A tenant-led, neighbourhood wide campaign, including a rent strike, has resulted in victory for tenants in Parkdale.
This success story reflects a broader trend across Canada where tenants are organizing collectively to fight for safe and affordable housing. In some cases, tenants do not feel that conventional legal options yield results; other tenant groups organize within the system. Regardless, what has become abundantly clear is that by working together, tenants can effectively challenge the perceived power imbalance, particularly when dealing with a large, corporate landlord.
Often this is accomplished by forming a tenant association to fight for better living conditions within the building. It is not uncommon for tenant associations to collaborate with other associations across their neighbourhood or city to advance change.
Remember that the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario protects the right of tenants to organize and belong to a tenant association without threat of eviction, harassment or intimidation from a landlord.
If you and your neighbours are interested in establishing a Tenants Association, the FMTA can help! Please contact our Tenant Association organizer at 416-479-0750.
If you want to read the full article which appeared in Now Magazine, please visit:
With September and back-to-school season around the corner, here are some useful tips for first-time student renters. Remember that students can either get free legal help from a Community Legal clinic or call our tenant hotline at 416-921-9494!
Never Pay Rent in Cash!
The landlord must provide you their Full Name and Mailing Address
Don’t rent a room where you share the kitchen and/or bathroom with the landlord or the landlord’s children. You will have no protection under the law!
The landlord can’t evict you- just because they feel like it!
Rent is rent. Maintenance is maintenance. Don’t withhold rent if maintenance isn’t done
Damage deposits are illegal!
Write it down! Talking to your landlord is good, but having a paper trail is much better.
The landlord cannot tell you How to pay the rent.
Always pay your rent in full and on time. If you are late by a day or short a dollar, it leaves you open to the risk of an eviction.
Don’t sign a lease with other tenants. You might end up having to pay their share. Instead try and get your own lease.
Assign your lease if you are at the end of your lease term and don’t intend to return. The landlord cannot arbitrarily prevent you from doing this.
Take photos of your apartment before moving in and before moving out to document its condition. Remember to timestamp your pictures!
You can always read the full article that appeared in Now Magazine by visiting:
On April 20, 2017 The government of Ontario passed the Fair Housing Plan which sets out the following major protections for tenants:
1. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991.
This creates one system of rent control in Ontario and brings 100,000's of units under rent control. The FMTA has been working on ending the two-tiered system of rent control since our founding in 1977.
At the moment, this is the only provision to have taken effect, retroactively from April 20. This means that rent increases will be indexed to the provincial guideline which is 1.5% for 2017 and is going to be 1.8% for 2018.
Other provisions (outlined below) will hopefully come into effect by the end of the year. These include:
2. Developing a standard lease
This has been a main FMTA campaign since 2012 and will prevent a host of illegal charges and provisions for tenants throughout the Province.
3. Tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions
Our members in Toronto and allies around the Province in Ottawa, St. Catherines, Owen Sound, Thunder Bay and other municipalities have highlighted this as an issue of major importance with tenants facing constant abuse. We're excited to see provisions brought in to protect against 'bad faith' evictions.
4. Prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed
Reform to legislation that allows for Above Guideline Rent Increases is one of the most common demands we here from tenants in Toronto. We are happy to see landlords restricted from getting tenants to pay for improving their asset and are hopeful that other changes get brought in to further limit a landlords ability to pass these costs along to tenants while keeping high profits and claiming a tax reduction for the work that tenants pay for.
5. Actions to Increase Housing Supply
By far the most important need in the Province is increased supply of rental housing in general and affordable housing specifically. Many of the provisions today will help protect tenants in the short term, but the only way to tackle affordability in the long-term would be to increased supply of housing which would create more options for low-income tenants to afford. Any actions to increase supply are positive, but investment such as that which was done in the 1970's - 90's by the Federal Government is key.
To keep up-to-date on changes to the law or to get help with tenant questions, please visit our Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494. Also, please refer to our Q&A about the recent changes to the law, a vailable at:
Two key housing advocates have passed away recently - Bonnie Briggs and Nick Volk.
Bonnie was well know for founding the Toronto Homelessness memorial (The City only committed to officially tracking homeless deaths in 2017) in addition to her work with the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, the ODSP Action Group, ACORN, the Tiny Houses movement, and many other aghencies. She was a PARC amassador, a poet, a drummer and was a long standing member of Housing Action Now, a network of housing activists along with the FMTA.
Nick was also a part of HAN and a prominent advocate for more supportive housing for tenants in the City. He created Vincent Paul Family Homes Corporation, culminating in the opening of Gower Park Place in 1994, a 164-unit mixed-income housing development. Nick was also a tireless champion of both Habitat for Humanity and the families it served. Under Nick's leadership on the Board of Directors, Habitat Toronto significantly increased its capacity to build homes for more families.
There was rarely a housing or tenant meeting in Toronto that didn't involve these two advocates.
They will be missed, but their work and impact on the City will not be forgotten.
Tenants from the Parkdale neighbourhood say that they have won a number of concessions from their landlord at the conclusion of a Rent Strike that began May 1. The landlord, Metcap Living, has agreed to lower rent increases and provide a schedule for repairs. This victory came about due to the organizing efforts of the effected tenants.
For further news coverage, visit:
Parkdale Rent Strike Over Repairs, Above Guideline Rent Increases Ends with Tenants Declaring Victory:
Five Lessons for Tenants from the Successful Rent Strike:
Parkdale Tenants Declare Victory: End Strike Saying They’ve Won Deal with Landlord:
Tenants of an East York Apartment Building Extatic After Landlord Reverses Position on Illegal Airconditioning Fee
Residents of an East York building are delighted that their landlord has revised a decision to charge them an illegal air-conditioning fee. Following a CBC investigation, Capreit has informed tenants that the $125 air-conditioning charge for the summer does not have to be paid. Tenants who have already paid the charge will be issued a refund. Those who have removed their air conditioners in response to the demand for this fee, are able to reinstall them.
Geordie Dent, quoted in the CBC, refers to the air-conditioning fee as a “transfer of wealth.” He points out that thousands of similar letters (demanding illegal air-conditioning fees) are sent out to tenants every summer.
For more information about the legality of air-conditioning fees or to inquire if your building might be charging you an illegal air-conditioning fee, please call the Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494.
To read more about this story, visit:
Are Air-conditioning Fees for Renters the New Normal?
Tenants at East York Apartment Ecstatic After Landlord Ditches Air-conditioning Fees:
The Leaside Towers Tenant Association was established in 1980 and serves as the voice of tenants living at 85/95 Thorncliffe Park Drive. Volunteers organize events, provide resources and hold regular meetings to work to improve conditions in their buildings and to provide tenants an avenue to get involved.
For more resources and information about upcomning events, visit their website at:
Check out the FMTA's latest resource on navigating the Fire Prevention Office and Fire Safety laws for tenants.
Fire Doors, alarms, fire escapes, and extinguishers - it's all here.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire in the UK, many tenants have been curious about fire safety and the way to lodge complaints and get inspections.
Download the guide today here.
The Widdicombe Place Tenant Association was established To represent the tenants of Widdicombe Place in Etobicoke. The TA advocates for residents and also holds training and other social events for members while raising issues with Realstar Management.
For more information, please visit the Widdicombe Tenants Associaiton at:
The FMTA is looking for a Tenant Hotline Counsellor.
For more information please go to the area on our website devoted to job postings: https://torontotenants.org/jobs