Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hamilton City Council passes anti-renoviction by-law

First Published:

A by-law meant to help renters in Hamilton fight off renoviction was just passed at city hall on Wednesday.

A local housing advocacy group describes the by-law as the first of its kind in the province.

A renoviction is when landlords use renovations to evict tenants.

The renoviction license and relocation listing by-law was sent back for further study in October.

READ MORE: Hamilton anti-renoviction by-law decision pushed to January: council

Multiple people who came out to the meeting on Wednesday say they’re in favour of the by-law because they experienced renovictions themselves.

Evan Pettitt says a company that bought the building he lives in with his girlfriend is trying to renovict him, saying he first received an N-13 in October.

“They cancelled that N-13, gave us another one just in December here with only one months rent as a buyout option, which is 743.12,” Pettitt said.

“We can’t afford to move, I’m on ODSP, because I lost my leg to cancer in 2015, and moving is just not an option for 18, 19-hundred dollars for even a one bedroom right now.”

Pettitt says the by-law passed on Wednesday will help people like him.

“It’ll stop landlords from wanting to kick tenants out, just so they can up their rent,” Pettitt said.

The new by-law sees landlords who are looking to issue an N-13 be required to get a license from the city at a fee of $715.

To do so, they would need to provide proof from an engineer.

Pettitt isn’t the only person in favour of the by-law.

READ MORE: Hamilton housing advocates fighting for renters over ‘renovictions’

ACORN Hamilton, which is a housing advocacy group, was in attendance at the meeting at city hall.

A number of their members were telling city councillors about their own experiences with renoviction, saying they are scared of being homeless, and that they are tenants, not profits.

Brian Doucet – Canada Research Chair in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo – says the by-law is strong as it is now.

“When a tenant is evicted, because renovations need to take place in their apartment, the relationship between the landlord and tenant is severed. so while tenants have the right to return, they have to re-establish that relationship,” Doucet said.

“What this by-law does, is it places that onus of responsibility firmly with both the landlord and the tenant, it binds them together throughout the whole process, throughout the application process, the renovation process, and the relocation back to the original unit, and that’s what makes it a very strong by-law.”

The city says landlords who do not comply with the by-law would be fined.

It says it is proposing around a $500 fine that could be charged every day of non-compliance.

However, the city says the Ministry of the Attorney General could change the fine amount when it’s brought to them.

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