Advocates say new bill gives an unfair advantage to landlords over tenants

Advocates say new bill gives an unfair advantage to landlords over tenants
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TORONTO — Ontario tenants’ rights advocates are voicing concerns over a new bill they say will make it easier for landlords to obtain evictions once the COVID-19 crisis eases.

Several advocacy groups say Bill 184, also known as the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, would provide a number of new avenues for landlords to both evict and collect unpaid rent from current and past tenants.

The changes would apply retroactively to when the province first declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under current law, all disputes over evictions and rent in arrears must be heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The province said in March that hearings related to residential evictions would be halted until further notice due to restrictions related to the pandemic, and no new residential eviction orders would be issued during that time.

However, critics say the bill would, among other things, allow landlords to evict without a hearing if a tenant fails to fulfil a previously established repayment plan.

The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation says the change would have a particularly negative impact on vulnerable groups such as low-income families and newcomers.

The bill has passed second reading and was brought before a legislative committee this week.

A spokeswoman for the minister of municipal affairs and housing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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