Rooming house tenants are facing eviction in Toronto to make way for new condo
A rooming house for low income residents on Jarvis Street has become the site for a tenants' rights dispute as developers try to push forward plans for a 36-storey condo.
In the face of dwindling dwelling rooms, the tenants of Inglewood Arms, a licensed rooming house at 295 Jarvis St., are now "facing pressure to move out of their homes", says City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
The three-storey building—which dates back to as early as the 1940s, under the name Inglewood Arms Private Hotel—has been home to 88 dwelling rooms for over 30 years.
There are currently around 100 tenants in the building, all of whom are now at risk of being evicted without relocation or compensation.
"While the City staff and I are not aware of any formal eviction notices having been filed, there is an ongoing disupte regarding the tenants' right to protection under the Residential Tenancies Act," tweeted Wong-Tam yesterday.
If Minto win their appeal, it will be a signal to developers that they can evict rooming house tenants, without consequence, and replace our most deeply affordable housing with luxury condos.— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) January 27, 2020
The project proposed by The Minto Group would see Inglewood Arms knocked down and replaced with a 351-unit condo, if given the green light by the City.
On January 22, City Planners declared that the proposal should not move forward, largely due to the building's effect on rooming houses, many of which have been replaced by glitzy new developments over the last few years (just look to the Waverly Hotel and Palace Arms).
"The applicant's development proposal, if approved, would destabilize the housing of nearly 90 tenant households, many of whom are vulnerable, and would have a significant and immediate impact on the City's extremely limited supply of affordable private rental accommodation."
In June 2019, the City pushed through a policy called the Official Planning Amendment 453, which protects rooming house residents being evicted from their homes.
The policy requires new developments to provide "acceptable tenant relocation and assistance plan to lessen hardship", or allowing residents a right-t0-return.
It also recommends that, for a period of at least 20 years, the rents for replacement housing be similar to those the tenants were paying previously, and that the gross floor area of that new housing be the same.
But this past Monday, Minto appeared at the provincial Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) to challenge the requirements of Planning Amendment 453. Tenants of Inglewood were present at a press conference to voice their concerns about being displaced.
A second hearing for the appeal is now scheduled for May 29.
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