The New, Simplified World of RGI Administration
On July 1, 2020, changes to the way rent-geared-to-income (RGI) is administered are set to come into effect as part of the Ontario government’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy (CHRS). The new rules represent a simpler approach to RGI administration that should help community housing providers calculate RGI rents more easily and efficiently.
ONPHA participated in the consultation process that lead up to the release of the CHRS, making a submission outlining what we wanted to see. We were pleased that the provincial government incorporated some of our feedback regarding the regulatory amendments and we look forward to working with them to make our members’ voices heard in the future.
How is RGI changing?
Simplifying RGI calculations, as outlined in the Social Housing Notification will involve moving to an annual process that is based on 30% of adjusted family net income (AFNI). AFNI will be determined by the net income of household members as indicated in their notices of assessment for the relevant tax year. Other changes to RGI calculation and related processes include:
- an increase in minimum rent, indexed with provincial rent increase guidelines, which will be phased in for tenants currently paying less than the minimum rent
- exclusion of the income of full-time students from the AFNI
- a requirement that household members whose income is included in the AFNI must file annual tax returns for the household to retain its eligibility
Changes to RGI reviews:
- reviews of RGI rents must be undertaken every 12 months
- an individual’s net income may be calculated differently depending on when the review takes place (e.g.: net income may be based on projected income for the next 12 months if a tax assessment is unavailable or doesn’t reflect the individual’s current income)
- reviews conducted outside the annual review may only be undertaken in specific cases such as a permanent change in household composition, a 20% or greater decrease in income, changes in full-time student status, etc.
- seniors who receive Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) may be eligible to have their RGI reviewed once every two years
- increases or decreases to RGI will be implemented on the first day of the month following the date the review was completed
What is staying the same?
Some aspects of RGI administration will not change when the new rules take effect. Things that will stay the same include:
- most definitions of ‘family unit’ and ‘benefit unit’
- utility and rent scale tables
- most rules regarding eligibility
- most rules for local rules
- employment exemptions will remain at $75 for single people and $150 for larger households
When do the changes take effect?
The changes to RGI administration take effect on July 1, 2020. Service managers can choose to implement the changes on this date or delay implementation until July 1, 2021. Existing tenant RGI rents must be recalculated within 12 months of the implementation date.
To learn more about the changes and ONPHA’s reaction to them, download our Analysis of Regulatory Amendments under the Housing Services Act, 2011: RGI Simplification.
How can ONPHA help you?
Our team is ready to assist your organization in adapting to the new rules for RGI administration. Our new course, The New, Simplified World of Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) Administration is designed for community housing providers who operate units or who have entered into rent supplement agreements with their service manager that are governed by the Housing Services Act, 2011.
The course does not apply to community housing providers who continue to operate under former federal agreements (Section 95) or provincial agreements with Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOH/LTC) or Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS).
The course will help you expand your understanding of RGI administration, the new simplified RGI rules, and give you helpful resources and tips on:
- the Housing Services Act, 2011 (HSA)
- service managers’ local rules
- assessing RGI eligibility
- determining the right housing unit
- determining adjusted family net income (AFNI) using:
- tax-based net income
- approximated net income
- calculating RGI (including the new minimum rent)
- applying adjustments for utilities
- when to review RGI
- how and when to implement RGI changes
- what to do when tenants no longer qualify for RGI
- how to send out proper notices
- when RGI households ask for a review or appeal
This course will be offered from June 29, 2020-September 29, 2020 and is already sold out. Contact us at email@example.com to put yourself on the waiting list.
Stay tuned to ONPHA’s communication channels for information about when the course will be offered again. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to our weekly e-Alert email newsletter to make sure you are informed as soon as registration opens for the next course offering.
Before registering for a course, community housing providers should confirm when their service manager intends to implement the new RGI simplification rules to determine which course is best for them to take.
If you are unsure, contact us at email@example.com for further information before registering.
Questions about RGI simplification and its implementation? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re always happy to help!