Ontario Housing Minister vows to investigate evictions for renovations
Whose building is it anyway? “Reno-victions” are in the spotlight
March 28, 2018 by John Bleasby
A recent story in the Toronto Star has drawn attention to a situation where a landlord wanted to renovate and upgrade a rental building, and charge more. Legislation apparently allows the owner to evict the previous tenants, but does not assure the tenants that they can move back in at the same rent as before. What’s fair?
According to the Toronto Star, “Tenants evicted from 795 College St. for renovations [were] shocked at the legal process that allowed the owner to kick them out and move new people back in — at three times the price… the spacious and once extremely affordable apartments have undergone extensive renovations to become luxury rentals, with the three-bedroom units advertised online for at least $4,000 a month.”
On one hand, one might think that a owner has the right the upgrade a building and increase the rent in order to recapture the investment. According to the Star, while the original tenants were unable to prevent their eviction at the Landlord and Tenant Board level, “The tenants claim they clearly stated their intention to move back in, but the property owner gutted their apartments and found new people willing to pay three times the rent, ignoring their rights” under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act
What do you think? Should landlords have the right to upgrade their buildings and charge accordingly, or do tenant rights come first? Use our comment section below.
After hitting the main media, Ontario Housing Minister Peter Milczyn has entered the fray. A follow-up story in the Star claims Milczyn, “promised to direct staff to examine situations where two tenants have competing claims on the same unit ‘to see if changes need to be made’ to the Residential Tenancies Act.” He said, however, that having taken this action he could not comment on a case that is under investigation.
There is an inherent conflict between the move to upgrade rental housing in urban areas — some call it ‘gentrification’ — and public pressure to avoid displacement of lower income individuals and families who are then left with fewer affordable rental options in the heart of Canada’s major cities.
Let us know what you think.
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