Tenants work together, receive compensation after superintendents removed

A corporate landlord has agreed to pay $50,000 to a group of Parkdale tenants who accused the company of neglecting their apartments.

Last year, 35 tenants filed joint applications with the Landlord and Tenant Board alleging that their landlord, Akelius Canada Ltd., had reduced their services and substantially interfered with the enjoyment of their properties by removing on-site superintendents and replacing them with a tenant hotline.

The settlement involved tenants at four properties: 99 Tyndall Ave., 77 Spencer Ave., and 95 and 188 Jameson Ave. In their submissions to the board, the residents alleged that removal of the superintendents caused a litany of maintenance problems, including repair requests going unaddressed for months, irregular garbage pickup and an outbreak of pest infestations.

Cole Webber is a community legal worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services, the group that represented the tenants in the case. He said the settlement is proof that renters are at risk for having their rights violated if they don’t band together. “I think the point is that the tenants wouldn’t have gotten anything had they not organized in their buildings and brought the fight to Akelius,” he said.

Geordie Dent, the executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, described the settlement as “a shot across the bow” for Akelius, and said it was a warning to landlords that they can’t reduce services to tenants without compensating them.

The settlement works out to just over $1,428 for each participating tenant.

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