Advocates seek housing safeguards for ‘renovicted’ tenants

A coalition of Ontario affordable-housing advocates calls for provincial legislation mandating rental-replacement bylaws.

Municipalities across Ontario should establish strong and effective rental replacement by-laws that protect tenants, a new brief submitted to the provincial government says.

The submission Thursday to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing includes signatories from a range of urban and rural affordable-housing advocates, including United Way Elgin Middlesex and others from across Ontario.

The brief makes eight recommendations intended to ensure minimum disruption and adequate protections for tenants displaced by redevelopment or renovation.

It follows an earlier submission in December 2022 with recommendations to the provincial government on preserving and renewing existing affordable rental stock, so that low-income Ontarians can remain safely and securely housed.

In rural and urban areas alike, “rental options are limited, and lagging affordability is a reality across the province,” the submission says.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s most recent official numbers show a rental vacancy rate in Ontario of 1.8 per cent, the lowest availability in two decades. In the Elgin Middlesex area, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is almost $1,400.

The data also shows that new tenants had rent-rate increases more than six times that of tenants in units that did not turn over – a double-whammy of affordability and availability.

“Rental replacement policies provide a stabilizing framework to the rental housing system. They are a critical policy lever to address deteriorating rental housing security, affordability and attainability, particularly during times of neighbourhood change,” the submission says.

See the PDF for full submission.