Illegally deported? Alliance to End Homelessness in Ottawa takes tenant accounts to push for policy change

The idea is to quantify experiences shared anecdotally, such as inadequate housekeeping or frequent and disruptive landlord visits to a person’s home.

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From the nation’s capital in Niagara to North Bay, the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa is looking for individual tenants to share their experiences with illegal evictions, a phenomenon that the current state of the housing market is encouraging, according to the executive director of the Alliance.

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While the original plan for the “Report Your Renovation” initiative was to gather testimonials from local tenants, Kaite Burkholder Harris said they were forced to expand the reach across the province through stories from northern and rural communities, in addition to an obvious territory like the Greater Toronto Area.

The idea is to quantify experiences shared anecdotally, such as inadequate housekeeping or frequent and disruptive landlord visits to a person’s accommodation – “exerting that kind of real psychological stress on tenants to the point that they just leave because there isn’t a way within the law to effectively challenge these types of behaviors, ”said Burkholder Harris.

With housing prices soaring and future owners forced to continue renting instead, there is a market incentive to renovate homes and have lower paid tenant leave and new move-in at a higher price, those who lose their homes potentially face serious challenges securing an alternative place to live, said Burkholder Harris. Although homelessness was not usually the result of an illegal eviction, she said even local shelters reported seeing more people there because of such an experience.

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With the help of legal clinics and organizations like the Advocacy Center for Tenants Ontario, the Alliance created a survey that it is now circulating that collects information on respondents’ deportation experiences. Next year will see a provincial and municipal election in Ontario, “so we really want to bring this data back and use it to advocate for better housing policy and to make sure the law stops forcing tenants to pay. these problems because it’s ultimately a system failure, not an individual failure, ”said Burkholder Harris.

Although the president of the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization, John Dickie, bestows good intentions on them, he believes that some of the Alliance members “would be of the opinion that a tenant should never be evicted or not be evicted. should be forced to leave his home very, very rarely, when that is not the law.

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Legally, there are a number of situations where landlords can require tenants to move – major repairs or renovations, for example, or personal use of landlord or buyers – as well as requirements such as compensation that ensures protecting tenants, Dickie said.

As for landlords who might act in a way that is against the law, it is important that tenants stand up for their rights, he said. He sees no need to change the law to better protect the security of their tenure and instead pleads for better enforcement of those already listed.

“The more it makes it harder to operate as an owner, the less interested people are in operating as owners,” Dickie noted.

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