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Kitchener tenants get eviction notices, advocacy group says owner has done it before

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A tenant’s rights advocacy group is voicing its concern about evictions at a large Kitchener apartment building.

A new owner took over 250 Frederick St., a 17-storey building near Lancaster Street, in October 2023.

Almost four months later, residents are feeling uneasy.

“I heard that some tenants got eviction notices to move out,” said Maciej Deoniziak, who’s lived in the building for more than 16 years. “The reason is that [the owner] wants to renovate the units.”

More than 100 people live at 250 Frederick St.

“We are very afraid that the rent might go up,” Deoniziak added.

He said many of the residents are seniors.

“I’m retired, I’m on a pension. So I won’t be able to afford to live here anymore. Actually, nowhere, because the rent is skyrocketing everywhere.”

Tenants group reacts

Ryan Murdock works with the local branch of Acorn, a tenant’s rights advocacy group.

“What happened is that landlord bought this building and has now started a process of evicting tenants, delivering N-13 notices to select tenants,” he explained.

250 Frederick St. in Kitchener, Ont. (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)

Acorn alleges the new owner, a numbered company, has done this before in London.

Last year, tenants there protested their evictions from the Webster Street apartments.

“You force people out of their homes, their houses, just so that you can raise the rent and try to catch up to the so-called market value,” Murdock explained.

Some of the tenants at 250 Frederick St. are meeting with Acorn representatives this week to take a look at their options.

Call for action

Acorn is urging elected officials, from all levels of government, to step up.

“A lot of these issues have fallen on the municipalities who, in their own way, have failed to act and assume the responsibility that is there still,” said Murdock. “But the provincial government has also abdicated responsibility.”

Unless action is taken, Acorn believes this will happen again.

“Because if you already live in affordable housing and then people force you to move, where do you move?” Murdock said.

Acorn is calling for a landlord registry so tenants can easily identify who their landlord is and open up lines of communication.

CTV News attempted to find and contact a representative for the new owner but were not able to do so.

Rise of renovictions

A renoviction is when a landlord evicts their tenants, citing renovations as the reason. Whether they complete that work or not, the new tenants who move in end up paying a higher rental rate.

Renovictions have gotten more attention recently due to skyrocketing housing costs.

MORE: Tips for tenants experiencing a renoviction

On Jan. 17, Hamilton became the first Ontario municipality to implement an anti-renoviction bylaw.

Speaking to CTV News before the decision, Monica Ciriello, the director of licensing and bylaw services for the city, said it “would require all landlords city-wide to obtain a renovation license from the city prior to commencing any renovation work that requires an N-13 notice to be issued to a tenant.”

“We recognize, as a local government, we can’t prohibit a landlord from issuing an N-13, but we can use it as a starting point to obtain a municipal renovation license,” she added.

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