2023 Rent Increases
September 6, 2022Super AdminComments 0
Rents in Ottawa
Over the past five years, rents in Ottawa have gone up by an average 5.2% per year. Over the same period, CCOC has been able to hold our rent increases to an average of 1.6% per year. Like everyone in our community, CCOC is facing major financial pressure from rising costs.
This year, CCOC has made the hard decision to increase rents by either 2.5% or 4%, depending on the current rent level tenants pay. This blog post provides more information about this increase.
This blog post is organized in several sections: rents in Ottawa, the Residential Tenancies Act, CCOC’s 2023 rent increase, what tenants can expect, and what else CCOC is doing to address financial challenges. We hope this blog gives you more information about the 2023 rent increase.
The Residential Tenancies Act
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the provincial legislation that regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants. CCOC is exempt from the RTA provisions that require landlords to stick to a government-mandated guideline for rent increase. These provisions are sometimes called “rent control”. Some of our buildings are exempt from the RTA because of the government agreements that funded their construction. Some of our buildings are exempt because of when they were built.
CCOC’s 2023 Rent Increase
For many years, CCOC only increased rents in line with, or below the provincial guideline, even though we are allowed to increase rents by more. We are proud of our mission to provide non-profit, mixed-income housing to folks across Ottawa. The combination of subsidized and market rents is one of the things that makes CCOC unique, and it gives us the flexibility to adjust to challenging times. Over time, CCOC’s “market” rents have drifted below what is now considered a “market” rent across Ottawa.
We want to be able to provide rents that are affordable for the long term. Right now, we have some “market” rents that are so low they are actually less than the rents paid by some tenants who receive subsidies. Across our portfolio, this is having an impact on our ability to repair and operate our buildings at the level we might wish to, let alone undertake upgrades.
We consider two factors when we set our rents. The first is the provincial rent increase guideline. This year, the provincial guideline was released in early June at 2.5%. The other factor we consider is the Average Market Rent (AMR) for the City of Ottawa. The AMR is released annually by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for different types of units – like one or two bedrooms – and we consider the AMRs for each type of unit in our portfolio. This year, we’ve made the hard decision to increase some rents above the guideline amount of 2.5%. We’ve tried to do this in an equitable way across our portfolio. At lease renewal time, some folks will see a 2.5% increase, and some will see a 4% increase.
What can tenants expect at lease renewal time?
- Tenants whose market rents are 85% or less than the city-wide AMR will see a 4% increase.
- Tenants whose market rents are higher than 85% of city-wide AMR will see a 2.5% increase.
- Tenants who receive a rent subsidy will still have their rent calculated based on their income and won’t directly feel the increase in rent.
Tenants who have a lease renewal in January will get their lease renewal package before the end of September. February renewals will go out before the end of October and so on. Please wait to reach out to your Rental Officer with questions until after you receive your 2023 lease renewal package (for some tenants this is many months away). This will help us reply to questions in a timely manner.
What else are we doing to address the financial challenge?
The income we get from rents is only part of the picture. Our long-term financial picture is challenging not just because our income is limited but also because costs are rising. This affects our operational needs and the capital funding we need to keep our existing buildings in good condition. We are looking at lots of ways to address these challenges.
- We explore grant funding wherever we can to offset operational, organizational, and repair costs. We are working to increase the amount of grant funding we’re able to bring in over time, especially for capital projects.
- We talk with our housing sector partners who are also feeling financially strained to find solutions together.
- We advocate to the City of Ottawa, the Province, and the Federal Government about the specific challenges we’re facing, and ask them to help solve the things within their control.
- We look for ways to address the rising cost of insurance and the ways that our investments are restricted. We’re hopeful that we might see movement on these issues soon.
- For several years, we’ve been pursuing a legal appeal to get relief from the property taxes we pay. If we are even partly successful it will have a large impact on our long-term financial picture.
- Finally, we’re looking for efficiencies internally, and trying to find ways to bring down our operating costs within the organization.
Our current financial projections make it hard for us to undertake new projects while also maintaining and operating our buildings at the level we want to. This year’s rent increase will help us with one part of the financial puzzle.
It will take us several years to address our financial and strategic challenges, and there is a lot of work and change ahead. If you are interested in these conversations, please keep an eye out for our strategic planning activities later this fall or consider joining a committee. Our organizational decision-making is guided by the work of dedicated committee volunteers and Board members, and we always welcome tenant perspectives at those tables. For information about joining committees, please click here. This increase is supported by CCOC’s Board of Directors and senior Leadership Team. Tenants will receive individual information with their 2023 lease renewal packages. Please wait until after you have received your package to contact your Rental Officer with any questions. The team will be best able to assist you as your lease renewal nears. For general inquiries, please use firstname.lastname@example.org so the team can direct your question appropriately, or look on the Contact Your Team page on the website.
CCOC’s Board of Directors and senior Leadership team