By: Natalia Ovsey

Ontario Rent and Housing Reform

Tags: Ontario Rent and Housing Reform

Ontario's rent and housing reform: 16 big changes, explained

On Thursday, Ontario announced it would widen rent-control rules and take pages from B.C.'s playbook to bring skyrocketing housing prices down. Here's what you need to know

Rental housing 

What Ontario is doing:

The backstory: Ontario's current two-tiered system for rent control is a loophole left over from the Mike Harris era. In the 1990s, the Progressive Conservative government removed rent control on new rental properties but left them intact for properties built before 1991. The result has been a development boom for condos, which are exempt from rent control, and whose residents can see rent hikes of 30 per cent or more.

Foreign buyers and speculation

What Ontario is doing:

The backstory: To crack down on real-estate speculation, Ontario is taking a page from British Columbia's playbook. Last August, B.C. introduced a 15-per-cent tax on residential properties bought by owners who aren't Canadian citizens or permanent residents, which sent property sales plunging almost immediately. But another side effect has been a dip in property transfer tax revenue, one of the province's key sources of income.

'Property scalpers' beware

What Ontario is doing:

The backstory: Mr. Sousa has spent the past few weeks promising a crackdown on "property scalping" in Ontario, which he described as "those who go into new developments, buy up a slew of properties, and then flip them, while avoiding paying their fair share of taxes." That phrase didn't make it into Thursday's announcement, which instead referred to "paper flipping."

Ontario's crackdown is focused on people who buy pre-construction homes and sell the contracts on assignment before they're built. This differs somewhat from what came to be known in B.C. as "shadow flipping," which involved purchase contracts being used for real-estate speculation existing homes. A a Globe investigation of the practice in B.C. led to legislative changes cracking down on it. Here's how that practice worked in B.C.

Vacancy tax

What Ontario is doing:

The backstory: Last year, Vancouver – where 6.5 per cent of the housing stock is vacant, according to a recent study, the city's highest proportion in 35 years – became Canada's first city to impose a vacant housing tax. (The city is still implementing the 1-per-cent tax, with the first payments due in 2018.) Toronto Mayor John Tory has actively sought to follow Vancouver's lead.

Other changes

What Ontario is doing: