Tenants at Parkdale building on rent strike after landlord requests 5 per cent increase
Chris Fox and Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017 6:22PM EST
About 20 tenants at a Parkdale apartment building are refusing to pay rent in protest of a five per cent increase being sought by their landlord.
The tenants of the building, located at 87 Jameson Avenue, began the rent strike on Feb. 1 after landlord MetCap Living notified them that it would seek approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board to raise rents by five per cent.
The maximum allowable rent increase without approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board is 1.5 per cent and tenants say that the large increase is being sought while needed repairs go unaddressed. There are approximately 90 tenants living in the building at this time.
“I think they are trying to push away people. Maybe by neglecting some maintenance issues they are trying to push people out,” tenant Aliza Kassam told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday. “It is an eviction with another name and there is definitely a lot of anger. We are not going to step back.”
Tenants at the building have complained about faulty heating, problems with pest control and the lack of a wheelchair accessible entrance.
They are asking the landlord to abandon the rent increase until improvements are made.
“We feel like this is a fight against our community of Parkdale and we are all in this together,” Kassam said, noting that she has heard about similar issues at other buildings in the neighbourhood.
Diane Rajaren told CTV News Toronto that she’s lived in her one bedroom apartment at 87 Jameson Avenue for nearly 40 years.
She too has joined the effort to bring the repairs to the landlord’s attention and, for the first time, has refused to pay her rent this month.
“They don’t deserve it because they don’t do a good job,” she said. “If you’re paying rent, you deserve a better living.”
Rajaren said she’s been forced to duct tape part of her balcony door to keep cold air from creeping in. Though she says she’s contacted the landlord about getting it fixed, it hasn’t been. She said she often finds her water shut off as well.
Back in 2014, the property manager installed new balconies along the exterior after receiving a work order request from the city.
The property manager says that the rent increase is a necessary step to pay off current and future repair needs.
Though MetCap Living has not explicitly commented on the rent strike, CEO Brent Merill told CTV News Toronto in a statement that the rent increase will pay for repairs that have already been completed.
“I just want a fair return on the money I invested,” he said. “There is nothing that MetCap isn’t willing to fix. Please call the help line"
The Landlord and Tenant Board was expected to hear from residents who objected to the increase today, however the matter was set aside until March 1.