City urged to support unfairly renovicted tenants

On February 28, ACORN members demonstrated outside Ottawa City Hall to urge the city to adopt an anti-renoviction bylaw similar to the one recently introduced in Hamilton. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)
On February 28, ACORN members demonstrated outside Ottawa City Hall to urge the city to adopt an anti-renoviction bylaw similar to the one recently introduced in Hamilton. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)

Alayne McGregor

According to a recent report by ACORN Canada, Ottawa landlords are increasingly using N12 and N13 notices to push tenants out of their homes.

The community and tenant union analyzed N12 and N13 eviction data from 2017 to August 2023, which it obtained from the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) through freedom of information requests. These notices are becoming increasingly “common tactics employed by corporate landlords to evict long term tenants,” the report said.

The number of N12s filed in Ottawa between 2017 and 2021 increased by 160 percent to 173. N13s increased even more dramatically: they tripled in 2022 compared to 2021, from 23 to 71.

A landlord can issue an N12 notice if they or their family or caregiver wants to move back into the rental unit for at least one year or there is an agreement of purchase and sale of the rental unit and the purchaser’s family or their caregiver wants to move in. An N13 notice allows a tenant to be evicted when the landlord wants to do massive renovations that require vacant possession of the rental unit, demolish the rental unit or convert it for non-residential use.

ACORN noted that the LTB data is “a gross underestimate of the scale of the renoviction crisis. Most renovictions never reach the tribunal as landlords harass and intimidate tenants to get a ‘voluntary’ termination of tenancy. This includes but is not limited to: neglecting repairs and making conditions for tenants unlivable, offering ‘cash for keys’ or ‘buyouts’ and purposely misleading tenants about their rights.”

Once a tenant leaves a unit, the landlord can raise the rent substantially.

The report shows similar data for all of Ontario, with 4931 N12s filed in 2021 compared to 2906 in 2017. In 2022, 1060 N13s were filed in the province, compared to 277 in 2017 and 715 in 2021.

Ottawa ACORN held a rally February 28 to mark the report release. At that rally, members called on City Council to pass an anti-renoviction bylaw similar to that in Hamilton, and pass a rental replacement bylaw to protect existing affordable housing and stop tenant displacement as a result of demolition. The Hamilton bylaw requires the landlord to prove that the work requires the tenant to leave, and allows the tenant to return at the same rate once the work is complete.

At the rally, ACORN representative Evan Bury said that Ottawa landlords who have issued many N13s included OPG Holdings, Smart Living, and Timbercreek.

Councillor Theresa Kavanagh (with ACORN organizer Evan Bury to her right) speaks at the February 28 ACORN demonstration outside Ottawa City Hall releasing the results of a study showing a massive increase in N12 and N13 applications by Ottawa and Ontario landlords. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)
Councillor Theresa Kavanagh (with ACORN organizer Evan Bury to her right) speaks at the February 28 ACORN demonstration outside Ottawa City Hall releasing the results of a study showing a massive increase in N12 and N13 applications by Ottawa and Ontario landlords. (Alayne McGregor/The BUZZ)

At the city’s Audit Committee on March 8, Councillor Theresa Kavanagh inquired if a renoviction bylaw could be introduced in Ottawa. Derrick Moodie, the city’s manager of development review, said the city is currently waiting for the province as it investigates this issue right now.

A policy regarding rental housing protection was recently reinstated in the city’s Official Plan by Bill 150, which would enable the city to pass such a bylaw.

Recent city statistics show that 31 units of affordable housing are now being lost for one being built.

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