The evening of March 2, the remaining tenants in my building attended a tenants-only meeting hosted by the city. The owner of my apartment building has applied to tear it down and build condos.
My landlord tried to sneak in, and looked at me with a hurt face when I called him out. "But I live there too", he said. Except that the meeting was also our opportunity to report to the city about his illegal activities. Apparently the bookkeeping has been fudged excessively, and he has been overcharging all the other tenants for things not permitted by the Residential Tenancies Act. And demanding payments in cash, which don't end up recorded on the books. I felt bad anyway when the city organizers kicked him out.
Apparently the city does not like landlords who violate zoning laws, building codes, city work orders, and tenant's rights. They are imposing requirements on the building owner that are stricter than provincial requirements.
In the autumn, I will receive a notice from the landlord stating when I have to move out due to demolition. The earliest date for demolition will be January 2018. Along with the notice, I get three month's rent, plus moving costs (about $1500). The landlord initially wanted this payment to be "minus any fees owed to the landlord". After my city councillor heard about the illegal fees he had been charging, he told the city to require the money to be paid directly; if the landlord wanted to charge any extra fees, he could convince a court they were warranted. I can move out any time between receiving the notice and demolition, with only ten days notice, and still get full compensation.
Six months before the new condo tower complex is completed, the building owner will send me floor plans and offer to let me move into a newly-built unit for cheap rent. There's a complex formula that takes into account the differences in number of rooms and annual rent increases, but basically in 2021 I'll be able to move into a three-bedroom apartment for only $900 a month! According to the CBC, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto right now is $1800.
It has to meet certain size requirements, and have a kitchen, so the owner can't stick me in a storage locker. That price is locked in for 20 years, with a 1-3% annual increase per year based on provincial guidelines. And it will have air conditioning! And an elevator! And a laundry room with a window! And a balcony! And working heat! And working plumbing! PLUS the owner has to give me money to cover my expenses in moving back in!
I'm going to have to find a new home for three years. After that, I'll be able to rent a much nicer place than I have now, at a rent that is incredibly cheap by Toronto standards!