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Submitted by Christine Whelan

MAY 27, 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 20

What are RenoVictions? I’m glad you ask. It’s important you know. Because there is a good chance you, or someone you know, will be affected by this Niagara-bound wave.

A spokesperson for a group of residents in one specific building, located at 323 Niagara Parkway, informed me, “It’s just now hitting the Niagara Region. It’s been in Toronto for a long time.ยท

As a result of this trend existing in Toronto, a website, RenovictionsTO, was created to help those being affected. The first step is to become aware.

According to the website, “A renoviction is when a landlord evicts

a tenant by claiming they will complete major renovations. Landlords may give tenants N13 notices or approach them informally and will often mislead tenants and pressure them to move out. Above guideline increases (AGls), allow landlords to transfer the costs of certain repairs onto tenants, regardless of their existing profit margins or their own failure to maintain their buildings. Landlords engage in these practices to increase their profits, often displacing longstanding tenants. Because landlords can raise rent as much as they want on empty units, they’re incentivized to get rid of existing tenants.

“RenovictionsTO is a volunteer-run project that asks tenants to anonymously report their landlords to help document these practices and that seeks to give tenants the tools and information they need to organize and fight back. The data we collect is shared on our site.”

According to the spokesperson, who has asked to be kept anonymous, the tenants of the Niagara Parkway apartment building have been receiving their evictions in bundles for the last couple months.

Bedford Properties bought the building on March 25, 2021. Notices started rolling

out a couple weeks later. According to the spokesperson, “They’re knocking on doors and saying, ‘Hey listen, we need to get in here. We just bought this place and we need to renovate, new doors, windows, so on. It’s going to take seven months. We only have to give you three months of your current rent but we’ll give you $4,000.’ What they don’t tell them is, it’s not a real eviction.

“To get evicted, you have to be evicted through the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB). The landlord has to go through a process. The average person doesn’t know this. They think its a legitimate eviction. So, they set this seven-month timeline out and make the tenants think they have to leave.”

The twist is, “The owners are not doing anything illegal if the tenant accepts it.” Are they misleading the tenants? If so, that’s illegal. Has it gone through the eviction process through the L TB? The L TB needs to come out and see what’s wrong, what needs to get done. In order to get the permit, the apartments have to be empty.

“Renovictions, know your rights. As soon as you type that in, its there.”

https ://renovictionsto. com/know-your -rights

Know Your Rights is a web page of information for tenants about their rights and how they can fight back against renovictions and above guideline rent increases (AGls). It also includes examples of tenants in Toronto who have organized to fight evictions and AGls. The page explains, if you get an N13, you do not need to leave. If your landlord tells you they need to renovate your unit, you do not need to move.

The page suggests not signing anything (especially an N11) until you’ve contacted your local community legal clinic or spoken to a lawyer or paralegal and talk to your neighbours to start organizing as soon as your landlord approaches you about moving out.

Also on this site:

You can see if a permit has been issued for your building. lf your landlord hasn’t at least applied for a permit or if the work listed in the permit doesn’t require you to vacate, the LTB won’t approve your landlord’s application to evict you.

You can contact your local community legal clinic if you received an N13 or think your landlord is trying to renovict you.

You can learn how to research your landlord on the website.

There is also a guide to fighting an AGL Tenants can fight AGls. If you received an N1 notifying you of a rent increase that’s more than the guideline amount, you can contact the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations for more information. For legal assistance or advice, you can contact your local legal clinic.

RenovictionsTO released a report in February 2021. This report included research, following the AGls in Toronto since 2012.

It reads, “Since the 1990s, large corporate and financialized landlords have been consolidating ownership of apartments.

Financialized landlords view AGls as a revenue-generating tool to help increase profits. For financialized and corporate landlords, AGls may be part of an investment strategy and the decision to apply for one can be a political calculation.

“AGls continue to exacerbate the affordability crisis. By allowing landlords to transfer these costs to tenants, we are prioritizing a landlord’s ability to maximize their profits over the affordability of housing.”

The impassioned 323 Niagara Parkway spokesperson feels the priority right now is to get the word out, to educate the community, to spread awareness. “I know some people are moving because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable there afterwards. That’s ok. Their choice. But this needs to be known. Hey, Niagara, this is happening’

These are your rights’ You don’t have to go anywhere’

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