After endless backlash from tenants and housing advocates, Toronto City Council has voted in favour to legally challenge Bill 184, the provincial government’s contentious law that advocates say will make it easier to evict residents after the pandemic.
On Wednesday evening, council voted 22-2 to fight the bill known as Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, which the Ford government says will “strengthen protections for tenants, make it easier to be a landlord, and help both landlords and tenants resolve disputes.”
Councillor Gord Perks led the motion, and stated that the amendments in the act are “contrary to rules of procedural fairness and natural justice.”
According to the motion, the City Solicitor is asked to proceed on “any other grounds the city solicitor determines to be appropriate and city council direct the city solicitor to take any necessary action to achieve a stay of those provisions until such time as a final decision has been rendered in respect of the challenge.”
Toronto City Council is going to court to legally challenge Premier Ford’s #Bill184. The City Solicitior will try to stop the 6000 pending July 31 #COVIDevictions, and to re-establish tenants’ right to a fair hearing. pic.twitter.com/nU0HEFhCwf
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) July 29, 2020
Under the bill, Landlord and Tenant Boards are able to order up to 12 months’ rent in compensation for eviction notices issued in bad faith, or where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back in after renovations or repairs.
The Ford government has said the bill helps both tenants and landlords by making it easier to resolve rent disputes and protect tenants from unlawful evictions.
However, housing advocates argue that isn’t the case and that the new law actually weakens tenants’ rights.
The Toronto-based Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA), which opposes Bill 184, said the law deprives tenants of a “key safety net that protects them from eviction” and called it “a cruel attack on vulnerable tenants in a time of historic need.”
The Eviction Moratorium will be lifted on August 1 and it is estimated between 7-9% of tenants in Ontario weren’t able to pay rent during the pandemic. Currently, more than 6000 cases are with the Landlord Tenant Board Right Now, according to ACORN Canada,