ACORN's PRESS RELEASE: Doug Ford’s rent freeze legislation is full of loopholes that could worsen health and housing crisis.

Posted on September 17, 2020

The premier has introduced legislation that will freeze rents in 2021, but ACORN is concerned it could lead to more evictions unless it includes ‘vacancy control’, and freezes all above guideline increases (AGI’s) 

(Toronto, Ontario)  The Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act introduced today by Doug Ford will provide no relief to tenants in Ontario, who need support more than ever. A rent freeze full of loopholes for landlords to exploit could actually lead to more evictions, and higher rents, worsening the current health and housing crisis. The Conservative government is somehow able to freeze evictions for small businesses with this act, but not extend an eviction moratorium for hundreds of thousands of tenants that are deep in rent debt and at risk of losing their home.

ACORN President Marva Burnett says, ”The bill introduced today bans evictions for small business but has nothing for tenants. Unless Premier Ford freezes AGI’s and stops landlords from increasing the rent on vacant units, then he’s not actually freezing rent. Once again he’s saying one thing and doing the opposite.”

To speak to an ACORN spokesperson or low-income tenants, contact us at canadaacorn@acorncanada.org

At the start of the pandemic, Ford said, “I’ll be making sure I have their back – if they can’t pay rent, they aren’t going to be evicted.” Fast forward 4 months into the pandemic, and he has worsened tenant protections and sped up evictions. The housing crisis in Ontario has only worsened. Now the premier is proposing legislation that will freeze rents in 2021 - but this legislation could actually lead to more evictions and higher rents unless important loopholes are closed. ACORN has demonstrated at the Landlord Tenant Board, Queen’s Park, MPPs offices and organized online actions, petitions and ‘virtual protests’ with ‘phone blitzes’ - all with no response from the Provincial Government. ACORN members went to the Premier’s house on Tuesday to bring their demands that loopholes in the proposed rent freeze get closed. The Government has now closed one of the numerous loopholes pointed out by ACORN members by expanding the so-called rent freeze to all residential units, not just those built before November 2018. ACORN will be organizing more protests and actions to maintain pressure, and ensure the rent freeze includes a freeze on AGI’s, vacancy control, rent relief and an eviction moratorium.

ACORN is demanding the following:

  • New Housing Legislation to include a freeze on Above Guideline Rent Increases (AGIs)
  • New Housing Legislation to bring in Vacancy Control - so the rent for a new tenant of a rental unit cannot be more than the rent of the previous tenant (Amend SS113 - 115)
  • New Housing Legislation to include all apartments, including ones occupied after November 15th 2018 (Repeal s. 6.1 of the RTA)
  • Introduce a Rent Relief Program and reintroduce the Eviction Moratorium

A survey by ACORN Canada that examined the state of renters during the pandemic revealed that 15% of tenants said that they either got the Notice of Termination of Tenancy or were threatened for eviction due to non-payment of rent.

FRPO estimates that 10 percent of renters in the province who were unable to pay rent in April, this would mean 53,000 households or 130,000 people. Toronto Foundation estimates if just one in 20 ended up homeless, that would equate to 6,500 to 13,000 more people without a home.  

 

 

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