What are we asking for?
No Demovictions is a tenant collective that advocates against profit-driven demovictions by supporting tenants through education, organization, and action towards policy change.
The following list will continue to grow and evolve as new information becomes available.
A Provincial Moratorium on Demovictions
The stock of affordable purpose-built rental buildings in Toronto is currently being destroyed at a rate faster than we are building them. There are over 70 purpose-built rental buildings up for demolition, which represents thousands of households competing for rental housing in an already tight, volatile market - and there are not enough purpose-built rentals being built to accommodate this tenant displacement. This means thousands will have to choose from moving away from Toronto, seeking housing in secondary rental markets (e.g., condos), downgrading current quality of housing, and/or experiencing homelessness.
The loss of purpose built rental apartments to demolition has an exponential impact on the rental market. Demolishing an occupied apartment reduces the number units available for rent, while simultaneously putting a tenant back into the market. Until the impact of the over 70 buildings being demovicted (and counting) has been evaluated to better understand the impact that displacement will have on communities, tenants, and Toronto’s housing, we are calling for a moratorium on all demoviction applications. This includes all applications that are pre-construction, including those that have been approved by City Council.
The Formation of a Demovictions Committee
We are asking the City of Toronto to form a demovictions committee, comprised of tenant association representatives, housing advocates, housing policy analysts, political representatives, and other key housing experts who will work together to brainstorm meaningful solutions to demovictions, protecting the stock of affordable purpose-built rental housing and ensuring that tenants rights are considered in rental replacement by-laws. The results of this committee’s work should also be shared with the provincial and federal governments, who also have important roles in addressing the impacts of demovictions.
WHY A COMMITTEE?
Multiple buildings, including 25 St. Mary, 145 St. George, and 88 Isabella, have been approved for demolition and re-development by City Councillors who voiced opposition to these applications. Citing the need to provide tenants with the best compensation packages and protections possible in light of new provincial legislation (rather than rejecting the application and allowing it to go to the Ontario Land Tribunal, which may strip tenants of existing protections), City Councillors have continued to openly vote against their own values. We believe that a separate committee to investigate the potential solutions necessary to protect the limited stock of purpose-built rentals is required to ensure that demoviction developments are not approved simply because they are the only viable option for councillors.
Comprehensive and transparent data collection is a fundamental component to any well-informed plan. There is currently no meaningful data being collected or publicly reported on demovictions and their impact on tenants, communities, and the housing affordability crisis in Toronto. Data collection can help City Planning to develop better policies and solutions that are well informed. While the type of data being collected will be clarified by the demovictions committee, we are currently asking for:
Demolition application data available online and on demand that includes: demolition and re-development applications currently in progress (and where each application is in the City’s development process), including details about the existing building (number of units, square footage, etc.); information on the proposed developments, such as number of proposed affordable rental units (replacement and additional units), timelines for completion (proposed and actual).
Tenant data that captures:
the demographics of tenants being impacted (including income/socio-economic status, race, age, with particular attention to collecting data on equity-seeking populations who are impacted.), whether tenants are able to return when the development has been completed, the financial impact of the demoviction on tenants (with a focus on rent gap payments and what other financial burdens that tenants must shoulder)
Notification of buildings being sold
We are asking for all purpose-built rental buildings to be publicly listed for sale for at least 6 months, with tenants being given the first right of refusal. This provides tenants with an opportunity to consider a co-op or community land trust to preserve the stock of affordable housing and keep their homes. This provides additional protections and rights to tenants in the face of the financialization of housing. Learn more about community land trusts here.
Ensuring that Developers, not tenants, pay the full cost of displacement
There is currently no meaningful enforcement to ensure that developers and landlords provide all of the supports outlined in the compensation packages provided, ensuring that tenants do not shoulder the financial burden of displacement.
Leasing agent: In some applications, tenants have been offered the services of a leasing agent to help them find accommodation during the construction period. However, there are no operational requirements or defined deliverables for the Leasing Agent. This may lead to situations where vulnerable tenants are required to shoulder the burden of finding suitable temporary housing.
Rent gap payments: Under current rental replacement by-laws, developers are required to provide tenants with rent gap payments, paying the difference of their rent while they are displaced during construction. However, rent gap payment data currently only analyzes rent from affordable purpose-built rentals, not condominiums. However, very few affordable purpose-built rental units are available in Toronto as we are destroying them at a record rate. Condominiums are the only option for tenants who want to stay in the City of Toronto. Without meaningful reform, tenants will have to shoulder the financial burden of being displaced, leading to financial hardship and instability.
Moving costs: In some applications, tenants have been offered compensation to cover their moving costs. However, these costs are not covered in rental replacement by-laws, and will vary depending on the tenant. Some elderly and disabled tenants are unable to pack up their belongings, and will require additional financial support to do so. It is important to ensure that these costs do not fall on already vulnerable tenants.
Rent and vacancy control
We are asking for the immediate implementation from the Provincial government of both rent control and vacancy control. The removal of rent control from all units and buildings in Ontario built after November 15th, 2018 has incentivized investors, developers, and landlords to both renovict and demovict tenants in hopes of turning a profit and acquiring higher rents. This has led to a massive increase in rent prices across the province. The implementation of rent and vacancy control on all buildings will stabilize prices and provide tenants with security of tenure.