Photo: Herongate Tenant Coalition (Twitter) @herongatetc

by Andy Crosby

Around 50 people rallied outside of the Landlord and Tenant Board office on Slater Street in Ottawa on July 6 to protest the Ontario government’s Bill 184.

Dubbed the “mass eviction bill” by opponents, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act was first introduced on March 12 and amended by the Standing Committee on Social Policy on July 6.

“Bill 184 will speed up evictions and force thousands of tenants across the province on the street during a pandemic,” Sam Hersh, local activist and organizer who attended the rally, told The Leveller.

Ottawa residents gather in front of the Landlord and Tenant Board on Slater Street to protest Bill 184. Photo: COVID-19 Rent Strike (Twitter) @CovidRent

Tenant rights advocates in Ottawa and Toronto argue that the Ford provincial government’s proposed changes to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) will hasten eviction orders against tenants pressured into rent repayment agreements by their landlords.

For Josh Hawley, a local tenant rights activist, while Bill 184 was a long-time in the making to deal with the LTB’s backlog crisis, the recent amendment takes direct aim at those affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Thousands in Ontario and beyond have struggled to pay rent due to further hardships faced during the pandemic, compounded by an affordable housing crisis with skyrocketing rents in many Canadian cities.

“This has to do with COVID-19, specifically to deal with rent arrears that have built up through the pandemic,” Hawley told the crowd assembled on Slater Street. “This is a direct target against working class people who have lost jobs, lost hours, and gotten sick.”

Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail spoke of her experience when Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) served her with an eviction notice. She refused to move and armed herself with national and international legal instruments on the rights of Indigenous peoples, and OCH withdrew their eviction application. “I refuse to move! This is my home,” she stated to cheers from supporters.

While most can agree that Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is backlogged, there is profound disagreement surrounding the functioning of the board as an arbiter of equal justice. Despite delays, landlords use the board effectively to evict tenants and apply for above-guideline-increases (AGI) to rent. In recent years, LTB data demonstrates that landlord applications for evictions and AGIs have increased, compared to applications filed by tenants, leading the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network to deem the LTB an “eviction factory.”

Opponents of Bill 184 argue that the legislation will serve to circumvent the LTB altogether, giving tenants little recourse in an already lopsided playing field.

Under the current legislation, disputes between landlords and tenants over rent arrears must be heard by the LTB. Bill 184 would allow landlords to bypass the LTB and offer tenants a rent repayment plan which, if the tenant refuses, or accepts and falls behind payments, would give grounds to evict. Tenants could then appeal to the LTB, which is fraught with problems and complexities that tenants without legal assistance are simply unable to navigate.

Moreover, the changes would apply retroactively to implicate those unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Landlords and the rental industry are applauding Bill 184, claiming that it brings relief to both tenants and landlords. Tenants will be entitled to further compensation for terminations related to family use, renoviction, and demoviction under the legislation, noted apartment industry lawyer John Dickie, although “terminations will still be allowed (which is good for landlords).”

On the other hand, Bill 184 will benefit landlords by clearing the LTB backlog and reduce the number of hearings normally required to evict tenants. It will also allow landlords to apply to claim costs incurred by “tenant misbehaviour” and others that will “fix the unfairness” for landlords regarding former tenants bringing forward claims, according to Dickie.

To the same tune, the Ford government claims that Bill 184 will help not harm tenants. They are banking (either naively or disingenuously) on the premise that landlords and tenants will cooperate to collaboratively develop rent repayment plans, ignoring the asymmetrical relationship that exists between building owners and renters. This is why hundreds are taking to the streets to attempt to disrupt the process.

Hundreds rallied at Queen’s Park in Toronto on July 6 to protest Bill 184 before marching to mayor John Tory’s residence in a condo building on Bedford Road. The crowd gathered to deliver Tory a mock N7 eviction notice, citing negligence in protecting tenants from eviction during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Demonstrators descend on Mayor Tory’s condo building in Toronto on July 6 protest. Photo: Neal Rockwell

The N7 notice cites a closed-door meeting Tory had with landlords on March 23 where Tory initially had promised to secure relief for tenants but left the meeting empty-handed, as well as a June 30 city council vote against an amendment that would have called on the Ontario government to ban evictions for rent unpaid during the pandemic.

A demonstrator displays a mock N7 eviction notice address to Toronto mayor John Tory. Photo: Markham and Eglinton Unite! (Twitter) @mneunite

At the entrance to Tory’s building the crowd faced off with police who deployed pepper spray and made arrests, although the protesters were successful in securing the release of those arrested without charge.

