Submitted by Robyn Gillam
Bill I84, which became law in July, rewrites provincial legislation governing residential tenancies, making it easier for landlords to evict tenants, bypassing hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). In particular, it focusses on private repayment agreements between landlords and tenants. Although Premier Ford promised there would be no evictions during the pandemic, the legislation is retroactive to the beginning of the state of emergency on March 17. As soon as it ended on July 28, pending evictions became active again and new applications can be made. LTB hearings resumed in August. Many tenants who lost employment and have had difficulty meeting rent are at risk of eviction. The new legislation makes it harder for them to renegotiate repayment plans, without the opportunity of an LTB hearing.
Even if you are not having difficulty paying your rent, your tenancy may not be secure. Long-term tenants can be at risk for “renoviction,” where a landlord wants to upgrade and turn over the unit for a higher rent. This is a common practice, as rent increases on vacant units are not capped. It often leads to landlords neglecting problems in rental units as a way to force tenants out. These can include basic infrastructure (e.g. plumbing, water and heat) or pest control, as well as activities that create noise or other inconvenience and can even extend to cash inducements to leave. Failure to clean common areas is also particularly troubling in the present situation with Covid-19 and has caused tenants great anxiety. Many are afraid to complain, fearing the loss of their homes.
If you are under threat of eviction, having problems negotiating back rent payments with your landlord or are experiencing significant health and safety issues in your living situation, you should contact Hamilton Acorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-393-5734 and/or the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic at hamiltonjustice.ca or 905-527-4572.