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Toronto tenants calling for provincial moratorium on demovictions

by Caryn Ceolin, December 6, 2023 6:07 pm.



Excerpt:


Tenants at risk of being ‘demovicted’ from their rent-controlled units in Toronto are calling for a provincial moratorium on the practice at a time when many are struggling to find an affordable place to live.


Megan Kee, an organizer with the group No Demovictions, advocates for the renters of more than a dozen buildings across the city that have been approved for demolition and redevelopment.


“A lot of the buildings are purpose-built affordable rental buildings so the tenants that live in them feel very safe and secure as they see rising rents and low vacancy rates,” Kee told CityNews. “And so to get a notice that the building you’ve lived in, for some people for 10 to 50 years, is being demolished is heartbreaking.”


Kee herself faces demoviction from the midtown apartment she once considered herself lucky for having.


“It wasn’t until I received my notice a year ago that that illusion of safety was shattered,” said Kee.


More than 3,000 units could be knocked down in Toronto to make way for new, bigger condos through demovictions.


Under city rules, developers are required to offer former tenants the new units first at comparable prices when construction is complete. But there is uncertainty around the prospect of uprooting their lives in a competitive rental market during the construction phase without proper compensation.


For the residents of one building near Bay and Bloor Streets, tenants say their deal with the developer provides less than half of what they’ll be able to afford when they are handed eventual eviction notices.


There is also concern around the Ford government’s housing bill, which gives the province the power to scrap or weaken rental replacement rules for municipalities. It hasn’t used those powers yet.


“We are all very worried they’re going to make it much cheaper for developers to come in, demolish these buildings and replace them with expensive, luxury condos,” NDP housing critic Jessica Bell told CityNews.


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