toronto renovictions

Toronto may finally be doing something to help stop renovictions

Though the real estate market in Toronto may be a little bit cooler than it was some months ago, the rental market is quite the opposite, with prices on to rise and landlords able to hike rent prices more as of next year (still less than the rate of inflation, mind you).

While small landlords in the city have had their fair share of issues with bad tenants, especially over the course of the pandemic, renters are at an obvious disadvantage as far as control goes given that, you know, they don't have the massive capital to own the property they're living in (or any).

Eviction fears are very real, and while there are fair reasons for landlords to boot someone from their home, there are still those situations where people are forced to leave on unfair grounds, such as in cases of renovictions.

The practice — in which a property owner kicks a tenant out under the guise of making renovations or moving in themselves when they actually just want to get a new tenant in, often for more money — is not exactly uncommon, to the point that the city decided to look into it in 2020.

For landlords, it can be a way to make improvements to a property and ensure that they are getting fair market value for it as prices rise, in the least nefarious of such situations; for tenants, it's a loophole that can not only cost them a home they love, but also price them out of the basic human need for shelter.

Along with looking at ways to improve housing stability for renters, the city is now considering a new bylaw to cut down on renovictions.

At its meeting on July 5, The Planning and Housing Committee reviewed a potential new framework that would require landlords to submit building permits in such cases to prove that a renovation is actually taking place.

Landlords would also need to provide tenants with details about the scope and costs of the work to justify any above guideline rent increases they plan on making after the fact.

And, it would be on the landlord to secure temporary accommodation for their tenants while the unit is repaired or renovated in cases where the tenants are moving back in post-repair/renovation.

These are among a slew of other suggested amendments, like requiring the province to create a centralized data system with publicly available data about rental units and their owners, upping provincial social assistance rates, investing in more affordable rentals and creating eviction support programs.

It's an ambitious policy in some ways, but parts of it, like those pertaining to building permits, do seem like realistic, easily enactable parts of a new bylaw, though there is still a ways to go before it could become one.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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