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Kitchener bylaw requires landlords to offer alternative housing during demolition

A for rent sign is displayed on a house in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick A for rent sign is displayed on a house in Ottawa on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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Kitchener city council has approved a new bylaw to protect tenants during redevelopment or demolition projects.

The Rental Replacement By-Law was passed during a council meeting on Monday night.

It requires landowners demolishing or converting six or more rental units to provide alternative housing or compensation to tenants.

Compensation could include a temporary offsite rental unit, waiving rent for a year, or paying tenants the equivalent of 10 months’ rent.

The city said replacement units would be required at affordable rental rates for at least ten years.

The bylaw includes apartment buildings, townhomes, semi-detached or single-detached homes, even if those units have not been subdivided into apartments.

However, rented condominiums, equity co-operatives, co-ownership properties, and designated and non-profit housing projects owned, operated, or managed by the Region of Waterloo are not included.

The bylaw won’t protect tenants, like those living at 250 Frederick Street, who are facing eviction through renovation.

The city said it doesn’t have the authority.

A staff report said evictions due to renovations are one of the most common forms of eviction within the city.

“Approximately 29 per cent of respondents to the city’s online eviction [survey] stated that they were evicted because their home was going to be renovated. They shared that they are struggling to find alternative affordable rental units,” the report said.

Another 35 per cent of respondents said they were evicted because a landlord’s family member wanted to move in to the rental unit.

The survey received approximately 130 responses.

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