Today, I went on Newstalk 1010 with Jerry Agar to talk about the tenants at 130 Jameson who are being threatened with eviction if they don’t remove their dishwashers or window AC units. Many of these tenants are elderly and disabled.
Every summer, tenants across Ontario receive threats and eviction notices from corporate landlords who demand tenants remove their window AC unit or else.
The climate crisis is here. Our summers are getting hotter and our weather more extreme. It’s terribly uncomfortable living in a hot and humid apartment - and in heat waves it becomes life threatening. Over 600 people died in BC during last year’s heat dome, and almost all of them were seniors living alone in apartments without AC.
Here’s what the law says. Unless it’s explicitly written into your lease that you are not allowed an AC unit, tenants are allowed to safely install a window AC unit. Landlords cannot make you sign a new lease that bans you from using an AC unit. The FMTA has written guidelines for tenants, and I encourage everyone in this situation to read them.
The reason why landlords threaten tenants with eviction is because they want the tenant to move out so they can increase the rent to market rate levels. Rents for vacant apartments in Toronto have risen by 20% in the last year, so landlords are financially incentivized to use every trick in the book to evict long-term tenants.
Don’t be tricked. Only the Landlord and Tenant Board can evict a tenant.
Tenants are not second-class citizens. Tenants deserve to live in safe, well-maintained and affordable homes that meet their needs.
To help tenants, we are calling for the implementation of a maximum temperature bylaw so tenants have reprieve from the heat.
We are also calling for vacancy control, so there’s a cap on the amount that rent can be raised if a tenant leaves. This will reduce the incentive for a landlord to illegally evict, and help make our city affordable again.
We are also calling for climate adaptation measures to transition our cities to our new hot reality. To keep people cool in summer, we need to retrofit buildings, change the building code to build more heat-resilient and energy efficient homes, and invest in practical cooling measures like doubling our tree canopy.
If you are concerned about this issue, I urge you to send a note to Minister Steve Clark and Minister Doug Downey and urge them to do the right thing for the climate and renters. We will also be organizing on this issue in the coming months ahead so join our newsletter so you can get that latest information.