A Toronto Police Service spokesperson told the CBC News that pepper spray was not deployed, but photos later surfaced on Twitter revealing an officer spraying the crowd.

Heavy police presence outside Mayor Tory’s condo building in Toronto. Photo: Neal Rockwell

Torontonians pay some of the highest rents in the country and demonstrators fear that the facilitation of mass evictions under the new legislation will increase homelessness in the city, and that Tory and city council should take action.

Similarly, in Ottawa where rents are rising rapidly and the overall vacancy rate is decreasing, there is increased risk of homelessness and eviction. The Herongate neighbourhood is case-in-point, where hundreds of lower-income and racialized residents have been displaced under landlord Timbercreek Asset Management. Timbercreek has taken a wrecking ball to two large parcels of affordable townhomes in the neighbourhood, further depleting Ottawa’s affordable rental housing stock, with plans to knock down the hundreds of remaining townhomes in the coming years. Displaced tenants feel they are being replaced with a more affluent, white demographic.

Despite the precarious situation faced by many tenants across the province, the Ontario Superior Court amended its COVID-19 emergency court order on July 6 suspending the “eviction of residents from their homes… until the end of the calendar month in which the state of emergency declared.” Ontario’s state of emergency is set to expire on July 15, although the Ford government tabled a motion on July 8 to extend it until July 24. Unless the state of emergency is further extended, evictions could commence as early as August 1.

22 Replies to “Ontario’s Bill 184 and COVID-19: Tenants fear mass evictions under new legislation”

  1. Land lord should.have the right to evict tanent who are working and collect the government money and have little.but nothing rent to pay.and refuse to.pay.these people are blood soccer to landlord bad examples to society. They should plans there lifes before they get old.

  2. Sorry to say I have tanent in my house that are working and have so much demand also receive the money from the government her son, boyfriend ,get the money from the government and refuse paying $896 per month for rent ,pay no water hidro gas and living free for the pass 4 month, should landlord put up with all these low class people. And give them free place to live when tanent can smoke drink buy marijuana feed there dog and dont consider the roof over there head. These tanent need to go. When lanlord
    contact Turn around trash the landlord. And put up fite The law need to give landlord the right to put out people like these without going to the board. These tanent are sitting down and study the rental law of how to abuse landlord, they should also pay back all the bill the land lord encounter to get them out of there place

  3. If the government continue to give tanent all the right to live free and stress landlord when the house price is high the property tax and all the other couses soon they will build more shelters for home less ,people are not going to rent there home. Or even try to invest in this country. .emegrant who come there and work to make this country better have these lazey canadians who dont waunt to work and pay Bill’s but try to ride the system

  4. This Bill is totally reprehensible and appalling. I thought Doug Ford was for the “little guy”. If so, where is it? This would have been a shining example to show he meant what he said. Instead, this callously indifferent government has shown once more that big business and the bottom line of the balance sheet are all that matters. My vote is one this government won’t be getting in the next provincial election.

  5. Tanent are protesting to live in rent house and dont pay rent the government dont buy the place the landlord does canadians should get off there hass and work for what they waunt dont wait for hand down by emegrant who work hard small the coffee it’s time for u people stop taking over people land and property we word hard for it. Respect the people who shelters u from the rain and sun pay your rent or kick the curves loose.

  6. Why aren’t NDP and Liberal Parties banning together to protect tenants from this by voting down Bill 184? One must wonder who’s side they are really on. Together they could stop the bill but behind closed doors they are making deals all on the backs of the middle class and the poor. I used to be proud to be Canadian but lately this country has fallen so far from grace that I feel shame.

  7. So as a landlord im assuming the pandemic is the culprit for tenants not being able to pay their rent and prior to that their was no backlog of applications for evictions .right ? When premier Ford indicated that no evictions during this pandemic I did’nt see any protests . . Why is it that if a landlord doesn’t follow their obligation under the RTA… the LTB can impose fines levies etc but when the tenant doesn’t pay rent (money owing ) or destroys the property its civil litigation with the onus on the landlord. Why is it that my bank can apply to take my home (rental property) back through a non government process for mortgage default ? .The tenants obligations are small in comparison to the landlords obligations and no landlord would ever get into this business with aspirations of becoming a “slum lord” with the liabilities from the municipality and fire regulations criteria carrying enormous fines and possible criminal prosecution .. Its a complete biased system that was set up by the previous government that favors tenants and is forcing landlords to purge and the present government recognizes this and is aware that homelessness will only increase and will mirror ‘Seattle is Dying’ . If you want to protest anyone go to the source and the real problem. I cant give u a specific location or address to display your placards and signs but only dates and a political ideology. It is as follows (2003 to 2018… the liberal social safety net) destroying capitalism along with discipline and character which will pay 0 dividends in the future. . The working man pays the bills ..always has always will
    Thank you

