Parkdale tenants protest rent hikes
Codi Wilson, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, May 1, 2017 7:31AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 1, 2017 4:27PM EDT
Starting today, dozens of tenants living at MetCap buildings in Parkdale are expected to withhold their rent payments until their concerns about rental increases and the maintenance of their units are addressed.
On Sunday afternoon, several tenants attended a “rent strike” rally outside of the buildings, located on Tyndall and Jameson avenues.
The tenants called on MetCap, the company responsible for operating the buildings, to put a stop to the rent increases, which are said to be upwards of 9 per cent over three years. Protesters urged the company to carry out what they say are much-needed repairs to some of their units.
For buildings built before 1991, Ontario sets an annual cap on the allowable rent increases. MetCap, however, has applied to the Landlord and Tenant Board for special permission to raise the rent beyond the rates set by the provincial government.
“I had a cockroach in my coffee filter basket this morning,” Barb Livesay, a tenant of one of the buildings, told CTV News Toronto on Sunday.
“And I have mice and I have other issues of repair that need to be done in the apartment itself.”
Despite a risk of eviction, Cole Webber, the organizer of the rally, said tenants feel comfortable moving forward.
“Tenants have spent the last month educating each other about the law, their rights, the risks involved,” he noted.
In a statement emailed to CTV News Toronto Monday morning, MetCap President Brent Merrill said the company “intends to comply with the laws of the (province of Ontario) as it always does” and hopes that tenants “will do the same.”
“MetCap is a professional manager of residential property and we pride ourselves on the excellent service we provide to our residents,” Merrill’s statement read.
He went on to say that the rent increases have been approved by a “fair and impartial tribunal.”
Merrill added that the Landlord and Tenant Board is the “right forum to discuss these issues.”
“Every resident has the right to avail themselves of this excellent system for arbitrating such matters,” he concluded.