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FMTA Press Release: Mayoral Candidates Leave Toronto Tenants Defenseless

TORONTO - The Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA), along with other Toronto housing advocates are demanding more respect for tenants from Mayoral candidates in this municipal election.

Today, the FMTA released the results of a six-question survey that asked Mayoral and Council candidates for their vision for housing in the City of Toronto.

"We expected our mayoral candidates to make housing a top priority in a City with a 50% rental population, instead they have left Toronto's tenants defenseless," said Effie Vlachoyannacos, board chair of the FMTA. While there are some good ideas being considered by candidates, in the end, tenants are being abandoned to enforce the City's by-laws and hold landlords accountable on their own.

"What is most concerning from the results is that of the three leading Mayoral candidates, only one candidate supports landlord licensing, an enforcement program that is widely accepted by housing advocates and most council candidates who responded to our survey ," said Vlachoyannacos. "Tenants deserve more support, and landlords need to be held accountable for their actions and inactions, something that isn't happening effectively at this time with this system nor with what is being proposed by Ford or Smitherman. Enforcement of the laws needs to be stronger and more proactive, doing more than just giving bad landlords a slap on the wrist as is currently being done."

"We are disappointed in the complete lack of focus on Toronto's housing crisis on the part of most of the mayoral front runners," said Barbara Hurd, a community legal worker and member of Housing Action Now.

"Ford has said he will consider putting money into affordable housing if savings are found elsewhere, Smitherman has made vague statements supporting affordable housing through using city lands and rental subsidies, but Pantalone was the only candidate who has made a detailed commitment to 1,000 new units of affordable housing per year and increased supportive housing through the implementation of the Housing Opportunities Toronto 10 year housing action plan," continued Hurd. "The Mayoralty hopefuls need to make clear commitments to help the thousands of people in our City who are homeless, and the hundreds of thousands face unaffordable rents and poor housing."

In addition to seeking candidates' support for landlord licensing, questions also asked candidates to provide their strategies for dealing with bed bugs, evictions in Toronto Community Housing, by-law enforcement, waiting list and green housing initiatives.

For the full results of the survey, visit www.torontotenants.org.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations is a non-profit organization which advocates for better rights for Tenants. Founded in 1974, we are the oldest and largest Tenant Federation in Canada. The FMTA is comprised of affiliated Tenant Associations and of individual Members. We have over 3,000 members and continue to grow.

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Media Inquiries

Geordie Dent

Executive Director, Federation of Metro Tenants Associations

416-646-1772

October 14, 2010

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