Ottawa Tenant Rights Council & Renter Rights Rally Kick-Off Fight for a Renoviction Bylaw!
Posted June 23, 2023
Ottawa ACORN has been fighting for protecting and building more affordable housing since we started organizing in low income renter communities back in 2006. Along the way, ACORN members were successful in winning more protections for tenants including $15 million in the City’s affordable housing budget in 2019, and Rental Management & Pest Control Bylaws in 2020.
But the housing crisis continues to worsen. And in October 2022, Doug Ford announced Bill 23. The bill caps affordable housing through Inclusionary Zoning at 5% for just 25 years and threatens to weaken cities’ rental replacement bylaws.
In response, ACORN opted to revisit our municipal housing campaigns to identify what were Ottawa tenants’ biggest priorities for change at the city level, while we continue to fight back provincially.
Over the past 2 months, ACORN responded to Ottawa’s worsening housing crisis by launching our Housing Justice Priorities Project. The goal of this project was to determine Ottawa tenants’ top municipal housing solutions based on their biggest concerns as renters. ACORN organizers and members knocked on hundreds of doors, made countless phone calls, held 5 tenant meetings in different neighbourhoods across the city, circulated a Tenant Survey with 145 respondents, and organized a 100+ person townhall called the ‘Tenant Rights Council’ where votes were cast for our top housing priority.
The top 3 municipal housing solutions voted on by ACORN members and other Ottawa tenants are (in order of priority): a Renoviction Bylaw, $40 million in the affordable housing budget and Landlord Licensing.
At the Renters Rights Rally, over 45 members and tenants across Ottawa gathered in Confederation Park across from City Hall to launch our housing priorities and the results from the Tenant Survey.
Some of the key findings of the tenant survey are as follows:
- 32% had received an eviction notice
- 60% have struggled to get repairs done
- 30% have struggled to get a pest infestation (ex. bedbugs, cockroaches) addressed
- 30% have struggled to get a rodent infestation (ex. rats, mice) addressed
- 51% struggle with their apartments being too hot in the summer & 71% live or have lived without AC
- 25% have been harassed, intimated or threatened by a landlord
- 17% have received an Above Guideline Rent Increase (AGI)
- 16% have received a rent increase they could not afford
- 34% have lived in a building/complex without regular cleaning or maintenance
- Only 11% had ever called Bylaw, but of those that did, only 55% had their maintenance issues resolved
ACORN members delivered the Tenant Survey Report along with our campaign demands to Councillor Stephanie Plante’s assistant Alan Neeff calling on City Council tackle the housing crisis by starting with Ottawa ACORN’s #1 Housing Priority: An Renoviction Bylaw! The councillor’s office committed to meeting with ACORN members in the coming weeks.
Special thank you to Norma Jean Quibell, Ginelise Edouard, Evan Bury, Lionel Njeukam, Pascal Kakule who ran the Tenant Rights Council!! Another special thank you to Jean-Paul Allard, Pascal Kakule, and Max Brazier who ran the Renters Rights Rally! And a final thank you to Councillor Ariel Troster, CAWI, Horizon and Free Transit Ottawa who spoke at these events.
Send a message to Ottawa City Council demanding they introduce a Renoviction Bylaw NOW here: https://acorncanada.org/take_action/stop-renovictions-in-ottawa-2/
Check out the Ottawa Tenant Survey results here: https://acorncanada.org/resources/ottawa-acorns-2023-tenant-survey-tenants-biggest-housing-issues-solutions/
Check out the Radio-Canada Interview with ACORN member Eddy Roue about the Renters’ Rights Rally: