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Committee unanimously backs call for municipal tools to discourage 'renovictions'


London, Ont. is one step closer to strengthening policies to combat ‘renovictions’ that force low-income tenants from their homes.

On Monday, members of tenant advocacy group London Acorn attended a meeting of council’s Community and Protective Services Committee to show their support for a motion intended to strengthen local protections against the unethical practice.

“Where are you going to go? Rent increases [have] skyrocketed and nobody can afford it,” said Pauline Salisbury, a member of London Acorn. “They can’t afford groceries. They can’t afford a place to live!”

Renovictions occur when landlords abuse N12/N13 eviction notices that are only intended to remove tenants during extensive renovations, or when the landlord or a family member needs to live in the unit.

Unscrupulous landlords can use the eviction process to remove the current tenant and hike the rent.

“It is another facet of the housing crisis that unfortunately I don’t think gets enough attention, so I’m really pleased to see this [motion] is before us,” Coun. Hadleigh McAlister told his colleagues at the committee meeting.

Inside council chambers, a motion by Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis, Coun. Peter Cuddy, and Mayor Josh Morgan requested a staff report by the third quarter of 2024 that will include a spectrum of municipal options to combat renovictions including new by-laws, policies, and programs.

The original motion was expanded to reflect input from other councillors.

The staff report will specifically consider requiring that landlords file copies of N12/N13 eviction notices with city hall.

It will also report on the feasibility of expanding the licensing of rental units to include buildings up to four-storeys tall.

Currently, only buildings with up to four rental units must be licensed with the municipality.

“To look into increasing the number of units that are covered within the licensing itself would be a good step,” said Coun. David Ferreira.

“There’s other things that need to be done,” acknowledged Coun. Sam Trosow. “But I think we’re getting as close to a comprehensive policy as we can.”

The deputy mayor added, “We’re not going to solve it all with one silver bullet, or one magic wand wave. It is going to take time and some of it we are not going to solve at the municipal level.”

Lewis told the committee that he’s spoken with Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Rob Flack about the municipal motion, “They’re interested in knowing if there are things that they need to do to assist us in bringing forward these tools, and they’re open to ideas from us for other things that the province can do to improve this.”

Morgan believes the vast majority of landlords in London follow the rules, but the actions of a few who abuse N12/N13 eviction notices are motivating the city to act.

“We cannot have happen what we’ve seen happen recently in the city, where people are losing the places they can afford and moving onto the margins of homelessness,” said Morgan.

The mayor is not concerned that new municipal regulations might increase costs that would be passed onto tenants.

“I’m not concerned with the direction we’re going,” said Morgan. “I think we’ve always done so in consultation with those in the industry and that’s how this will proceed.”

The motion received a unanimous recommendation (6-0) by the committee.

It will be considered by council on Jan. 23. Top Stories

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