  8. There are some bad landlords however I am a great landlord. I am told this often by my tenants.
    Last fall I issued a N4 to tenants who stopped paying rent. It took 6 months to get a court date. I finally received an eviction order but 4 days too late due to COVID. The freeloading tenants are still there. Almost one year I have not received ANY rent nor ANY help from the government. I am short about 16,000 and the losses continue till the Ontario Government puts an end to this nonsense.
    I for one believe Bill 184 is a step in the right direction. The LLTB needs to be fixed as it is one-sided in favour of disgusting tenants.

  9. A rental contract has responsibilities for both parties. When a tenant stops paying and still has a roof and utilities they are not honouring their contract. Simple. Our government has taken great care of people. 2000/ person per month if you are interrupted from your income. And can’t get EI. People in welfare and disability continue to get That income. Child tax credits also continue. I’m hard pressed to find valid reason to stop paying rent due to Covid. If the -Name the city – rents are unaffordable that’s a entirely different matter. Get roommates. Move. Most can’t afford a house (or rent) in Toronto. So We settle elsewhere. Many have tenants to share the costs. The bank owns the house. Whos neck is on the line if the mortgage isn’t paid? Grow up people.

  10. I echo the comments of Brian exactly; why are landlords asked to be parents? It is not the role of a landlord to finance the lives of tenants. Why does the bank (essentially the landlord’s landlord) not assume the same risk? Can I just choose to default my mortgage for a year before the bank takes it (and kindly returns me my equity)? Tenants have no equity because they invest NOTHING. Current rules allow tenant’s to claim they are in fear for their (or their loved one’s) lives, and avoid eviction, and become eligible for lease breaking. They are not required to furnish any proof, or even make an official (police) complaint. The landlord is not even allowed to enter their own premises during this period to show the unit to a new tenant, nor ask the tenant to provide photos etc or in anyway facilitate their replacement. If the landlord has to conduct repairs, cleaning etc. they could easily be out a few more months rent. Will the bank sit by nicely and nod their heads in understanding?

    The rules are heavily biased towards the tenants. If the LTB (essentially a rubber-stamper for tenant motions) wants to act fairly, THEY should assume the risks. During any dispute, let them foot the bill. Pay the landlord, pay for tenant’s needs, then settle the bill later after the hearing. Instead landlords are expected to foot the bills up front, with no prospect of full repayment, no interest, no penalties…

  11. My tenant sits in the basement all the time, smoking marihuana. He said he is employed, but I doubt it now.
    He fulled me with a bogus employment letter.
    The smoke and the bad smells fill my house. I’m chocking when I go to bed and when I wake up,, as the smoke and .
    the bad smell of baked marihuana fills the house. He pays his rent, but where is the money coming from?
    I’m a senior citizen and a widow.., I have several serious health issues, including cancer. I . I hired a lawyer who presented him with a N7, which was also filed at the LT Board. My niece is coming to Toronto to help me as I will start chemo. In September.
    I live in despair. I need help, please.

  12. My tenant hasn’t paid me a penny since April, knowing full well that she would not be evicted. Protecting tenants, nobody oppose this, but landlords are also citizens. They pay taxes out of rent. Shouldn’t landlords be also protected? Even if a tenant truly lost job during pandemic, it’s not the obligation of landlord to finance them. I am already 75. My family rely on my pension income and rental income for living. Without the rent, I still have to pay mortgage and property tax. If I default, the bank will ‘evict’ me. This system is completely unfair.

  13. I woke up everyday at 4am to make lunch for my elementary school kids and shovel the snow and left to work for 16 years to own the house from the landlord Bank. still paying mortgage. My tenant in basement never pay rent during lockdown talking about government rules that landlord can not evict them or do nothing covid is for everybody I still have to pay mortgage , My tenants are getting free money from government and trash the landlord for asking rent. No respect for roof on their head. shame on tenants like this. now I am overdue with 20,000 mortgage, single mom with 2 kids. . Bill 184 is price for my hard work to have a shelter for me and my kids. I certainly vote for Ford government.

  14. I am being evicted for another reason we than owing rent. But the landlord won’t reinstate my subsidized rent and have risen my rent to 1300 instead of the 152 percent did pay. I only make 1000 a month. I lived in Communist China for 4 years and I feel Canada is a using measures like a dictatorship.

