Toronto is in the midst of a housing crisis. Too many people are struggling to find affordable, safe, and adequate housing. What little affordable rental housing we have is being eliminated by practices like renovictions and above guideline rent increases (AGIs). Because asking rents for empty units are so much higher than average rents, landlords are trying to remove longstanding tenants and exploit vacancy decontrol to increase their profits. Landlords are not hiding the fact that this is their strategy—when buildings are advertised to sellers, the gap between current rents and what rents would be if longstanding tenants are removed is highlighted.
RenovictionsTO is a volunteer-run project seeking to document renovictions and AGIs and give tenants the tools and information they need to organize and fight back against their landlords. We understand renovictions to include all cases where a landlord uses renovations to force or pressure tenants to move out of their homes—whether this is done via harassment and intimidation, offering buyouts, misleading tenants, giving tenants N13 notices, and/or via submitting a formal application to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Our housing crisis is not due to an inability to build adequate housing or even to a lack of empty rooms available in the city. Nor is it caused by too much regulation, despite what developers, business interests, and landlord-friendly politicians want you to believe. People lack the housing they need because as a society we have chosen to treat housing as something from which to profit, as a commodity to allocate based simply on the ability to pay, rather than on need. But we can choose to view housing differently—to treat housing, first and foremost, as a place for people to live. RenovictionsTO is inspired by efforts to document housing crises and support tenants in other cities, and by the tenants fighting for the right to housing and its decommodification right here in Toronto.
Thanks to the groups and individuals who have helped with this project.