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Oshawa renters forced out by “renovictions”: MPP

Jennifer French says landlords using loopholes

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French believes a growing number of city renters are being evicted through a tactic called “renoviction.”

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French says there is a growing trend of “renovicitions” in the City of Oshawa.

During a recent Question Period, French said the Ford government is doing “nothing” to protect renters from so-called “renovictions.”

She told The Oshawa Express landlords are offering renters lump payment sums to leave their rental units, under the guise they require renovations.

While this is a legal practice, French says it can only be done if the unit must be demolished or is in a state of disrepair, or is being converted.

Landlords must receive permits to do this from the City of Oshawa, and the previous occupant has the “first right of return” on the unit.

In these recent cases, the MPP says the landlords simply want to make cosmetic changes to the units, and then put them back on the market for higher rent.

French notes in many cases the building owners haven’t actually received the permits, but are falsely telling renters they have, and if they don’t take the money, they will be evicted anyway.

“It’s been seen a lot in Toronto. Landlords are offering people significant amounts of money to give up their right of return,” French said. “If they see a chunk of money, it’s something they would consider, and landlords are making it seem like they have to get out.”

Speaking at Queen’s Park, French said  just during the summer alone she learned almost 100 residents of apartment buildings had been told they were being “renovicted.”

French said once these people are out of their current unit, they face an unaffordable rental market.

“These soon-to-be displaced residents are seniors, working families and folks on a fixed income who don’t know if they’ll be able to find safe, affordable housing because the housing situation in Oshawa is dire. People don’t know where they will go,” French said.

French asked Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark what his government was doing to protect renters in the city.

Clark said as part of new housing legislation the Conservatives heard from “both landlords and tenants on the need for a fair system.”

He said while he shares French’s concerns on the issue, Ontario is also facing a housing supply shortage which needs to be addressed.