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Ontario Housing Minister vows to investigate evictions for renovations

Whose building is it anyway? “Reno-victions” are in the spotlight


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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?

This four-story rental building in Toronto is the subject of an investigation. Tenants were evicted, the apartments upgraded, and the rent raised to $4000 per month
(photo: Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star)

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
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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.
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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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JBleasby@canadiancontractor.ca

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1 Comment » for Ontario Housing Minister vows to investigate evictions for renovations
  1. Terry says:

    He who has the gold makes the rules is true in reality! While tenants rights should not be violated ,and they should not be tricked or swindled out of their homes, the owner of a property’s right to save or improve their investment & livelihood should be upheld.The tenants should be given ample oportunity to find a temporary home while renos happen,but should also be prepared & expect to pay accordingly for modernization,upgrades,and cost upgrades. You can’t cry about living in a slum and having to pay a reasonable amount for a upgraded home. Kicking people out unfairly is not acceptable,but neither is living in luxury for a paupers wages.