Committee approves motion to investigate solutions to renovictions in London, Ont.

Members of ACORN London stand in city hall after a tenant rights motion passed through committee successfully. Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

A motion to direct city staff to look into solutions targeting so-called renovictions in London has passed through the community and protective services committee.

Tabled by Mayor Josh Morgan, Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis and Ward 3 Coun. Peter Cuddy, the motion directs staff to find municipal options to prevent renovictions and report back to committee by September.

Possible recommendations include new bylaws, policies and programs.

“This is a good step forward for tenants,” Cuddy says. “Especially in the east end, where we see affordable housing being a real issue.”

A proposed solution is to have landlords submit N12 and N13 forms to the city as well as the tenants and the Landlord and Tenant Board, allowing the city to weigh in on the eviction.

“With that, we’ll be able to determine whether the landlord has a good reason for asking a tenant to leave. We have some very good landlords in the city … but unfortunately, we have landlords who are looking to take advantage of those who are (vulnerable),” Cuddy says.

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“That’s what this motion is for, it’s to protect those who are most vulnerable from landlords who really want to take advantage of the situation.”

Renovictions made headlines last year, when residents of 1270 and 1280 Webster St. reported receiving N13 notices claiming their units needed to be vacated for “extensive renovations.”

Members of the local tenant advocacy group ACORN are pleased with the motion passing, with only a few hangups.

Sharon Hodgson, a tenant at 1270 Webster who joined ACORN London shortly after being issued an N13 eviction notice, says it’s nice to see members of council unifying behind the motion.

“It has to be (unified) because there are 140 families that are being affected in just those two buildings. So, we’re talking at least 400 people that are going to be displaced. And we don’t need any more homeless people or unhoused people in the city, we just don’t,” Hodgson said.

Jordan Smith, chair of ACORN’s Carling-Stoneybrook chapter, says this result is “tremendously gratifying.”

“First and most important, is that (council) is recognizing the urgency of this, and that they’re listening,” Smith said.

“More than that, as an organization whose work is on the ground level and … is entirely volunteer-based, it’s nice to be recognized.”

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Smith adds that councillors have already reached out to ACORN to work with the group to figure out what needs to be done.

An additional request for civic administration in the motion was to check the feasibility of extending the residential rental unit licences (RRUL), which currently dictates that a rental unit licence is only required on buildings containing four or fewer units or a converted dwelling, to include residential dwellings up to four storeys.

Smith says it’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t target a main contributor to the issue of renoviction.

“This issue is happening at the corporations and the REITs (real estate investment trusts), these large holding companies owning this large towers. So, four storeys and under, it’s going to take care of a much greater percentage of people struggling, but it’s not going to tackle all of them.”

ACORN London was hoping for a reduced timeline on the report from city staff as well, coming in at the end of June as opposed to September.

“We can’t afford to wait, but at the same time, I get the genuine sense that (council) wants to do it right, and if that takes an extra three months, I’d rather we do that.”

Now that the motion has been passed through committee, it will go before city council at the next meeting on Jan. 23.


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