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Renoviction crisis: Local housing advocates shed light on tactics landlords use to evict tenants

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A rally was held inside the lobby of 1280 Webster St. apartment complex, where the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) released its Ontario Renoviction Report.

“The findings have been somewhat outstanding – and it’s really help to clarify the scale of the issues happening in Ontario,” said Jordan Smith, chair of the Carling-Stoneybrook Chapter.

The report was compiled through a freedom of information request from ACORN to the Landlord and Tenant Board in an effort to obtain data relating to two specific eviction notices that tenants receive from their landlords, called the N12 and N13.

“The majority of N12s and N13s are never filed, so when we’re talking about a 300 per cent increase in what is actually been filed, it’s only a drop in the bucket,” said Smith.

ACORN said the reason they are focusing on N12s and N13s is because these are increasingly becoming common tactics employed by corporate landlords to evict long-term tenants.

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.

Patti Drouillard said her 70-year-old mother is a perfect example, “she’s been here for about 23-ish years, if not a little bit more. Retired, and low income, and she just received a renoviction letter to try to evict her and raise her rent.”

Drouillard’s mother is one of dozens of tenants from Webster Street apartments that have faced eviction noticed since April 2023.

“I came out, there was an envelope in front of my door. I opened it up, and it said I had to move,” explained Sharron Hodgson, who was also served a notice last year.

She has opted to stay inside her apartment and file a complaint with the landlord tenant board, which currently has over 53,000 cases on the waiting list..

Hodgson wants people facing a similar situation to know their rights, “N13 is just an intent to evict, it wasn’t a legal document, which I didn’t know.”

ACORN said current loopholes in Ontario’s rent control measures incentivize owners to evict long-term tenants, as there is currently no limit on rent increases for a unit that becomes vacant.

“People who have nowhere else to go, and no resources to turn, and they are using these shock and awe, blatant bullying tactics, misleading information lying outright, everything they can do,” said Smith.

ACORN is now calling on municipalities across Ontario to pass anti-renoviction bylaws and rental replacement bylaws to protect existing affordable housing and stop tenant displacement.

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