Toronto landlords increasingly claiming own use to evict tenants
The number of Ontario renters being evicted for a landlord's "personal use" has skyrocketed in recent years, according to data obtained by The Globe and Mail.
What this could mean, based on the province's Residential Tenancies Act, is that more landlords than ever are a) moving back into the units they own, b) moving family members into units they own, or c) selling units to people who want to move in right away.
Of course, it could also have something to do with hiking the rent beyond what government rules allow – in which case a landlord could be charged up to $25,000 for lying about their intentions.
Citing data from the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO), the Globe reports that evictions containing an N12 notice have almost doubled in our province over the past five years.
The N12 notice is something that landlords can use in their applications to evict a tenant without any other cause than the intent to occupy the home personally or to move in a parent, child or spouse.
A total of 2,928 N12 notices were served to Ontario renters in 2017, according to the STJO – a whopping 89.8 per cent increase over what was seen in 2012.
"The rapid rise in the serving of these notices coincides with a market stressed by rising rental prices and falling vacancy rates," notes the Globe, "and the 2017 expansion of the provincial rent control regime means that landlords have fewer tools to raise rents on existing tenants."
Because landlords can't hike the rent on tenants as much as they might like to each year, rental housing advocates fear that some may be using the N12 deceptively.
In such a case, a landlords would serve an N12 notice without actually intending to make personal or family use of their unit. Then, he or she would turn around and put that unit back on the market for higher rent.
In anticipation (or perhaps in response to) this problem, Ontario's government actually increased the penalties for using an N12 "in bad faith" this past September.
Landlords must now either provide one month's rent to the tenant as compensation for evicting them for the purpose of their own use, or offer the tenant another acceptable rental unit.
If the landlord is caught advertising, re-renting, converting or demolishing the unit within one year, they could face a fine of up to $25,000.
"The new measures will help protect tenants by discouraging landlords from unlawfully evicting them," read a press release from the government in September, "whether for conversion of the unit into a short-term rental or immediately re-renting it at a higher rate."
Important knowledge for any renter to have, especially in a market like Toronto's.
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