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New report shows dramatic rise in 'renovictions' in Ottawa

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A new report shows a drastic rise in 'renovictions' in Ottawa and advocates are calling on the city to step in and stop it.

According to the latest Ontario 2024 Renoviction Report by ACORN, the number of N13s filed in Ottawa from 2021 to 2022 increased 545 per cent, while the number of N12s filed in Ottawa between 2017 and 2021 increased 160 per cent.

N13s are issued when the landlord wants to do massive renovations that require the unit to be vacant, demolished or converted for non-residential use. N12s are issued when the landlord, their family or caregiver wants to move back into the rental unit for at least one year or there is an agreement of purchase and sale of the unit.

"They may get monetary compensation but they will have lost their home often in a community they have lived in a long and at rents that they could afford so that's really what we are talking about the displacement of tenants," said Sylvia Chapman, with Ottawa Community Legal Services.

Renovations or demolitions can allow landlords to raise rents, which experts say disproportionally affects low-income and vulnerable populations.

Three years ago, Dustin Munro received an eviction notice to leave his Vanier apartment. His landlord wanted to renovate the six-unit building where he pays $600 a month.

"It made me upset because where can you find an affordable apartment?" said Munro. "Nobody should have to go through it."

Now, community and tenant union ACORN is calling on the city to pass an anti-renoviction bylaw.

"Things are getting worse and that really forces us to say 'Well, is this the type of country you want to live in?'" said Evan Bury, member of ACORN. "We have a housing crisis that is costing everybody in this city and in this province and the city has the capacity to act."

It would require landlords to provide tenants with temporary accommodations during the renovations and allow them to return to their units at the same rent, similar to a bylaw passed in Hamilton.

"We have to look at it from our bylaw point of view. It would help if the province backed us up," said Theresa Kavanagh, chair of Ottawa Community Housing.

As for Munro, eventually he was able to stay, but it didn't come without a fight.

"Even if I don't have to worry about it in the future why should other people have to go through it?" said Munro.

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