‘Renovictions’ on the rise in Ontario according to recent report by ACORN; cities should require building permits  
(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)

‘Renovictions’ on the rise in Ontario according to recent report by ACORN; cities should require building permits  

A national organization that advocates for the rights of tenants is calling for all municipalities to require a building permit and engineering report to verify residents have to be vacated in order to do renovation work which is often just a guise to remove renters so that prices can be significantly increased.

On February 28th, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a tenant advocacy group, released a report summarizing eviction data it obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board through freedom of information legislation.

The data show that two types of no-fault eviction methods—known as N12s and N13s—are commonly being exploited to remove tenants from their homes.

N12s are issued when the landlord, their family or caregiver wants to move into the unit for a minimum of a year, or if the purchase and sale of the rental unit has been agreed on and the purchaser’s family or caregiver wishes to move in.

N13s are another form of no-fault eviction permissible under the Residential Tenancies Act that allow a landlord to remove a tenant to undertake significant renovation work that would require the vacancy of the rental unit, or if they want to demolish it entirely. It is also filed when the landlord wishes to convert the unit into a non-residential space.

Personal experiences have become public as evicted tenants tell their stories when landlords undertake minor renovation work before relisting the unit with much higher rent. These N13s have been dubbed “renovictions” while evicting a tenant under the guise of demolishing the unit has been labelled a “demoviction”. 

The Ontario Renoviction Report 2024 describes how these practices allow landlords to increase rent prices or “turnover” their rental units after the tenancy is terminated through an N12 or N13. It highlights that while the province’s existing rent control measures ensure the rate is “not raised substantially as long as the tenancy continues for buildings built before 2018,” there is a lack of “control” which leads to unfair cost inflation and “provides a massive financial incentive to landlords to do renovictions and push out long term tenants for the unit to become vacant.”

This exacerbates the Ontario housing crisis by pushing more rental units further out of reach for low income earners and those with fixed budgets, the report explains. The root cause of the issue should be addressed by the provincial government by “eliminating the financial incentive for renovictions to take place”. The report makes the case for municipalities to respond to this problem by enacting “strong tenant protections.”

The report found that 18,151 N12s have been filed from 2017 to 2021, a 70 percent increase over that four-year period; while 4,067 N13s were filed between 2017 and Aug 2023, and there was a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of N13s filed in 2017 compared to 2022. 

The “number of potential renoviction notices has increased by 77% during this time,” the report found. In the 2020/2021 period, when there was a temporary eviction moratorium due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were almost 10,000 N12 and N13 eviction notices filed. 

Tanya Burkart, leader of the local Peel ACORN branch, told The Pointer that when the pandemic caused the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to close, no eviction hearings could occur. Landlords were still able to digitally file cases and when the moratorium was eventually lifted, those cases were able to be processed. 


According to the Ontario Renoviction Report 2024 the number of potential renoviction notices has increased rapidly.

(Ontario Renoviction Report 2024/ACORN Canada)


The report argues the N12 and N13 data from the LTB is “a gross underestimate of the scale of the renoviction crisis,” and that tactics to force tenants to leave on their own are often used, such as “neglecting repairs and making conditions for tenants unlivable, offering ‘cash for keys’ or ‘buyouts’ and purposely misleading tenants about their rights.”

Burkart explained that “cash for keys” or “buyouts” often involve a timeline for the tenant to accept a sum of money to vacate their unit, which she said is typically three months. She said tenants who accept often struggle to find “safe, secure and habitable housing” as the cost of housing on the market is often not considered. 

Oleg Voronin is a tenant and Peel ACORN member who told The Pointer the new company which owns the building where he rents has tried to get him to leave through a buyout offer. He said he received two notices left under his door from the owner. 

The offer was for “some money for me, that I terminate the contract and leave the building,” he said. While he did not recall if a reason was given, he has heard about the practice of tenants being removed from their units for renovations only for the rental prices to be raised afterward, and he does not want the price of his rent to change. 

“I don’t [want any] money, I just want to keep the price as we agreed before because…I know from some other people that the price after renovation is very, very high.”  

He said there was no detail about whether he could come back to his unit. He doesn't know if others in the apartment received similar letters. 

Burkart said if tenants don’t accept buyout of cash for keys offers, some landlords will try to force them out by making it “as hard as possible for the tenant to stay.” She said this is often done through an ongoing process of making living conditions “very difficult” by neglecting repair work or shutting the water off, for example. She said there is even a tactic of harassing the tenant to get them to leave. “It really puts them in unlivable conditions or frustrating conditions.” 


Peel ACORN leader Tanya Burkart marching to PULIS Headquarters from Brampton City Hall in September of 2022.

(Peel ACORN/Submission) 


Voronin said under the new landlord, the building no longer has a superintendent and he has to send complaints or requests by email to the owners. Residents of the building have access to their own private storage lockers, he said, but require a shared key to open the door that will take them to their personal locker. His requests for the key, he said, are often put off. “[If] today, tomorrow, I need the key, I will never get it.”

Prior to the change in ownership a superintendent would immediately provide him with the key. He said the previous superintendent “helped very much with the maintenance, with the keys, with everything, but now [it takes] much time to get from them something.” 

Burkart said some tenants accept buyout offers unaware of their rights, while others don’t realize that the upfront amount they are being offered may not leave them in a better situation. “I think there's this whole disconnect between what the tenants think is going to happen and what the real-world applications are in terms of affordable rentals and entering market rents.” 

