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Renters will have new protections against so-called renovictions, Ontario’s housing minister said Wednesday.

Steve Clark said the government is proposing changes that include requiring landlords to give tenants a 60-day grace period to move back in once renovations are complete at the same rent they were paying before.

The requirement is one of several changes the government is proposing to help renters, Clark said at an announcement in London, Ont.

“When a tenant is required to vacate a unit to allow for renovations, landlords would be required to provide a report from a qualified person stating that the unit must be vacant to allow renovations to take place,” Clark said.

“Where a tenant has said they wish to move back in once renovations are complete, landlords would have to give the tenant written updates on the status of the renovation and when the unit is ready for occupancy.”

The province is also considering changes to standardize municipal rental replacement bylaws, he said.

Clark said he is proposing changes to double the maximum fines for offences to individuals to $100,000 and corporations to $500,000 who do not follow the law.

Critics have long called for rent control in the province, but the government has not said it will do so.

In addition, the province will beef up the beleaguered Landlord and Tenant Board tribunal system that deals with disputes.

Attorney General Doug Downey said the province will spend $6.5 million to appoint 40 additional adjudicators and five office staffers to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

He said the hirings will help the board operate more efficiently after seeing lengthy backlogs increase due to the pandemic.

“The new influx of resources and staffing will help the board schedule, hear and resolve active and future cases faster because Ontario’s citizens deserve better results,” Downey said.

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