As tenants protest 'renoviction,' Toronto councillor calls for new landlord rules
'It's terrifying as a tenant,' councillor says
Leslieville residents protested outside their apartment building on Saturday, saying they are being forced out so the landlord can renovate and jack up rent.
It's known as "renoviction," and one Toronto councillor says it's time to change the rules to stop landlords from getting away with it.
"It's terrifying as a tenant," said Coun. Paula Fletcher, who joined the protesters outside 245 Logan Avenue in Toronto's east end.
Brad Birnie says he checks for another eviction notice every day.
"I can't sleep, I don't know where I'm going to go after this," said Birnie, who currently pays $925 for his one-bedroom apartment.
Birnie says he and other tenants were offered buyouts this spring, and some tenants took the money.
But others clung onto their apartments, he said, knowing they couldn't afford to give up their homes and face higher rents.
Now, Birnie says they are simply getting eviction notices and he will likely have to leave Toronto if his landlord is successful.
The building's owner could not be reached for comment.
Calling for changes to Residential Tenancies Act
Fletcher says she wants changes to the Residential Tenancies Act and hopes to meet with the provincial government. She said the rules should be similar to that of B.C.
If landlords need to move tenants out for a renovation, people should be able to move back into their homes afterward, she said.
Fletcher said renovictions are happening around Toronto, and the city can't build affordable housing fast enough to keep up.
Most people stay in their homes during renovations, and tenants in affordable housing should be able to stay as well, she said.
"We need to keep neighbourhoods affordable in the City of Toronto," she said. "It's very important to have a mixed community here in Leslieville."
Roger Moore has been living at 245 Logan Avenue for the last decade.
"Most of the people here are on fixed incomes. They have health and handicap problems," said Moore.
"I have no intentions of moving ... It's not acceptable."
Saturday's rally was organized by Acorn Canada, at national organization of low- and moderate-income families.
"It's a problem that is overtaking Toronto," said Acorn spokesperson Alejandra Ruiz Vargas.
"Landlords cannot play with us like we are disposable."
Acorn wants landlords to have to maintain the same rent costs for tenants moving back into their homes after renovations, she said.
The city is having a meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 where they will discuss the issue, Fletcher said.
Residents have a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board next month, a few months before their planned eviction.
With files from Natalie Nanowski