Tenants rights group says next Hamilton city council needs to do more to stop renovictions – Hamilton


An advocacy group for tenants says the following metropolis council must take critical motion to cease renovictions in Hamilton.

Throughout a strolling tour by way of the decrease metropolis on Thursday, members of ACORN Hamilton and different residents shared their tales about being displaced from their flats or being pressured to maneuver by landlords who want to renovate a property and lift the hire for incoming tenants.

John Vermeire lived in an residence on Barton Road East for over two years and mentioned he by no means missed a hire cost, however when new homeowners took over the constructing, they started to attempt to get him and 13 different tenants to maneuver out.

“They had been calling me each two, three days. ‘Are you transferring but? You discovered a spot but? Can you progress out?’ No, I’m not going to maneuver.’”

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He mentioned they ended up shopping for him and the entire different tenants out of the constructing in the beginning of the 12 months, and it took him 9 months earlier than he was capable of finding one other place in Hamilton he may afford.

“The federal government doesn’t step in and do something about this,” mentioned Vermeire. “These individuals are getting cash while folks find yourself homeless, happening [Ontario Works], doing what we’ve to do to outlive. And so they deal with you such as you’re a bit of rubbish.”

ACORN member Elizabeth Ellis had an analogous story about being renovicted from her Sherman Avenue residence in 2019.

She mentioned the property homeowners saved “badgering” her and the opposite tenants till they ended up being purchased out and since then, she mentioned the flats have been unoccupied.

“The factor is, I may perceive, ‘Okay, you renovicted me. Okay, tremendous. I can cope with that.’ However what I can’t cope with is them profiting off having no one reside right here. We’re in a housing disaster and no one’s nonetheless residing right here. There’s folks on the road.”

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Mark Baker mentioned his landlord has tried to renovict him and his neighbours of their residence on Garfield Avenue, however they ended up going to the Landlord Tenant Board and had a tribunal rule of their favour.

“They began hitting the constructing with N13s on this false premise that the constructing is in want of main electrical, plumbing, such and such retrofits, not realizing that most people which have lived on this constructing have achieved work on this constructing,” mentioned Baker. “There’s a plumber on this constructing, there’s an electrician on this constructing.

“We received at tribunal as a result of they didn’t have permits or proof of the work that wanted to be achieved.”

Regardless of that victory, Baker mentioned tenants are nonetheless being pressured to maneuver out.

He mentioned one thing wants to vary to guard tenants from predatory landlord practices that end in them being pushed out of their properties and into an more and more costly rental market.

“It’s counter-intuitive and counterproductive to assist folks get kicked out of properties in a spot the place you have already got no properties.”

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Lately, metropolis council has taken some steps towards defending tenants by increasing a tenant defence fund for renters who’re threatened with N13 eviction notices, making modifications to incentive grants to forestall them from going to properties the place tenants have been displaced and approving the implementation of a vacant dwelling tax on empty residential properties.

A landlord licensing pilot has additionally been put in place in sure elements of the town, however ACORN mentioned that program must be expanded throughout all of Hamilton.

Town can also be anticipated to ask a marketing consultant to look into creating a neighborhood anti-renoviction coverage that’s primarily based on a bylaw in New Westminister, B.C., that requires landlords to accommodate tenants throughout renovations or transfer them into one other residence, however that has but to maneuver ahead.

Ward 3 councillor Nrinder Nann was amongst a number of metropolis council candidates who joined ACORN for Thursday’s strolling tour and thanked the group for his or her advocacy to push for municipal insurance policies that defend tenants.

She additionally pledged that, if she’s re-elected on Oct. 24, the cash generated by the vacant dwelling tax will go completely towards constructing extra reasonably priced housing in Hamilton.

ACORN’s political motion committee has launched a listing of council candidates it’s endorsing within the upcoming election, in addition to throwing its help behind Andrea Horwath as a mayoral candidate.

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