Toronto renovictions

Landlord renoviction applications shot up almost 300% in Toronto

Toronto's fast-rising rent prices are forcing low and middle-income workers to make daily sacrifices in order to simply keep roofs over their heads (if they can even get a roof at all) according to a jarring new report from The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario.

And skyrocketing rents aren't alone in proving that shady landlords will do whatever it takes to make bank off Toronto's historically low vacancy rates.

The ACTO revealed on Friday in a report called "We Can't Wait: Preserving Our Affordable Rental Housing in Ontario," that rates of landlords pushing tenants out for "renovations" or "personal use" have spiked even faster over the past four years than rent prices have.

"Since 2016, we are seeing disturbing trends in the rise of evictions across the city," reads the report.

"In particular, there is growth in no-fault evictions: evictions based on the claim of a landlord (or their immediate family members) planning to move into the unit they are renting to a tenant (L2 + N12 application) or the landlord needing the tenant to vacate the rental unit for major renovations (L2 + N13 application), also known as a renoviction."

The ACTO reveals that, since 2016, the Landlord and Tenant Board has seen an 84 per cent increase in N12 applications, and a staggering 294 per cent increase in N13 applications.

We've all heard horror stories from residents who've been served N13s and moved out from their Toronto apartments, only to find that same unit put right back on the market with minimal changes and a much higher price tag.

It is not known how many of the studied renoviction cases that went before the LTB were legitimate and how many were illegal, but the numbers indicate that more and more people are being forced out of their homes through no fault of their own.

In a climate where even basement apartments are rising beyond the financial reach of many, those with leases on rent-controlled units are increasingly willing to put up with landlord neglect, harassment and disrepair in an effort to keep their homes.

"Our place needs repairs and maintenance, but when we ask our landlord to fix things, he threatens us with an eviction and reminds us of how good of a rent we have," reads a testimonial from one Toronto resident in the ACTO report.

"I'm at the whim of this rent never changing. My income is too low to afford anything higher. If my rent increases, I would have to work more to stay because I can't find a place at this price point," wrote another.

"Many commute long hours to get downtown and some are homeless. These jobs aren't good enough to sustain people's living situation but the options are limited."

The ACTO is calling upon Ontario's provincial government to take immediate action in light of their findings, urging better policies and more funds for affordable housing initiatives.

"The Ontario government’s Housing Supply Action Plan announced in 2019 is making it easier for developers to build more housing, but we can’t wait for the private sector to decide whether they will build the affordable housing we need," writes the NGO.

"With every month that passes, rents soar to new heights. Renters are pushed to the brink of homelessness. Renters are living with the looming threat of losing their home," continues the ACTO report.

"Housing precarity and unaffordability must not become the norm in Ontario."

Lead photo by

Alex Drainville

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