  15. I don’t understand why they weren’t paying at least something in rent, CERB, was available to everyone, without proof, of working!..even if it’s a partial amount!..I’ve worked throughout the pandemic with ,reduced hours, spread my rent between paycheques to get by, were they hoping for a free ride?!

  16. I have a friend that came to this country 12 years ago. As a single mother she made ends meet and even bought a condo in Toronto to rent out and hopefully pass down to her kids one day. She had two international student that moved in 15 months ago into a luxury 2 bedroom unit. . After paying their rent on time for the first few months they became regularly late with their rental payment, sometimes 3 weeks late.. As of March they told my friend they don’t have to pay rent anymore because John Tory said they didn’t have to. These two international students that have applied for Canadian permanent residence have not paid rent for the months of May, June, July, August and have told my friend the landlord they are not going to pay rent. They told her to take them to court. My friend filed to evict these two back in March but do to COVID-19 nothing will happen for months to come. The 2 tenant also said they do not intend to provide a payment plan. Yes these are the type of people we want in Canada.
    My friend still has to pay condo fee, mortgage and property taxes. She said she’s very close to having to sell the condo which she has had for about 5 years because she can’t afford to pay to maintain 2 properties.
    Tenant advocate say the laws are tipped towards the landlord. I say bull shit!.
    John Tory was negligent when he came out and said tenants do not have to pay rent, which her tenants quoted So does that also mean everyone in Toronto doesn’t have to pay property taxes? The fact Tory did not retract that statement and advise tenants they had to pay their rent says a lot for someone I had respect for prior to his careless statement on rent payments.

  17. I have some observations:
    1. What government and local elected persons did when Land Lorded increased rent using law without any reasonability or morality?
    2. How come one tenant pays $800 (including all utilities) for one bed condo and another pays 1700 plus all utilities in same condo building? All staffs from landlord side just play a drama saying, “I know it is hard but no way”
    3. How house price went abnormally up ? What government did.
    4. How come minimum wage person buy a overpriced house when spouse does not work even?
    5. Government must give a home to every single citizen who lives this country over ten years and who has no home or condo with ownership.
    6. Why government people does not penalty for criminal minded people who are engaged with overpricing condo and home?
    7. Why government does not take action who are enjoying government money but does not like to work??

  18. The LTB has been closed since early April. I had a hearing date for early May for a tenant who was 2 months in arrears due to ” his rent being stolen: by his sister. Fortunately the tenant has been making efforts to pay the arrears and is currently less than 1/2 month behind. In the past 25 year as a small landlord, I have had issues with non paying tenants, to the tune of approximately $40,0000 and have been to the LTB on several occasions, but the process, which takes at least 3 and often 4 months from start to finish to evict a non paying tenant is absurd. I look at tenants who do not pay their rent as thieves who should be dealt with in the same fashion as a shoplifter, car thief, bank robber or employee who steals from their employer. Collecting arrears from a tenant on social assistance is impossible, as these kinds of benefits cannot be garnished. The LTA should have a provision allowing for the recovery or rent arrears from Social Services and income tax refunds.. If recovery of even $100 per month were possible, tenants wold think twice about using their social assistance payments for other than rent. There should also be a registry with the Provincial and Federal governments to allow landlords to recover rent arrears. Currently Federal and Provincial departments can recover their debts from Income Tax Refunds , GST credits and Provincial credits to satisfy their accounts. Rents should fall into the category of an essential service. Even if only 50% of rent arrears were recoverable, it would make tenants more responsible for the housing they have “stolen” from the landlord by not paying their rent.

