“I loved my new place—until my rent went up $450”: True tales from the rental crisis

“I loved my new place—until my rent went up $450”: True tales from the rental crisis

“I figured it couldn’t be legal. I figured wrong”

Photo by Ian Brown

Sydney Addison-Rudat, a 24-year-old restaurant server and supervisor, was forced to move when her landlord suddenly decided to raise her rent by $450 a month, exploiting a rent-control loophole created soon after Doug Ford’s election in 2018. Now, she refuses to live in an apartment that isn’t rent-controlled and urges others to do the same.

True Tales From the Rental Crisis

In December of 2021, I moved from a basement studio near Casa Loma to a one-bedroom apartment near St. Lawrence Market. The rent was $1,800 a month, but it checked all my boxes: it was all mine, had plenty of sunlight and was a 15-­minute walk from work.

I settled in over the next few months and was ready to stay a second year. But, one day, shortly after buying a new patio couch for my balcony, I received an email informing me that my monthly rent would increase by $450 starting December 1.

My jaw dropped. Staying there would mean paying my landlord roughly $6,000 more than I did in year one—that’s an absurd jump for one tenant to cover. I figured it couldn’t be legal.

I figured wrong. It turns out that, in late 2018, the Ford government eliminated rent control for any unit that was either built or occupied for the first time from that point on. If my building had been protected by rent control, my increase would have been limited to 1.2 per cent, or roughly $20 a month—something I could have afforded.

I started planning my move. It wasn’t even really the money that made me want to leave—I could have stretched my income and paid $2,250 per month if I had to. It was the idea of staying with a landlord who feels comfortable doing something like that. Besides, I don’t think anybody should spend more than $2,000 a month for a place that’s less than 500 square feet.

I began looking around, but this was September, and people weren’t yet listing places for December. I had to wait a month, and I felt like a sitting duck. It was so stressful.

Most places I liked cost more than $2,000. At one point, I went to see a newly renovated basement apartment by Lansdowne station. During my visit, I asked the agent if it was rent-controlled. They said no, and I walked right out.

I thought about buying a condo instead, but I calculated that my mortgage payments would be around $4,000—even for a studio. I had to continue renting.

The longer I looked for a rent-­controlled unit, the more I worried that I would have to pay far more than I had ever envisioned. I’d lose any ability to put money into savings.

Luckily, I eventually found a one-­bedroom apartment in Roncesvalles Village for $1,850 a month plus utilities. It’s larger than my old place and rent-­controlled, and it even has a sunroom where I can put my new patio furniture.

The last two months in my old apartment were brutal. It stopped feeling like home the moment I got notice of the huge rent hike. Looking back, I’m frustrated that I didn’t know my rent could suddenly increase that much. Other renters need to know that it could happen to them too.

Have your own story about renting in the GTA? Let us know at [email protected].