‘I have nowhere to go’: Brampton tenants fight back against loss of affordable units under threat of ‘demoviction’
(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer)

‘I have nowhere to go’: Brampton tenants fight back against loss of affordable units under threat of ‘demoviction’

David MacKay is 81-years-old and has lived at 507 Balmoral Drive for four years. 

He likes his current living space. He likes the community and being able to walk his dog with his neighbours. And he likes that he is able to afford his accommodation, where rent is slightly lower than other units currently on the market. 

“I love it here, it's amazing.” But MacKay and many other tenants who call 507 Balmoral Drive home, fear that might not be the case much longer.

The current owner, Lankin Investments (formerly Pulis Investments), has submitted an application to the City of Brampton to redevelop the site. 

A March 4, 2022 Development Pre-Application Consultation Request states Pulis Investments Group is “redeveloping the subject site with three (3) apartment buildings containing a total of 552 residential units…” and that “[t]o do so the existing building will need to be removed.” 

The existing building currently has approximately 55 units; many are rented by seniors and low-income residents.


An application to redevelop 507 Balmoral was submitted to the City of Brampton in 2022.

(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer)

MacKay said bad potholes in the parking lots are among the many signs of neglect that suggest the owner wants to “get rid of everybody and so they're just letting the building fall into disrepair.” He believes the landlord wants to force people to move out, then “double the price of the rent” afterward. 

He said he has not received any buyout offers or eviction notices. “There's actually very little contact with the property management company.”

“We're all in a state of ‘I wonder what’s happening next,’ you know?” 

In February, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) released a report highlighting how landlords are exploiting certain types of eviction notices—known as N12s or N13s—to get tenants out of their units, allowing them to hike up the rent. 

Landlords can issue an N12 if their family or caregiver wants to move into the unit for at least one year, or if there is an agreement on the purchase and sale of the rental unit and the purchaser’s family or caregiver wishes to move in. An N13 is used to remove a tenant to carry out significant renovations or to completely demolish a unit. It can also be issued if the landlord wants to convert the unit into a non-residential space.

Using information obtained through freedom of information requests, the report includes N12 and N13 data in cities in Ontario, and shows Brampton was seventh on a list of cities with the most N13s between 2017 and 2023, and second for the number of N12s between 2017-2021, only behind Toronto. 

“I have no doubt that I'm going to be in serious trouble,” MacKay said, if he is evicted for the redevelopment of the property. His current rent is “reasonable” but he fears applications on the planned new units will have criteria he will not qualify for. “I’m gonna be dead if this building [is] demolished. If they double or triple the rent, I haven’t got a chance.” 

Peel ACORN, the local branch of the national group, organized a rally on April 18th outside the building to oppose the demolition and to call for rent control on all buildings, vacancy control to stop rent hikes on vacant units and a ban on Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGIs).

The organizers and tenants held a mock funeral to mark “the death of affordable housing by corporate landlords.”



Rally-goers “mourned the death” of affordable housing in Brampton.

(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer)


Juan Khan, who has been living in the building for almost three years, said many people will be left with nowhere to go if the building is torn down. 

“I really love Canada, but I couldn't believe the city [does] not really care [about] us. If we move out, where [will] we live then?”

She questioned why the city would allow a building that is housing residents to be torn down. 

Lankin Investments did not respond to questions from The Pointer.


A draft public notice sign details a proposal to permit a mixed-use development consisting of three apartment buildings on the site.

(City of Brampton) 


Khan is worried about the outcome of the possible demolition and her possible displacement. “I don't want anything [to] change because everything's expensive…”. It is hard to find work as an immigrant, she said. Other expenses, such as groceries, will be unaffordable if the cost of her rent goes up. She hopes local council members will step in.


Peel Acorn wants municipalities to demand proof from property owners when they claim tenants have to be removed due to structural problems.

(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer) 


Ruth Garner is a senior who has lived at 507 Balmoral for 42 years. When she first moved in the building owners at the time kept it in “immaculate” condition. If residents had any problems they were addressed “within a day.” 

Now, “You can't get anybody on the phone…you leave messages, they never phone you back. You can't get anything done.” She also accused the City of Brampton of “not doing anything.”

At the rally, organizers shared that councillors Rod Power and Pat Fortini of Wards 7 and 8 were extended an invitation to come out and hear residents' concerns about potentially being displaced by the development proposal, but shared their disappointment when they did not attend.

Councillor Power told The Pointer in an email he was “never confirmed to be there as I had other commitments at the same time, and this was confirmed to the organizer well in advance of the rally.”

“I’ve met with ACORN previously along with residents and am currently working with all parties to find a path forward,” he said. “This development is in pre-consultation at this time with many factors to be addressed.”

A spokesperson for Councillor Fortini said he did not cancel his attendance at the event and had not committed to attending, having other community commitments that evening. The spokesperson also said he has offered to meet with the residents once the developer files a planning application to the City and he is able to review it.

Garner said she would not be able to afford the units that the company is seeking to build if they are anywhere on par with what is on the market now. “I don't know what we're supposed to do. I really, really don't,” she said, expressing her frustration with trying to get answers from the City. 

