Margaret Alluker’s backyard is overrun by tall blades of grass. The landlord used to mow the lawn, but she says that since she was handed an eviction notice, the maintenance work has all but stopped.
Alluker is among more than 100 families in Heron Gate, a neighbourhood in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, who were told in May that they need to leave their modest townhouses by the end of September.
“I had it in my mind that the eviction time is coming, and we don’t know … what will happen next,” Alluker told Al Jazeera earlier this month.
The mother of four said she hasn’t found a new house yet. Like many of her neighbours, she wants her landlord, mega-real estate firm Timbercreek Communities, to give her more time.
But more than anything, Alluker said she doesn’t want this situation to happen again.
“We need the support of the government, especially to force the laws on landlords and have more affordable housing,” said Alluker, who is also the secretary of the South Ottawa chapter of ACORN, a housing rights group active in low-income communities across Canada.
“We need a long-term plan, [so] that next time something like that won’t happen to any area of Ottawa.”
The ‘financialisation of housing’
Timbercreek announced plans in May to demolish about 150 units in Heron Gate, to make way for a massive development project in the neighbourhood. The company has followed the provincial laws that regulate tenant evictions.Â
In fact, it says it’s gone “beyond the requirements of the law in providing relocation assistance” to displaced residents by offering three month’s rent, as well as $1,530 ($2,000 Canadian) compensation and employing a relocation group to help tenants find other properties.
It also told Al Jazeera it “continues to maintain Heron Gate units and quickly respond to repair requests”.
First published at http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/news/heron-gate-testing-canadas-rights-based-approach-housing