Rent Relief Now!
An eviction ban without rent relief does nothing to help tenants across Toronto who have lost income to the COVID-19 pandemic. It simply delays an inevitable wave of mass evictions.
This report combines economic and political analysis with firsthand accounts from exploited tenants to advocate a direct solution: full rent relief, paid for by Toronto’s most profitable landlords.
Our research shows that large landlords caused a crisis of affordable housing that was compounded by the pandemic. It also shows that landlords have more than enough capital to take responsibility and compensate tenants. We are calling on Tory and Ford to stop protecting landlords, and stand with exploited tenants facing eviction.
Landlords caused this crisis before the pandemic
Decades of government deregulation have allowed wealthy investors to effectively monopolize rental property ownership through above-guideline rent increases and vacancy decontrol.
These landlords have minimized operating costs to maximize revenue at the expense of working class tenants’ health and quality of life.
Our governments have sided with the rich
An eviction ban without rent relief allows unpaid rent to accumulate without compensating lost income. This strengthens the case for subsequent eviction.
Just like last time, this will end in a “blitz” where the LTB rapidly evicts thousands of tenants who lost income to the COVID pandemic.
Ford and Tory are delaying an inevitable and unprecedented homelessness crisis in the interest of lining landlords’ pockets.
Tenants need rent relief
Large landlords’ margins show they can absorb the cost of rent relief. Their refusal is a matter of political power, not financial solvency.
They are fighting to make sure the city protects landlords’ profits before it protects working tenants.
We demand that our governments stand up for working class people, and use their authority to make landlords pay for the crisis they created.
Our research supports the following policy demands:
1. Municipal and provincial governments must ensure forgiveness of ALL rent arrears in Ontario accumulated since April 1, 2020, and make sure evicted tenants are rehoused or financially compensated.
2. Large landlords (owning five or more properties) must absorb the cost of these arrears out of their already substantial profits. Landlords with less than five units can be made eligible for government subsidies.
Anything less will constitute an egregious and preventable failure to protect public health and safety on the part of our governments. Ford and Tory have the power. Tenants demand that they act now.
NO COVID EVICTIONS! RENT RELIEF NOW!
Noaman G. Ali, PhD
Noaman is an Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences
Faraz Shahidi, PhD
Faraz is a social epidemiologist whose research examines the nature and causes of health inequalities
Martine August, PhD
Martine is an Assistant Professor of Planning at the University of Waterloo
Yuly is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology at York University