Getting kicked out of a rental unit after failing to pay rent, causing damage to the property, and being a nuisance to neighbours are all valid and common reasons why landlords hand out eviction notices. But what about renters being asked to vacate their homes through no fault of their own?
It sounds unfair, but it’s a situation that has been happening more and more frequently in Toronto. While not heavily common just yet, there has been a rising trend in tenants being evicted from their rental homes in order to make room for landlords to use the premises for their own personal use. And it’s leaving many renters looking for another place to live.
“Own-Use” and “Renovictions” On the Rise
According to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in Ontario, there has been a marked increase in applications for no-fault evictions since 2016. More specifically, two specific types of evictions stem from the landlord: “own-use” evictions, whereby landlords say they or a family member wish to move into the property; and “renovictions,” which essentially refers to the eviction of tenants in order to carry out planned renovations on a building.
A recent report released by the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) shows startling data surrounding this growing trend. Those behind ACTO are concerned that such actions by landlords across the city are hurting those looking for affordable housing. Landlords are being condemned for taking advantage of the current shortage of affordable housing, and ACTO is urging the province of Ontario to step in and take some form of action to put a stop to such unfair and unprovoked evictions.
According to the report, the government has not done anything as of yet to do something about the sharp drop in the availability of affordable rentals, particularly in urban hubs like Toronto. And little is being done to prevent unprovoked evictions.
Some Landlords Finding Loopholes to Hike Rent
Some landlords are being criticized for pushing tenants out — even without fault — in an effort to start afresh and take advantage of the current housing shortage by charging a higher rent, a practice now referred to as “rent gouging.”
While the law is supposed to protect renters by giving them a chance to move back into a unit after renovations are complete, this is not what always ends up happening. Instead, landlords are resetting rents at much higher levels, and the government seems to be having a tough time enforcing tenants’ rights.
A large proportion of renters in this situation are unaware of their rights and don’t fight their landlords on them. Even those who do appear at LTB hearings don’t have any legal representation. Many tenants may not even want to bother, considering the long wait before their hearings are heard by the LTB. In fact, tenants in some parts of the city wait an average of 80 days just to have their eviction cases heard.