The City of Hamilton is the first municipality in Ontario to implement controls to prevent renovictions. (University of Waterloo’s Brian Doucet wrote a good summary of the bylaw and explained its importance.)

In January, Hamilton City Council unanimously voted to implement a bylaw to require any landlord issuing an N13 eviction notice to obtain a licence from the City proving their renovations are necessary before removing existing tenants.

Hamilton’s bylaw is modelled upon the successful New Westminster B.C. bylaw that significantly “virtually eliminated renovictions,” preserving affordable market rental housing.

The New Westminster bylaw was challenged shortly after it was passed in 2019.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the bylaw, ruling B.C. municipalities can use their general powers to create bylaws in relation to landlord and tenant matters.

The Hamilton bylaw is carefully crafted to recognize the different legal framework of Ontario’s Municipal Act, and could face legal challenges. Opponents may argue that landlord-tenant matters are outside the jurisdiction of municipal powers.

Hamilton’s bylaw is structured to withstand legal challenges.

Other Ontario municipalities, including London, Ottawa, St. Catharines, and Toronto, are looking to follow Hamilton’s lead.

The question is: Will other municipalities sit on the sidelines if Hamilton’s bylaw faces a legal challenge, or will they help Hamilton cover its legal fees?

Addendum: In July 2021, the British Columbia government amended its Residential Tenancy Act to adopt the New Westminster anti-renoviction rules.

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Published: May 25, 2024
Last updated: May 25, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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