“I'm a senior citizen, I’m on a fixed income, I live by myself. I don't have that kind of money. There's no way…I would be able to move into one of their buildings. And they don't care. They really don't care as long as they get what they want.” She has no idea where she would go if her current housing is demolished. She accused members of council of not caring “about seniors” and criticized the lack of affordable housing they have made available for rent. “It's like nobody cares,” she said. 

She pointed her criticism at Brampton’s local elected officials. “They don't seem to care about the people that live in the building…they don't seem to want to talk to us and explain it to us: Why are you allowing these people to do this, and what are we supposed to do? How hard” is it to make elected officials understand “that you’re dealing with peoples’ lives and you don’t seem to care.” 

“It's like, are we going to have a home in six months, or are we gonna be on the street?” 

The application to redevelop the site is still being processed and a demolition of the existing building has not yet been approved. An opportunity for a public meeting is also expected.

“Brampton is losing affordable housing faster than it can be built,” Tanya Burkart, leader of Peel ACORN, told The Pointer in an email. She said the organization is demanding full rent control, including “a ban on above guideline rent increases, rent control on all buildings and vacancy control to protect affordable housing.”

“To combat renovictions and demovictions, we need anti-renoviction and rental replacement bylaws which will ensure that tenants are not displaced and affordable housing is not lost,” she stated. “The city of Brampton has the power to protect tenants and protect affordable housing through these bylaws. We just need the city to act and [prioritize] this issue.”


Leader of Peel ACORN, Tanya Burkart (in red hoodie) says the City of Brampton needs to adopt bylaws that can protect tenants from “renovictions” and “demovictions” including a rental replacement bylaw.

(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer) 


Cheryl Craig has lived in the building for 20 years and said it has been “tough” with the absence of a superintendent. Tenants take up a lot of the cleaning themselves due to the lack of upkeep.

“There's no housing here in Brampton,” she said. “They don't want to fix stuff. People have called in…to get things fixed, they don't fix it and it takes months for them to reply or to do anything.”  

Craig also spoke during a second rally held by ACORN outside Brampton City Hall on May 15th to protest the demolition, noting that a new system put in place to file tenant maintenance requests online has left many older tenants unable to get basic repairs in their units. 

She said the building is old with outdated infrastructure and that many of the seniors have a hard time when newer technology does not work, often cutting them off from communication.

Another resident, Ruth who did not want her full name used, has lived in the building for 52 years and told The Pointer that although her current unit is “very affordable”, as a single parent she has had trouble keeping up with rent on a single income, forcing her to work a part-time job on top of her full-time one for years, “just to make ends meet.” 

She is still working two jobs despite being past retirement age.

“What I'm concerned about is that Brampton has been sitting on this bylaw that they need to pass for affordable housing, and I don't know why they're not passing it since 2021.”

“We need to have them pass this bylaw that can help people like myself to live in affordable housing”. 

Even if the building does undergo demolition, she believes the landlord should be responsible for finding affordable housing and should “help us come back into the building” with affordable rental rates like the ones they have currently. 

She questioned where the tenants are supposed to go if the building is demolished and they lose what many of them consider affordable units. “It's a concern for me, ‘cause I have nowhere to go.”

She “wouldn't be able to afford rent for $2000, $2500, $3000,” and said for people in her circumstance, it is hard to get by. “In today’s world, I mean, how do people like myself survive?”


Brampton’s elected officials have neglected the demand for affordable housing.

(Hafsa Ahmed/The Pointer)


“We're not asking for much, just a roof over our head and some food on the table and to be able to pay our bills. And that's not a lot to ask for.”

“If you worked for 45 years, you want to be able to retire at some point and enjoy some of your life,” she said. “So I just hope that they can, you know, try to do a better job of that.”

Craig said the fight will be taken to City Hall. “I'm gonna stay here as long as I can, because that's what I can afford to do. We can't just go silently.”

“I should be able to live in affordable housing here in Brampton. I shouldn't have to be forced to move out of my house and to move to a different province because the affordable housing and the rent here is nuts,” she said.

She wants to see a bylaw that would force landlords who remove tenants for demolitions to find them another accommodation at an affordable rate. 

“That's my scare, are we gonna put our seniors out of this building on the street? Is that what these MPs, MPPs are telling us?” She said by not engaging with the tenants and their concerns, she feels it shows elected officials “don't care”.

“You don't care about the workers, you don't care about the people living in this area and ward and you…don't care about your seniors,” she said. 

The ACORN report calls for cities to protect affordable housing from being demolished by adopting a rental replacement bylaw. “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,” it states. 

It also demands they ensure the tenant has the right to return, and if they do not wish to return that the unit “is kept affordable and offered to a renter who is in core housing need…”. The replacement unit should be “the same size and same rent,” the report states. Tenants should be offered an interim unit during a rental property’s redevelopment and a rental top-up if there is a difference in rent. 

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 following years of advocacy by local ACORN members. This is a “strong precedent for other cities to follow,” the report advocates. New Westminster saw renoviction cases reduced from 333 to zero.


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