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.