Toronto Sisters Face Shocking $7,000 Rent Hike Amid Rental Regulation Loopholes

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In a shocking turn of events, two sisters, Khadeja and Yumna Farooq, were thrown off their balance when a Toronto landlord enacted a sudden $7,000 rent increase—a move they both did not see coming.

Initially under the contention that the landlord was far from being earnest, Khadeja Farooq, still in utter disbelief, shared that this unexpected hike has left them in a quandary. The landlord initially hinted at ramping the rent to $3,500 from its present sum. However, after meeting some resistance, the landlord opted for an even steep increase— steering the rent straight to a whopping $9,500 per month.

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Isolated in the brutal reality of their building’s non-rent-controlled status, the sisters were enveloped by a growing fear of this happening—one that has unfortunately turned into reality. The staggering monthly rent translates into a yearly expense of $114,000—a figure that outstrips their paying capacity by long odds, according to Yumna Farooq.

The sisters, who have cohabited in their two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit for three years, suspect this rent surge is nothing but a craftily plotted strategy by the landlord to hasten their exit. This comes after they had sought modifications to their lease agreement.

Ironically, under the current rules, landlords are restricted to implementing only a 2.5 per cent annual rent increase. However, these rules exempt newer properties. Buildings constructed post November 15, 2018, can bypass the rent control regulations, thereby presenting landlords with the liberty to skyrocket rents at their own discretion, thanks to reforms enacted by the Ford government intended to bolster housing supplies and incentivize developers.

In the views of Geordie Dent, the Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, this rule has proven unpalatably egregious and horrifying. Dent furthers his argument by unveiling cases of properties bypassing the rent control restrictions and enforcing sky-high rents.

Both the NDP and the Liberal parties chalk up such instances to the lack of sufficient regulations safeguarding tenants’ rights. They are rallying around the cause of reinstating rent controls akin to those of the 1990s—an era which saw the implementation of strict rent controls. The consensus has resonated with Jessica Bell, MPP for University Rosedale, who believes the return of the said rental control mechanism will induce affordable rents and alleviate renters’ distress.

John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South and Interim Leader for the Ontario Liberal Party, concurs with Bell, demanding necessary controls over all variant rental properties.

Meanwhile, staring at an uncertain future, the Farooq sisters will embark on a new hunt to cement a roof over their heads. The sisters anticipate further financial pressures, acknowledging the rental market’s volatile state.

The case lays bare the importance of being informed about a building’s age before settling for a lease. This knowledge can dangle the sword of Tetzelian rent hikes and potentially save tenants from stepping into a lions’ den.