63% as of December 31, 2019. Rent is going down because property taxes for the building have decreased. This is great news for tenants, but it might also be a bit confusing. Here are some things you should know.
Will the Landlord tell me what my new rent is?
You don’t have to wait for the Landlord to tell you what your new rent is – you can calculate the rent reduction and take it off of your rent for January 2020. If you paid the full rent for January 2020, you can deduct the amount you overpaid in your next month’s rent.
If you do not take your rent reduction within the next 12 months, the Landlord may be able to argue that you have lost your right to the rent reduction.
What are the risks if I reduce my rent myself?
Your Landlord may try to challenge the decision to lower your rent at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). If the Landlord is successful in doing that, you will be required to pay back some of the money that you withheld.
There is also a risk that you will calculate your rent reduction incorrectly. If you do the calculation incorrectly, the Landlord may give you an N4 Eviction Notice from the LTB that says you haven’t paid all the rent. You don’t have to move out based on that notice. You should bring the notice to Neighbourhood Legal Services (if you are a low-income person) for a legal opinion about what your correct reduction should be.
We have seen your Landlord give tenants a letter that says they owe money, and that they will send the bill to a collections agency. The Landlord cannot evict you based on this letter, and collections cannot force you to pay without first obtaining an order. This may also constitute harassment by the Landlord; you can file an application called a T2 to the LTB if the Landlord keeps harassing you with these threatening letters.
I pay for parking or utilities. Will my parking/utility charges also be reduced?
This depends on what your lease says.
- If you pay utility charges directly to the utility company, this will not be affected by the reduction.
- If you pay a flat fee for utilities to your Landlord, and it has been increased at the same rate as your rent each year, this might be treated as rent (you should get a legal opinion).
- If your lease allows you to cancel your parking spot, and you have been paying a separate parking charge each month, then this will probably not be considered rent.
- If your lease does not allow you to cancel your parking spot, and your parking charge is included as part of your rent, then this may be considered rent and could be subject to the reduction.
You should get a legal opinion if your situation is not clear.
– Brendan Jowett