Ten­ants in Hamilton fight ‘ren­ovic­tions’

Ad­vo­cates point out other cities have rules to pre­vent big rent hikes


Ten­ant ad­vo­cates in Hamilton are press­ing the new coun­cil to bet­ter pro­tect ten­ants from “ren­ovic­tions.”

That refers to when land­lords force ten­ants to move out while they ren­o­vate build­ings. Hamilton ACORN wants the city to keep track of “ten­ant buy­outs,” when renters are of­fered cash in­cen­tives to leave so rents can be jacked af­ter ren­o­va­tions.

Chantel Pot­ter says ten­ants should be able to re­turn to units af­ter renos with­out break­ing leases or hav­ing to pay higher rents.

As more de­vel­op­ers in­vest in down­town Hamilton, ten­ants pro­tected by rent control are “in­creas­ingly” at “high risk” of “ren­ovic­tions,” Pot­ter said dur- ing a news con­fer­ence at city hall Thurs­day.

“ACORN is call­ing on the city to de­velop an anti-ren­ovic­tion pol­icy that adopts best prac­tices from other ju­ris­dic­tions.”

The renter-ad­vo­cates draw in­spi­ra­tion from Van­cou­ver city coun­cil, which passed a mo­tion Wed­nes­day to bet­ter pro­tect ten­ants.

The Hamilton ad­vo­cates also urged the city to stop in­ad­ver­tently up­root­ing ten­ants in crack­ing down on zon­ing vi­o­la­tions, to cre­ate a land­lord reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem, and to halt grant pro­grams for de­vel­op­ers who “ren­ovict” ten­ants.

Coun. Nrinder Nann, newly elected in Ward 3, said she would share the group’s rec­om­men­da­tions with the rest of coun­cil.

She said the city must es­tab­lish a “coura­geous” plan to im­prove hous­ing with “rental af­ford­abil­ity erod­ing.”

“We can­not af­ford to have any more res­i­dents dis­placed and join­ing those who are home­less.”

Nann said she planned to in­tro­duce a mo­tion to en­sure ten­ants are at the city’s rental hous­ing sub­com­mit­tee and their ex­pe­ri­ences are heard. She also said Hamilton’s rental mar­ket needs “reg­u­la­tion” and “in­vest­ment.”

Op­po­nents of li­cens­ing have said such a sys­tem would see land­lords pass on costs to ten­ants and force them out of the busi­ness.

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