The London Free Press: Five things to know about renovictions and how to police them

Posted June 10, 2024

City politicians on Monday will have the first chance to review what is the first step to a new London bylaw that would crack down on so-called “renovictions.” LFP’s Jack Moulton breaks down what’s at stake and what’s being done to stop it.


Renoviction is another term for an N13 eviction under the Residential Tenancies Act of Ontario, which are issued when a landlord needs a unit vacant to make building repairs or renovations.

Under the law, tenants have the first right of refusal to return to their units at the same rent after the work, but tenants might move on or fall out of touch for various reasons.

Once a unit is vacant, landlords can raise the rent to what the market will bear. If it’s a rent-controlled building, meaning one built before 2019 and subject to provincial limits on annual rental increases, the owner can apply for a higher increase to offset major capital costs of repairs or upgrades.


With rental housing in tight supply in many cities, including London, and rent prices through the roof compared to recent years, renovictions can leave renters with few options to replace their housing, especially at rates they’ve been accustomed to paying.

Landlords may legitimately need to clear out tenants for needed repairs or building overhauls, but critics say renovictions are sometimes a way for landlords to jack-up rents in a hot housing market.


According to the city staff, its hard to know exactly how many renovictions there are, since not all are filed with the province’s landlord and tenant board. In a March report, they point to research that shows landlords more often use pressure tactics such as buyouts, ignoring repair requests, and reducing general maintenance to force tenants out.
However, according to data obtained by ACORN, a national tenants advocacy group, London was fifth in the province for the number of N13s issued between 2017 and 2022 at 153. There was a 180 per cent increase in the use of N13 notices during the same period.


While strides have been made in other cities, including Burnaby and New Westminster in B.C., Hamilton has led the charge in Ontario for a bylaw crackdown on bad faith renovictions. The city recently passed an new licensing bylaw, requiring 28 new staff members, requiring landlords to apply for a license with the city for repairs or renovations.

It emphasizes communication between the landlord and tenant, even to the point of not issuing a license until alternate living arrangements are established and are to the liking of the city director.
Hamilton also incorporated financial compensation rules from provincial law for being displaced, and even links required compensation to the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the average market rent from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.


One of the components of London’s push to crack down on renovictions is lifted straight from new provincial law that hasn’t yet come into effect after receiving royal assent last year. Bill 97, or the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, made several amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act to address renovictions.

That includes giving N13 recipients a 60-day grace period to move back in after the work is done, but also requiring that an engineer or architect sign off through a report that the unit does indeed need to be vacant for extensive work.

Article by Jack Moulton for The London Free Press