Update: evictions, deaths, and investigations at 168 and 170 Osgoode St.
IMAGE first reported on the eviction notice received by lowincome tenants in the rooming houses at 146-170 Osgoode St. in the October-November 2020 issue.
The eviction notice was sent in June 2020 and almost a year later the complaints of the six remaining tenants were heard at a meeting of the Landlord and Tenant Board. After negotiation, in May 2021 the tenants signed a lease guaranteeing them a unit at the existing rent. These units were to be repaired but not renovated.
It looked at the time like this settlement would solve the problem for the six remaining tenants. However, according to Josh Hawley, the tenants received a second eviction notice this past February and were offered a $15,000 buyout to leave. Hawley is a PhD student in sociology at Carleton University who is acting pro bono on behalf of the Osgoode Street tenants, as well as others in the city facing renovictions.
The tenants refused the buyout. Like their original objections and concerns related to the renoviction, tenants felt there were no rental accommodations in the city that would match the Osgoode Street rooming houses for price and walkable access to grocery stores and pharmacies.
In a statement about why they served this second eviction notice, the PR Team from Smart Living Properties said: “the property at 170 Osgoode Street requires serious repair and refurbishment and the City of Ottawa has ordered that it must be vacant before the work can be carried out.” These are building code violations. The City’s Building Code Services did not return calls for comment before deadline.
Since the first eviction notice was issued in 2020, four of the original tenants have died, two since signing of the lease. Because of these deaths and the absence of any significant repairs to the units, the tenants hired Accurate Buildings Inspection Inc. to conduct a safety inspection of 170 Osgoode St. Their August 2021 report lists over 100 safety violations.
A petition on Change.org was launched by tenants, calling for a coroner’s inquest into these deaths. “Since July 2020, four tenants have died at 168 and 170 Osgoode Street in the Sandy Hill neighbourhood of Ottawa,” states the petition description. “We are demanding a coroner’s investigation into the deaths at this rooming house and the potential of criminal neglect on the part of the landlord, 146 Osgoode Street Holdings Inc., which is led by Tamer Abaza and his company Smart Living Properties.”
Coroner Dr. Susan Tector confirmed to IMAGE that an investigation into the deaths on Osgoode Street is ongoing. Her report is not yet ready and when released, will only be available to tenants and family members of those who have died.
For the latest information on the situation at 146-170 Osgoode St., search “Tenants of 146-170 Osgoode St vs. Renovictions” on Facebook and look for their petition on Change.org.