Every week I meet residents who are hurting because our city is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis. Illegal evictions are making the housing crisis worse.
Today I announced my private member’s bill Protecting Renters from Illegal Evictions Act at a press conference in Matt Cohen Park with Official Opposition tenants rights critic, Suze Morrison. If passed, my bill would raise fines on landlords who illegally evict tenants, increase government enforcement of the eviction laws, and grant tenants more compensation if they are evicted.
During the press conference we heard from Serena Purdy, a tenants rights' advocate with Friends of Kensington Market who spoke about landlords harassing tenants out of their homes. We also heard from Caitlin Gowans, a renter in University-Rosedale who was recently renovicted from her home on Walmer Road. Caitlin and her partner suffered through years of noisy renovations, only to be served with an eviction notice once their landlord had taken as much as rent as they could.
Caitlin is not alone. I have heard from many renters in University-Rosedale about their constant fear of being forced out of their homes. I have also heard from renters about the enormous stress caused by fighting a no-fault eviction, ultimately forcing many tenants out of their homes without a fair fight or fair compensation.
Data from the Landlord and Tenant Board shows that between 2015 and 2019, landlords’ requests for eviction hearings where the tenant has done nothing wrong have risen by 77 per cent. This is because landlords use evictions to kick out long-term tenants who are protected by rent control and replace them with new tenants, charging a much higher rent. Illegal evictions like these are driving up the cost of housing for everyone.
Tenants evicted through no fault of their own, like a renoviction, are often forced out of their communities as a result because they can no longer afford to stay in the neighbourhood they call home.
During a pandemic when many are facing income loss, ensuring housing affordability is critical. Now, more than ever, we need to protect tenants from unfair evictions and ensure people can stay in their homes.