The province says that Bill 184 protects both landlords and tenants. Here’s why both sides hate him

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Richmond Hill owner Valeria Burnazov says she’s on edge with a tenant who she says refuses to pay the rent.The tenant moved into his condo in the middle of the pandemic in May and, according to Burnazov, paid two weeks’ rent this month according to their May agreement, plus a security deposit – but didn’t pay a penny. since.

“It is literally a nightmare. I really can’t sleep. I have great anxiety, “she said, adding that she” spends thousands of dollars every month. ”

Currently, there is a moratorium on evictions in the province due to COVID-19. As a result, says Burnazov, his hands are tied. She hopes that Bill 184 could bring about positive changes in her favor.

The law, officially known as the Tenant Protection and Community Housing Strengthening Act, has passed second reading in Queen’s Park and is currently before a legislative committee. Prime Minister Doug Ford’s government has said that it “will strengthen protection for tenants and help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.”

“When rent is in arrears, we want to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to make repayment agreements – rather than resort to evictions,” said municipal and housing ministry spokesperson in an email. at CBC News.

But so far, the bill does not seem to have satisfied anyone on either side of the owner-tenant division. This has sparked strong protests from tenants and their supporters in recent days, while landlord advocates say the legislation does not go far enough to address their concerns.

What tenants’ advocates say

The bill has been dubbed the “eviction bill” by tenants’ advocates.

A key sticking point for them is that, while currently all disputes regarding evictions and overdue rents must be heard by the Landlord and Tenants Commission – some of which entail rent repayment plans – the bill would allow homeowners to bypass the commission and offer tenants. their own repayment plan.

However, a government official from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing explained in an email to the CBC that if an agreement is reached during this process, the agreement must always be submitted for approval to the Homeowners Commission. and tenants and, if approved, council would then issue a consent order.

A speaker addresses a crowd in Queen’s Park during a demonstration Monday against Bill 184, a law they say will speed up evictions. “Kill the eviction bill,” they chanted. (Angelina King / CBC)

Dania Majid, a lawyer with the Ontario Tenants’ Advocacy Center, says this new reimbursement process would be problematic, especially for tenants who are experiencing rent arrears due to the pandemic.

“They may find themselves forced by homeowners to enter repayment plans, unaffordable repayment plans, at the owner’s offices. ”

The ministry official explained that after the issuance of a consent order, a tenant has 30 days to appeal the order if they believe they have been pressured into the agreement. And, if a tenant is offered a reimbursement plan, they are still entitled to a hearing.

Cole Webber, a community legal worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services, says the bill would speed up the eviction process.

“First, by removing the right of tenants to raise tenants’ rights issues at a hearing if they have not given written notice in advance, and creating a situation where tenants fail to comply Under the terms of a repayment plan, the owner can get a quick eviction from the court without having to be heard, “he said.

« [It’s] prepare the ground for mass evictions of tenants who were unable to pay rent in full during the foreclosure of COVID-19. ”

What homeowners’ advocates say

Kayla Andrade, Founder of Ontario Landlords Watch and Vice-President of Boardwalk Property Management, says the bill does more for tenants than landlords, highlighting a proposed scale for illegal evictions which she says would force landlords to compensate tenants

Kayla Andrade says the bill would do more to protect tenants than landlords. (CBC)

As for the argument that the bill would facilitate the eviction of tenants because of the possibility of mediation without a hearing, Andrade said that landlords and tenants should accept this mediation. She says that if the two parties do not agree, they will still go to a hearing.

“We don’t see that it changes better by offering this before a hearing date,” she said.

“This could speed up the settlement process between landlords and tenants … thereby reducing the backlog, but again, if tenants abuse the system, they will experience the shortcomings of the new mediation framework through the bill 184 “

Moratorium on evictions may soon be lifted

A recent review of the provincial ordinance suspending all evictions indicates that it will only be in effect until the end of the calendar month in which the state of emergency ends, which could happen in July.

“It is frankly a horrible prospect that the evictions can begin as early as August 1,” said Webber, the legal assistant at Parkdale.

“And that the government continue to try to pass Bill 184, which would speed up this eviction process when it starts again, all in the context of mass unemployment, widespread hardship and, of course, of a global pandemic. “

Cole Webber, a community legal worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services, says the bill sets the stage for mass evictions in the near future. (CBC)

He called on Toronto mayor John Tory to “choose a side in this fight” and to order a municipal moratorium on evictions in Toronto.

Friday, when the mayor was asked about Monday’s protest against the bill, in which protesters marched to his condo, he said he understood the frustrations but was not responsible for the legislation.

Meanwhile, Burnazov hopes the bill will help homeowners whom she says are taken advantage of.

“Because right now, the process is a nightmare. It’s really hell, ”she said.

“It can ruin lives, the amount of money that homeowners spend each month. “

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