People in Toronto win the right to stay in their homes after five-year eviction battle
Tenants living in the low-rise building at 394 Dovercourt Rd. in Toronto near College Street have been enagaged in a legal battle with their corporate landlord for five years, and they just finally won the right to remain in their homes.
According to Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS), the building was sold to a corporate landlord in 2017 and tenants were served with N13 eviction notices shortly after, claiming the building was set to undergo extensive renovations and all residents would have to move out.
But despite the pressure, tenants banded together and refused to leave.
Evictions against tenants of 394 Dovercourt tenants dismissed!— Parkdale Community Legal Services (@ParkdaleLegal) September 22, 2022
"While our landlords have deep pockets, we have strength in numbers, and as long as we remain organized, I am confident we will stay in our homes, in our community."https://t.co/2xVYFodccu
Throughout Landlord and Tenant Board hearings, according to PCLS, tenants argued that the landlord didn't actually have to evict them to renovate their units, a statement which the LTB found to be true.
"The tenants asserted that the evictions were in bad faith, and that the LTB should grant relief from eviction in light of the tenants' circumstances, including their social ties to the building and neighbourhood," reads a statement from PCLS on the verdict.
Though the five-year battle no doubt took a toll on the tenants, who fought tooth and nail just to be able to stay in their homes, the LTB officially dismissed the landlord's eviction applications on Sept. 22, and the residents are now celebrating a major victory.
In their decision, the LTB said "each tenant involved in these proceedings testified that they have formed a community with their neighbours, and that they will support each other as necessary."
Tenants living at 394 Dovercourt Rd. received their first eviction notices in 2017, when the landlord proposed to replace the existing knob and tube electrical wiring in the building. The LTB dismissed this first round of evictions two years later, in 2019, after tenants and lawyers argued that they did not need to move out for the work to go ahead.
Shortly after, the landlord issued new N13 notices to all tenants for other renovations, and they were forced to fight to stay once again.
"It is heartening to see that the adjudicator in our case relied on the fact that our building was organized in his legal reasoning, but the community-building that has taken place during the course of our struggle was important to me for a few, perhaps more fundamental, reasons," said tenant Benjamin Pullia in the PLCS statement.
"First, this battle would have been impossible to fight, much less to win, alone: the mutual support network we've nurtured over the course of the last five years has provided emotional and mental staying power needed to win a protracted battle against a financially well-resourced opponent," he continued.
"Fighting alongside my neighbours (whom I now also count as friends) made me realize that I wanted to stay where I was, not only for 'cheap rent' or whatever, but because I am a member of a community, of a place. While our landlords have deep pockets, we have strength in numbers, and as long as we remain organized, I am confident we will stay in our homes, in our community."
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