Glen Henderson has already begun packing his long-term apartment. The 63-year-old took pictures down from the walls and packed Nick-Knox. His clothes went into the wardrobe box, and his kids have been helping clear other items for over a decade.
But those boxes can now be unpacked – and Henderson can be relieved.
He and his neighbors, who live in a Weston-area apartment, were asked to vacate their homes by December 31 as part of their building’s owners’ restoration plans. Henderson said those notices are now being revoked.
The decision – confirmed by Ryan Dolan, senior manager of real estate investment for 3Gen Development Group Inc. – comes amid public pressure from residents, the local tenants’ association and others to withdraw the notices. A star story this month.
“I prepare for the worst, and hope for the best,” Henderson said.
Leaving the Weston building meant losing an affordable place to live and easily accessing two key paths in his life – one for his job and the other for his grandchildren. He was not opposed to the renovations, but did not intend to leave his apartment for them to happen.
Tamina Hunt, 63, a neighbor, struggled with the idea of leaving the house where she had lived for 17 years. She said that even after losing her job temporarily during COVID-19, she still had to pay almost $ 1,000 in rent. Similarly her search for an affordable place was in vain.
Weeks ago, Dolan said his company was not trying to renovate an existing building, but to upgrade the ’50s apartment’s plumbing and electrical systems and remove asbestos.
Despite official notices, Dolan said December 31 was not a tough deadline. Many residents have already left, and 3Gen aims to find “comfortable” solutions with the rest. By the time it was decided to withdraw the notices, only three units were still occupied.
Henderson was at first skeptical and asked Dolan to put the pledge in writing, which he later did. But Hunt was on the moon: “I feel like I’ve lost 1,000-pounds on my shoulders.”
Reconstructions Dolan proposes to set up hotel rooms if their units need to be vacated at any time. Dolan declined to specifically confirm that he would try to keep tenants in the event of a “serious disruption”, but at present, his company does not have enough information to confirm specifics about its restoration plan and timeline.
“Their safety and their well-being is ultimately what we strive for, and we feel it happened right here,” he said.
Both Hunt and Henderson thanked him for the support he has received in recent weeks; Without it, Henderson would not believe their case would reach the same conclusion.
Housing Advocate Philip Zigman said the Weston case had a positive outcome, but it also settled how it was gathering information about displaced tenants for renovations. They were given N13 notices – tenants saying they wanted to end the lease for their landlord demolition, repairs or renovations – but the L2s did not follow them, which were dismissal applications to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
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As Previously Star reported, LTB data shows a 149 percent increase in Toronto landlords applying for renovations between 2015 and the end of 2018. Scott Leon, a non-Wellesley Institute researcher, said the L2 application was filed along with N13 where it only contains data cases of LTBs focused on dismissals.
“The province, the city, they don’t know how big a problem this is,” Zigman said.
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