Tenants rally against ‘demoviction’ of apartments and call for rental protection in Brampton

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Published May 14, 2024 at 4:06 pm

affordable housing dead in brampton protest
Members of Peel ACORN are seen holding a protest at Brampton City Hall in this file photo.

Tenants and housing advocates are taking their frustrations to the streets saying a corporate landlord is working to evict tenants to make way for a new development in Brampton.

It’s the latest action from housing activists Peel ACORN who have been sounding the alarm about what they call the “demoviction” of tenants at 507 Balmoral Dr.

The building was purchased by Pulis Investment Group (also known as Lankin Investments) which filed development applications with the city in 2022 for the demolition of the property and construction of a new development.

And while the new development would add some 500 new rental units to the city, it would also lead to what ACORN calls a “mass tenant displacement” of residents living in the building’s 55 units.

Tenants and members of Peel ACORN will be at Brampton City Hall on Wednesday for a rally calling for an end to the “demoviction” of the building and for the city to introduce a rental replacement bylaw to protect existing affordable housing in the city.

“This has been my home for 43 years – where am I going to go?” long-time 507 Balmoral resident Ruth Garner told Insauga.com. A senior citizen with limited income, Garner said there “is nowhere in Brampton or surrounding areas that I can afford.”

Garner, tenants, and ACORN have repeatedly brought their concerns to Mayor Patrick Brown and members of the Brampton City Council, but she says efforts have been fruitless. Garner said she had high hopes and voted for Brown when he first ran for mayor, saying she thought “he’d be a better mayor than we had before” – a sentiment she no longer holds.

It was ACORN that first learned of the development application and notified tenants, and Garner said without the effort of advocates, tenants would be unaware that their homes were at risk. The owners have said they are exploring development plans that wouldn’t see the current building torn down.

The case of 507 Balmoral isn’t unique as a report from ACORN showed N13 evictions – issued by landlords who evict tenants to renovate or demolish a unit – are on the rise. Between 2017 and August 2023, 112 N13 or ‘renoviction’ notices were issued in Brampton, and 68 were issued in Mississauga.

“We are losing more affordable housing than the city can build,” ACORN leader Tanya Burkhart said in a statement. “If the apartments on Balmoral Drive are demolished, where will families go? We need to treat this housing crisis like the emergency it is – the city must take immediate action to protect affordable housing and ensure tenants aren’t priced out of their communities.”

On top of calling for an end to the demolition, ACORN is calling for a rental replacement bylaw to protect the existing supply of affordable housing units in Brampton.

Tenants and housing advocates will march on Brampton City Hall on Wednesday at 12 p.m. during the regular meeting of Brampton City Council.

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