The report looks at N12 and N13 trends in cities. Brampton was seventh out of the top ten cities with the most N13s between 2017-Aug 2023, with 112 filed within that time period. It came second out of the top ten cities with the highest number of N12s between 2017-2021, when 1,193 were filed during that period (Toronto came first in this category with 5,085 and Mississauga was third with 968). 


Brampton had the second highest number of N12s filed between 2017-2021 and was seventh out of the cities with the most N13s filed between 2017-Aug 2023.

(Ontario Renoviction Report 2024/ACORN Canada)


The report calls for cities to take action to protect tenants from renovictions and demovictions, by introducing a Renoviction Bylaw and Rental Replacement Bylaw. 

The organization is calling for all Ontario cities to follow Hamilton and adopt a similar anti-renoviction bylaw to the one it passed. 

According to the report, Hamilton became the first city in the province “to pass a robust anti-renoviction bylaw based on the success of policy from New Westminster, BC,” in January of this year, which came after five years of campaigning by local ACORN members. It highlights how New Westminster saw renoviction cases “reduced from 333 to zero” and states “[t]his sets a strong precedent for other cities to follow.” 

Key elements of the Hamilton Renoviction Bylaw include the requirement for landlords to “apply for a city renovation licence within seven days of issuing an eviction notice to a tenant.” This licence comes with a fee of “$715 per unit, and $125 to renew annually.” The landlord is only permitted by the City to carry out an eviction and renovation on the condition that they have “already secured all building permits to complete the work” and provide “an engineer's report confirming vacancy is necessary.”

“The City of Hamilton has passed the province's first anti-renoviction bill and it is possible for cities to kind of take a look at what's going on with renovictions,” Burkart said. “There is a lot that can be done for tenants.”

Hamilton’s renoviction bylaw also requires the landlord to “make arrangements with any tenant who wants to return to their unit once the renovation is complete,” according to the report, by providing them with “temporary accommodations, comparable to their current unit and rental rate, or a rental top up.”

Post-renovation the landlord must adhere to the Residential Tenancies Act and give the tenant the option to “return to their unit at the same rate they were paying before the work was done,” and non-compliance with the bylaw can warrant a fine “up to $500 per unit per day, plus administrative fines that will be determined by council later.”

Burkart said what stuck out for her in the report was the data revealing the type of landlords who submitted N13 applications. It found that 22 percent “of all the N13 applications were filed by landlords registered as numbered companies,” after analyzing N13s filed between Jan 2022 to August 2023. 

“How does a tenant fight an eviction with a numbered company? You don't even know who your landlord is,” she said, explaining that when a tenant receives an N13, they do not have to vacate the unit after adjudication at the LTB but said the tenant is expected to notify the landlord in writing about their right to return and that this is not something the LTB would tell the tenant. She said this leaves it on the tenant to ensure the landlord has not rented out that former unit to someone else and to “figure out when that process is complete.”

“The method that exists now, it relies on the tenant solely being the advocate to make sure…the right to return is respected in that process, so this is where an anti-renoviction bylaw would be helpful at the municipal level.” 


According to the Renovictions Report, between 2017-2021, Brampton had a 25 percent increase in the number of N12 applications filed and a 230 percent increase in the number of N13 applications filed.

(Ontario Renoviction Report 2024/ACORN Canada)


The report states that many cities stalled or delayed their process of developing a rental replacement bylaw because of Bill 23, the PC government’s controversial housing legislation, citing Brampton as an example of a city that “had drafted a bylaw back in September 2021,” but “hasn’t moved forward” on it. 

Burkart said the organization would like the City of Brampton to pursue these measures. “We would love to have rental replacement bylaws, we would love to have an anti-rent renoviction bylaw. I think that would be helpful for tenants.” Regarding the city’s controversial pilot Residential Rental Licensing program, which is currently on temporary pause, she said Peel ACORN is hoping the City “also licenses all landlords, not just additional rental units (commonly located inside houses).”

The report asks cities to adopt a Rental Replacement Bylaw as a tool to protect affordable housing from being demolished.

“By mandating developers to ensure that the same number of affordable rentals are built (at minimum) and tenants are allowed back at the same rent after redevelopment, these bylaws ensure that affordable housing is not lost and low-to-moderate income renters are not rendered homeless.”  

ACORN is calling for cities in Ontario to pass rental replacement bylaws that ensure the tenant has the right to return, that the unit (if the former tenant does not return) “is kept affordable and offered to a renter who is in core housing need,” and that the replacement unit is “the same size and same rent,” the report states. These requests are based on Burnaby, BC’s Tenant Assistance Policy, and also ask that the replacement unit remains “at the same location to ensure that the tenant is not disconnected from their communities and workplaces.”

It also calls for the tenant to be offered an interim unit during the redevelopment as well as a rental top-up if there is a difference in rent, and “[o]ver and above what the RTA prescribes, the compensation should include moving costs and other additional costs the tenant will have to bear until such time the redevelopment is complete.” 

Burkart said making tenants aware of their rights is critical.

“I just think that it's important for cities to develop plans when tenants are being displaced from buildings,” Burkart said. “I think it has an effect on housing as a whole, particularly in Peel,” she said, highlighting how its shelter system is currently operating at almost 400 percent over capacity. “I just think it's really critical to protect housing and keep people in their units, to prevent rent gouging, to prevent displacement. It's super important.” 



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