Brought to you by the Herongate Tenant Coalition
An Above Guideline Increase (AGI) is a loophole created by the Landlord and Tenant Board that allows landlords in Ontario to raise rents above the provincial guideline rent increase amount, which for 2019 is 1.8 per cent.
Only capital expenditures, upgrades to security services, or an extraordinary increase in municipal taxes are supposed to be used to justify an AGI. Any work that is deemed to be either regular maintenance or cosmetic in nature is not supposed to be used to justify an AGI.
Despite this, it is common for landlords to bend these rules, claiming upgrades to lobbies, installing mirrors in elevators, or installing glass balconies as justification for AGIs.
Landlords often use AGIs as a quick way to increase their profit from tenants, while longstanding maintenance and service are ignored. They use AGIs to quickly raise rents – which forces many tenants to move because they can no longer afford to live there. It is a very useful tool for gentrification.
Once tenants move out, landlords can raise rent for the newly vacant apartments to whatever they want, as there’s no rent control on vacancies.
It is very important for tenants to refuse AGIs through collective organizing, as the Landlord and Tenant Board will very likely not help you.
Form a building committee and get organized. Talk to your neighbours every chance you get, hold lobby meetings, and go door knocking. Try and inform as many tenants as possible in your building about the AGI.
Then when it is time to confront your landlord about neglect and maintenance issues, always show up in a group to their office. Try and avoid going alone, as your landlord can more easily evade problems from individuals.
AGIs caused the massive and successful rent strike in Parkdale, Toronto, in the summer of 2017 – and the ongoing rent strike in the Stoney Creek Towers in Hamilton. Only together can we pressure and negotiate with our landlords to drop rent increases and do repairs.