Renovictions are growing across Ontario and Toronto tops the list

The practice of evicting tenants under the guise of renovations or a family member moving in, only to re-list the unit for triple the price, is a growing trend in Ontario. Now, a new report has put that trend into numbers — and the results show Toronto tops the list.

The Renovictions Report by ACORN Canada analyzed data relating to two specific eviction notices, N12s and N13s, in the province from 2017 to 2023. N12s refer to a notice of termination of tenancy when a landlord or a family member wants to move back into the unit, or if the unit has sold and the purchaser’s family wants to move in. N13s refer to a notice of termination of tenancy when a landlord wants to complete massive renovations or demolish the unit entirely.

In Ontario, there has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of N12s filed between 2017 and 2021, totalling 18,151 notices. For N13s, there has been an almost 300 per cent increase between 2017 and 2022, totalling 4,067 notices.

For both notices, Toronto had the highest number of filings by far in the province. A total of 5,085 N12s were filed in Toronto from 2017-2021, compared to 1,193 in Brampton, the second city on the list. And from 2017 to August of 2023, 950 N13s were filed in Toronto, compared to 337 in Hamilton during the same period.

The report notes that since 2017, there has been a nearly 50 per cent increase in the number of N13s filed in Toronto — and comparing 2020 and 2021 to 2022, the number has almost doubled.

According to ACORN Canada, these numbers are likely undercounting: many renovictions don’t reach the Landlord and Tenant Board, where these numbers are pulled from, due to landlords intimidating tenants into a “voluntary” termination of tenancy.

Both notices are increasingly becoming common tactics for landlords to evict long-term tenants. The practice has become particularly lucrative in Ontario, where there is no vacancy control and landlords can raise rents as much as they would like between tenants — incentivizing high turnover of units. In Toronto, the average rent in units that had been turned over within the year exceeded rents in non-turnover units by 31 per cent.

Renovictions are just one practice that is contributing to a loss of affordable housing in Ontario — according to the report, between 2016 and 2021, Ontario saw a 36 per cent decline in units that rent for less than $1,000. Units with monthly rents of more than $1,500 also increased by 360 per cent.

Hamilton is the first and only city in Ontario to ban renovictions — the city passed a bylaw last month requiring landlords to obtain a renovation license from the city before commencing any renovation work that requires an N13 to be issued to a tenant. There’s hope that Toronto may follow suit — a group of councillors recently proposed that the City analyze Hamilton’s bylaw to see how Toronto can crack down on renovictions as well.

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