“Subsidized” housing, also called Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing, is housing where the government pays part of your rent as a rent subsidy.
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the law that applies to most rental housing in Ontario, including most subsidized/RGI housing. Most of the RTA applies to subsidized housing units too, but there are also some additional special laws and rules. Some of the special laws and rules relate to the amount of the rent, who lives in the unit, income and assets of the people living in the unit, and absence from the unit.
The laws about subsidized housing changed in January 2012 and the law is called the Housing Services Act. If you are living with HIV you can contact us for current information, or you can contact your local legal clinic (see Getting legal help below).
The RTA sets out the rights and responsibilities of “tenants” and “landlords”, including subsidized/RGI tenants. The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) makes decisions about disputes between landlords and tenants who are covered by the RTA. These disputes may be about things like rent payments, repairs and eviction. If you have a problem with your landlord or if you receive a legal notice from your landlord, you should get legal advice right away (see below).
If you are going to be away, hospitalized or have to live somewhere else, you should either forward your mail or have someone you trust check your mail in case you receive any important notices.
What do I have to report to my subsidized housing provider?
If you are living in a subsidized/RGI unit, you must inform your housing provider about changes to your situation or the situation of others in your household that might affect your rent subsidy, including:
- change of activity (work, school, volunteering)
- change in income
- change in assets
- change in who lives with you
- change in family status
- change in immigration status
- absence from your unit (see absence information above), or
- any other change that might affect your subsidy or housing eligibility.
The time line for reporting depends on where you live in Ontario and may be as little as 10 days from the date of the change.
If you do not report changes in time, you could lose your rent subsidy or your housing provider might take legal action to evict you. If you lie or knowingly fail to report changes to your housing provider, you could be charged with a criminal offence.
Getting legal help
The law is complicated, so you should get legal advice about your situation. If you are living with HIV in Ontario, please Contact Us for free legal advice. If you live in Ontario, you can contact your local community legal clinic: www.legalaid.on.ca/clinics.
Help to find housing
Housing help services may help you to find a place to live. You can find out if there is a housing help service in your area on the Housing Help Association of Ontario website: https://findhousinghelp.ca/.