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CBC London: Council to look at how city can stop renovictions in London - ACORN Canada

CBC London: Council to look at how city can stop renovictions in London

Posted January 5, 2024

Local tenant rights advocates say they’re pleased about a draft motion going before city hall next week that would target so-called renovictions, while the city’s deputy mayor is calling on the province to do more to combat the problem.

The motion from Mayor Josh Morgan, Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis, and Ward 3 Coun. Peter Cuddy will be tabled during Monday’s community and protective services committee meeting. It calls on city staff to find ways the municipality could stop or limit renovictions, and report back by the end of September.

Staff could recommend new by-laws, policies, and programs that could address the practice, which continues to have a significant impact on the community and on the city’s affordable housing stock, the three say.

“There are limited tools in a city’s toolbox. Obviously, the Residential Tenancies Act is provincial. We do, however, have a municipal licensing by-law on converted rentals, and that’s where a lot of these are coming from,” Lewis said Wednesday.

One possibility, Lewis says, would be requiring landlords to provide a copy of the lease with their rental licence.

Landlords issuing N12 notices citing personal or family use, or N13 notices for renovation, demolition, or unit conversion, could also be required to file the notice with the city, along with the new or renewed lease.

Such a requirement would essentially force landlords to prove the evictions weren’t a ruse to replace existing tenants with higher-paying ones.

“If they’ve got to file that new lease with us by a certain period of time, and they fail to do so, then basically… they would forfeit their rental license… And then we can impose financial penalties if they are found to be doing so without a license,” Lewis said.

The draft motion comes as London grapples with a shortage of affordable housing, and a homelessness crisis that claimed the lives of more than 60 people last year.

Members of the tenant advocacy group ACORN London met with Lewis in November, and stressed the city was in an “absolute crisis situation” when it came to renovictions, said Jordan Smith, chair of ACORN’s Carling-Stoneybrook chapter.

Last month, the average cost of a one-bedroom unit in London was $1,872, according to

“The N12 and N13 are heavily abused by landlords, because there’s no one double-checking to see if they’re legitimate,” Smith said. There is no cost to file the notices, he says, which then take months to go before the Landlord and Tenant Board due to pandemic-related backlogs.

Renovictions made news last year in the city at 1270 and 1280 Webster St. In the spring, tenants protested after dozens of residents received N13 notices from the new landlord, a Toronto company who bought the buildings for $2.3 million.

More N13 notices were handed out to tenants in the fall, and most recently in December. Those who received notices in the spring will go before the LTB in March.

The biggest abuses, Smith said, “are coming from the bigger landlords… These corporations, these REITs… are literally just there to maximize profit, and they’re abusing these LTB forms at scale.”

Lewis acknowledges while there are landlords only looking to make a buck, there are legitimate reasons for a renoviction, meaning an outright ban isn’t an option.

“Ultimately, the province has to fix the Landlord and Tenant Board operation so that people aren’t left in limbo for too long, and they have to look at some changes to the Residential Tenancies Act,” he said.

It’s not clear how much increased enforcement would cost, especially as the city enters tough budget talks next month. Whatever is implemented would need to be cost-effective and fair, Lewis said.

It’s possible the city could increase the annual $50 licence fee and increase penalties for violating the rental by-law. At the end of the day, though, the city can’t backfill provincial responsibilities, he says.

“There are opportunities for the province to work with and to utilize the cities, as frontline responders, as frontline service providers,” he said.

“If they’re willing to fund more things out of a provincial budget to help us achieve more compliance on rental behaviour, I think that there are ways for us to be good partners, too.”


Article by Matthew Trevithick for CBC London