  19. Tenants have all the rights so I found out when I gave my Tenants Notice to move because I had sold the house they were renting from me – it was the only way I could get rid of them. Professional Tenants is what my Lawyer called them, verbally abusive and bullying behaviour turned every meeting with them into a nightmare that was causing me to loose sleep and consider a Restraining Order.. These Tenants quit paying their rent when they were told that the house was most likely sold and when I gave them their N12. before the end of the next month. the writing was on the wall…. Written in this N12 form is a small paragraph basically giving the Tenants the choice of moving or not if they disagree with the Notice and leaving me, the Landlord the ONLY resource of applying to the LBT. The closing date of the Sale was Jan 2, 2020, I had applied to the LTB in November 2019 and given March 12 as a Court date. The LTB refused my Appeal for an earlier date with the Reason Given as the Sale of the House was not a good enough reason. Fast Forward this thru Covid to today. Yes the Tenants have been given their walking papers by the Courts, and finally Evictions are being processed again. Not only have they gotten away with 11 months of FREE Rent, in June it was confirmed that they were on Social Assistance this whole time and have received their Monthly Rent Allowance as they should – they just forgot the part of paying the Rent portion to the Landlord, I guess this explains the new 30″ and 50″ TV’s, the Organic Dog Food and new blow-up pool in the backyard., etc. Where as I had to keep paying my Mortgage, Taxes and Insurance, and Lawyers fees. They have displaced the Buyer of the house into scrambling to find anything he could find to live in, when Covid hit it was not easy and he is on his 3rd place to live ( a Motel) in less than a year. All because he bought a house in good faith that these Scammers have prevented him from moving into and enjoying.
    There are Good Landlords, and there are Bad ones….. and there are Good Tenants and there are Bad ones,
    As Sam said “Why am I required to become a Parent”.
    Grow Up, Pay for what are enjoying, Do Not Take what is not yours, Harm nothing and Leave the place you have lived a little bit better than when you moved in. That is my motto when I am a Tenant.

  20. The laws are fully backing tenants to suck the blood out of the landlords. For example a landlord must pay at least 1800 for a one bedroom den taxes mortgage and property maintenance but if a tenant pays 1650 and even doesn’t obey the 2% rent increase can not be kicked out they don’t pay rent increase and if you want to evict them you must pay compensation? why a senior must live on the street but can not kick out a tenant who receives more than 4000 government income? are the landlords robing or stealing money that they should freely give away to tenants? everyone works hard for their money and the government should not pit the onus on landlords or even large rental businesses to cover for government lack of providing shelter to its own citizens. with all the issues that landlords go through sooner or later tenants will be on the street because they deserve to be. i haven’t mentioned the stress and anxiety that tenants give to landlords and health problems that arise from it the government will not compensate landlords for that.

  21. Can landlords start a petition or champaign to raise our voice and protect what the government can not protect, we should start to protect our money and life essence because the down payment of a house is a life long saving money and hard work. if a tenant defaults on one month rent the eviction took place right away not 6 months down the road. Tory destroyed lives of many during the pandemic and still banks collected their mortgage has Tory paid may one 5 months mortgage?

  22. Bill 184 is Doug Ford’s quick solution to a broken system. It’s broken for both landlords and tenants. The old legislation was fine. It was atrociously underfunded, yes. But it gave adequate protections for landlords and tenants. There was recourse for both parties should any one of them act in bad faith. Had the government chosen to correct its deficiencies by adequately funding the landlord tenant board, it would have eliminated much of the grievances.
    LANDLORDS should really open their eyes and see what the conservative government has done here. Their priority is to keep the government spending down as much as they can, regardless of public service deficiencies. They’re not in this for *you*. The problems for landlords are not being corrected here; rather they’re being deferred. The Conservatives are experts at pulling wool over peoples eyes, and instigating conflict within the public. “Better to have the minions fight amongst themselves than have their collective wrath unleashed upon the government.” Anytime a landlord has a grievance (for the next couple years), the excuse is going to be “well bill 184 was just passed and we are in a transition period at the moment. So please bear with us.”
    This new legislation is a giant waste of time, but it serves the conservatives mandate…to act like they’re making changes while spending as little as possible to correct the needed staffing shortages at the LTB.
    No landlord should have to wait 7-8 months for an eviction. order. That should take no more than 30 days. The old system needed a shot of FUNDING to get the staffing levels needed to accomodate Ontario’s population needs. A change in law, with at best a few changes in parties’ responsibilities, doesnt address the underlying probs.
    Landlords that see this bill as a “win” will have a different opinion in a couple years. Rarely do people see beyond their immediate problems and think to future needs. Tenants, like me, need to stop crying for protection for all the deadbeat renters that are gaming the system. Those tenants are not representative of us, and we should stop making excuses for them or seeking protection from their eviction on the fear that we might someday be taken advantage of. Those people are keeping our rents sky high. similarly, landlords that have no business being landlords and are scraping by should not have purchased second or third properties to make an extra buck or two. If you can’t afford to be a landlord, stop hogging all the properties in Toronto which is pricing people like me out of home ownership.
    PS: Some of the people posting here need to proof-read their comments. Your spelling is atrocious and does little to help your argument. It takes real effort to be *that* bad at spelling when using a computer or mobile to post. Autocorrect and spell check are usually defaulted as ‘ON’. Do us a favour and don’t mess with the settings.

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