Long-standing resident Catherine Ostrander has been served an eviction notice from the Webster Street Apartments. A steadfast tenant of the building for the past 23 years at 1280 Webster St., Ostrander expressed, “I like my apartment, and I really don’t want to move.”
The eviction notice, which arrived last week, was accompanied by N9 and N13 forms. It stated that renovations were imminent, and due to health and safety reasons, Ostrander and others would be compelled to vacate. Similar notices were distributed to some of the establishments other residents in late April.
Interestingly, many of the apartment occupants are within the age range of 80 to 90 years old. One of the earliest recipients of the eviction notice, Aaron Dell, said, “Ten more people from this building, 10 more people from that building. So they’re going to keep continuing to evict people.”
ACORN London, an advocacy organization for financially challenged renters, coined the term “reno-viction” for these scenarios, suggesting that these evictions are becoming more frequent across Canada in recent times. Jordan Smith, a leader of the group, previously expressed his frustration saying that, “The housing market is going out of control, and there is no one guarding the gates as far as protecting tenants’ rights.”
Smith further states that landlords are neglecting regular maintenance, allowing problems to escalate to a point where eviction is justified under the pretext of renovation. This tactic is potentially beneficial for landlords as it paves the way for doubled rent and opens the possibility for tax incentives from the government.
Initially, the landlords also intended to hike the parking fees on the property. However, as one tenant put it, “they are picking their battles,” an indication that the move has been deferred.
The tenants who initially received the eviction notices were promised compensation between $3,000 and $5,000 if they left sooner, and those payments have now begun to arrive. However, some tenants still express their intention to resist the eviction. Tyler J., a residential, received a check for $3,000 as three months rent compensation, but quotes, “they know full well we had no intentions of moving.”
At present, the critical decision is around whether to cash the cheque or retain it. Some tenants assume there should be no ramifications for banking it since they consider the eviction notice illegal.
Contrarily, Tyler J. along with his mother, Michelle, have decided against cashing the cheque. They noted that some have either accepted the cash and left or chose to relocate to a renovated, more expensive flat.
Others like Michelle express how many have moved out because they are unsure of their rights and feel obligated to comply, assuming eviction is inevitable. Despite receiving an eviction notice four months ago, Aaron Dell remains firm on his stance of maintaining his tenancy, stating, “I’m staying. They can take me to court. I’m not leaving.”
Despite attempts to reach out to Webster Street Apartments for their side of the story, all calls led directly to voicemail with no returned response.