If you are behind on your rent or need help defending yourself against an eviction, you can get access to financial support.

There are various types of financial support programs including, interest free loans, money for emergency housing, help paying bills, legal aid, and the Tenant Defense Fund that helps tenants maintain affordable rental housing.

These support programs provide one-time financial support for people in need. However, if housing affordability is an ongoing concern for you, consider applying for income support through Ontario Works.

Find out which of the financial support for renters options would be best for you by reviewing the list below.

Interest-Free Loans for Low-Income Households for Rental Arrears or Rental Deposits

The Toronto Rent Bank provides interest-free loans to Toronto residents who are behind in their rent or need to move to more suitable housing. Residents may be eligible for an interest-free rental arrears or rental deposit loan if they:

  • live in Toronto
  • pay market rent for a rental unit covered by the Residential Tenancies Act
  • fall within the low-income household eligibility requirement
  • are not currently in receipt of social assistance such as Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)*
  • can satisfy other Toronto Rent Bank Program requirements, as required

Loan repayments can be deferred for up to 12 months.

Please call 416-397-RENT (7368) for more information on how to apply. Operating hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Outside of operating hours, callers may leave a message and a representative will call back.

*Residents in receipt of social assistance should contact their Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) office as they may qualify for the Housing Stabilization Fund.

Money for Emergency Housing Needs: Ontario Works or ODSP

The Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF) provides money for emergency housing needs to people receiving financial assistance through Ontario Works or income support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in the city of Toronto. HSF is intended to prevent homelessness and help obtain and retain housing.

Learn more about the Housing Stabilization Fund.

Rent Reduction for Tenants in Buildings with Reduced Property Taxes

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) allows residential tenants to reduce their rents when the rental buildings in which they live have had a property tax decrease between two consecutive years. Municipalities are required to send notices about the tax decrease and rent reduction to landlords of affected buildings by September 15 and to tenants by December 15.

Under the RTA, notices must be sent if the tax decrease is more than 2.49 per cent, and there are more than six rental residential units in a building (i.e., multi-residential rental properties). In 2001, Council adopted a policy that notices must also be sent to buildings with six or fewer units (i.e., residential rental properties), to ensure that tenants in smaller rental buildings have the same opportunity as tenants in multi-unit buildings to automatically reduce their rents.

For more information, see rent reduction information under Property tax.

Support grants are only issued to groups of tenants living in private market housing. Individual tenants and those living in subsidized housing are not eligible. Tenants need to work with other tenants in the building as a group to apply for a grant. The City strongly encourages tenants to form a tenants’ association and set up a bank account to deposit any money they may receive from the grant in order to pay legal representatives and/or technical expert witnesses.

Maximum Grants

Tenant groups may receive up to $1,000 to cover the basic costs of disputing a landlord’s AGI application. Some groups may receive an additional grant up to $5,000 to cover costs of professional services (e.g., lawyer, engineer, accountant) for more complex cases. Groups may receive up to $10,000 for more complex legal issues such as launching an appeal to the Divisional Court on a Board Order concerning AGIs or requesting a judicial review of an AGI application. Groups who contest applications for demolitions or condo conversions before the Ontario Municipal Board may receive up to $15,000.

Required Information

  • information about the building and the reasons for the dispute or appeal
  • an estimate of expenses and the reasons for them
  • a petition of tenants supporting the dispute or appeal

In addition, a complete application package should include:

  • a copy of the landlord’s application for an AGI, demolition or condo conversion, or other legal issue
  • proof of rent for each tenant affected by the landlord’s application (e.g., rent roll for your complex, rent receipts or Notices of Rent Increase)
  • a Notice of Hearing from the Landlord and Tenant Board, Ontario Municipal Board or Divisional Court (if available)

Energy-Related Emergency Help for Low-Income Residents

Low-income Toronto residents may qualify for help from the City of Toronto with energy-related emergencies to reconnect, prevent disconnection or to assist in the payment of energy arrears for hydro, gas or oil services.

Learn more about the fund and how to apply.

High utility bills may put low income homeowners and tenants at risk. The programs listed below may be able to provide financial help. For more details on eligibility and applying contact the program directly.

Need Extra Support?

To get support with finding and keeping affordable housing, you can also contact a Housing Help Centre.