Template for the Rental Replacement Bylaws Consultation
The More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 claims to solve the housing crisis. However, in the process of building more homes, the legislation proposes to destroy existing affordable housing by standardizing rental replacement bylaws. The province sees them as a roadblock to building new housing. However, on the contrary, these bylaws are a critical tool cities can use to require developers to replace the affordable units at the time of redevelopment and offer them back to existing tenants at the same rent.
They are a key protection that help preserve the existing affordable/low-end of market housing in major Ontario cities. The financial cost of replacing affordable rental housing and providing displaced tenants with tenant relocation assistance and units at similar rents acts as a major disincentive for developers from demolishing the city’s older rental housing stock and converting them into expensive condos.
The new housing legislation gives the power to the province to eliminate these rental replacement bylaws which will in turn erode the remaining affordable housing in Ontario’s major cities and accelerate the eviction and homelessness crisis.
There is ample evidence that rental replacement bylaws work. Toronto has been able to secure more than 5,000 units as a result of its rental replacement bylaw. In the absence of such a bylaw, Toronto’s 71,000 purpose-built rental units built before 1960 stand at immediate risk of being demolished.
Similarly, the city of Mississauga has a Rental Protection bylaw that ensures replacement of affordable housing lost due to demolition and conversion to condos. Ottawa and Hamilton are on their way to developing their bylaws.
Ontario is in a housing crisis which is only getting worse. Thousands of tenants are paying more than 30% of their income on rent. The housing supply alone will not solve the crisis because, one, it’s not building affordable housing; and second, it cannot match the pace at which we are losing existing affordable housing.
Scrapping or weakening rental replacement rules would be a devastating blow to renters who are already in desperate need of support. I need the provincial government to investigate the true costs of eliminating rental replacement bylaws.
As an ACORN member and a tenant in, I strongly urge you to ensure that these critical rental protection bylaws are maintained and strengthened.