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  • Writer's pictureNo Demovictions

Toronto is approving a growing number of rental demolitions and redevelopments — and less than two thirds of tenants ever go back

By Victoria Gibson, Saturday, January 13, 2024



Excerpt:


"“You aren’t just getting rid of people’s homes,” Whitehead said in an interview. “There was a community of people that had a relationship with each other.”

Across Toronto, thousands of tenants are facing similar uncertainty, after their buildings were greenlit for demolition. An increasing number of these teardowns are being rubber-stamped — 1,229 units from January to early December 2023 versus 298 in all of 2017 — in the name of providing sleeker, modernized rentals and more homes on the same amount of land.

City bylaws offer some protections for tenants, requiring that anyone tearing down six or more units has to replace them and offer them back to tenants at a similar price. But new data shared with the Star shows only 63 per cent of tenants eligible to return ever do. Over the last three years, of the 179 completed replacement units earmarked for former tenants, just 112 moved back in.

That doesn’t take into account any tenants displaced by demolition who were deemed ineligible for a replacement unit, with another 189 replacement units completed last year not set aside for a specific past renter.

As the city’s population balloons, some experts see this phenomenon as a growing pain — a tradeoff where tenants are displaced with the promise of one day returning, in order to provide more housing stock in dense urban areas. But evident in heated protests that have broken out across Toronto this year, that promise provides little balm to the sting of losing one’s home, as tenants of these buildings are forced to upend their lives for years at a time."


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