Following a February 21, 2017 story which appeared in the CBC, involving CBC reporter Shannon Martin who was forced to couch serf after receiving a $950 rent increase- an unpleasant surprise courtesy a loophole tucked away in the Residential Tenancies Act, Ontario; similar stories from tenants from all walks of life began to pour in!
We know that buying in Toronto, with its sky-high house prices, is nearly impossible. Turns out landing an affordable apartment is also a veritable nightmare!
The law which exempts buildings built after November 1991 from rent control coupled with vacancy decontrol, has meant bidding wars and astronomical rents on condo rentals. Anyone on a fixed income, like a person on social assistance, is really feeling the pinch. Young people, eager to leave the parental home and start out on their own, are being pushed further and further away from Toronto’s downtown core- to the suburbs, fueling panic that Toronto is rapidly turning into an generational ghost town.
IN response to the incredible media coverage and amidst calls for reform to rent regulation rules in Ontario, NDP MP Peter Tabuns introduced a private members bill, to address the 1991 loophole which allows landlords to skirt rent regulation and which is largely responsible for a crisis in affordable housing in Toronto.
Here’s a round-up of the related news:
No fixed address: How I became a 32-year-old couch surfer
No Fixed Address: A first-time renter's guide to rental numbers in Toronto
Why Toronto's condo rental market is described as 'ridiculous'
No Fixed Address: These are your stories about renting struggles in Toronto
High rent could make Toronto a 'generational ghost town'
No Fixed Address: rental market for Torontonians on disability 'absolutely horrible'
Longtime tenant advocate and FMTA employee Howard Tessler passed away this morning.
Howard was an institution at the FMTA ‚Äì he worked here for over 20 years as a hotline counsellor, project manager and was ED for many difficult years. The FMTA wouldn’t exist today without his work and hundreds of thousands of tenants would not have been helped had it not been for his commitment to tenant rights in the City of Toronto.
The FMTA is deeply saddened by the loss of one of employees and one of the longest-serving and strongest tenant advocates in the City.
Howard's family is going to need to cover some costs for the funeral‚Ä¶for those wanting to send flowers we'd recommend instead sending donations if you are willing or able via an e-transfer to [email protected].
The FMTA’s catch phrase is “Together We Are Strong.” Today, with the loss of Howard, we are unfortunately a little weaker.
Residents of 87 Jameson in Parkdale are fiercely protesting both the state of disrepair of their building and concurrent exorbitant rent increases. Long time residents routinely go without heat, water and other vital services; contend with pest infestations including mice and bedbugs; struggle with barriers facing people needing mobility devices and a host of other issues. At the same time, building manager Metcap Living has applied to the Landlord and Tenant Board to raise the rent above the guideline, 3% more than the 1.5% increase allowed by the provincial government, to pay for capital repairs such as roofing, new boilers and fences on balconies.
As the neighbourhood rapidly gentrifies, this indicates a trend towards pushing out long-time tenants through a form of economic eviction by unreasonably raising the rents or waiting for a tenant to vacate their unit before making cosmetic improvements and subsequently jacking up the rent. By making it near impossible for low-income tenants to rent in a neighbourhood, it changes the very character of the neighbourhood.
Tenants at 87 Jameson are fighting back: taking to the streets to protest conditions at their building, formally challenging their Above Guideline Rent Increase at the Landlord and Tenant Board and some are withholding all or part of their rent as remonstration for the landlord’s neglect in effectively making indispensable repairs.
To follow this developing story in more detail, please visit:
Tenants at 87 Jameson Ave in Parkdale go on Rent Strike:
No Repairs, No Rent- Parkdale Residents Say they Won’t be Bullied into Paying More
Parkdale Tenants Take to the Street to Fight Rent Hike:
Parkdale Tenants on Rent Strike After Landlord Demands Rent Hike:
Denying someone housing in Toronto based on their country of origin, race and religion is illegal, tenant advocates say stories about discrimination in the rental market are all too common. It is possible for a tenant facing discrimination while looking for housing to file an application at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Renee Griffin, executive director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation says she receives regular calls from people who believe they’ve been discriminated against.
“It may be that they speak with an accent, it may be that when the landlord sees them they think that they’re not Canadian,” she said.
It’s long been a problem but Griffin said the lack of affordable housing and “landlord’s market” makes it worse.
Based on what Griffin sees, many don’t report these cases or drop out before completing the long and cumbersome process. Even when they do go to the tribunal, settled cases do not include a public ruling. Better tracking and monitoring of complaints is needed, she added.
Geordie Dent with the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations said landlord training, or “some kind of mandatory penalty” for landlords who break the law would help prevent this type of discrimination.
“We sadly see this kind of thing all the time,” he said.
“If you’re going to provide a place to live, you ought to, bare minimum, follow the law.”
To read about a man who was recently denied an apartment based on his religion and country of origin in Toronto, visit:
It's tough enough finding a decent place to rent in Toronto's red-hot housing market, but it's proving even harder for at least two millennials who say they've just been denied a condo rental because of their age. Both the Ontario Human Rights Code and Residential Tenancies Act makes it illegal for landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants based on their age.
They submitted an application which included a strong credit report and posted a combined income from full-time employment that came in slightly under $80,000.
Ryan Young, 23, and Nina Tesan, 22, are trying to move out of their respective parents' homes and start out on their own. Now, they've filed a complaint with Ontario's Human Rights Tribunal.
"It shows how bleak the housing market can be for millennials, as we do not have the level of income necessary to afford a house in the GTA and also seemingly cannot rent due to misguided perceptions that young people are irresponsible or destructive," Young told CBC Toronto.
To read more, visit:
The tightening of Toronto’s rental market, which has reached record-low vacancy rates, is being felt most acutely by the residents of newly built condos, which are exempt from rent controls. There is no yearly rent cap for properties built after 1991 because of a controversial exemption in the province’s Residential Tenancies Act that was designed to spur the development of rental properties. The law accomplished its goal but has drawn the ire of housing advocates who say it has created two classes of renters in Ontario: those who have rights and those who have none.
“You got a tier of renters that are covered under the law who are able to enforce their rights and get stable rent increases that they can try to navigate. And then you have this other tier that have no understanding of what their rents are going to be next year,” said Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations. “That second group? It’s growing and it’s going to keep growing.”
Recent data from Urbanation Inc., a consulting and market research firm that focuses on the GTA’s condo market, shows that average rents for condos rose 11.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016 over the same period a year earlier. In the city’s core, condos rented for an average of $2,134 a month in the last three months of 2016.
To read more, visit:
The Forest Park Circle Tenants Association represents tenants living at 1850 Rathburn and 4500 Ponytail Dr. in Mississauga. The Tenants Association was established by tenants frustrated with the state of disrepair in their buildings with complaints ranging from lack of air-conditioning and heating to malfunctioning elevators. As part of benefits associated with development in an adjoining lot (which most tenants are rather unhappy about), the tenants were nevertheless successful in negotiating a range of building improvements. The tenant association has a social media presence and holds regular meetings.
Visit the Forest Park Circle tenants Association website at:
The High Park Tenants Association is a volunteer tenant group that works on behalf of tenants to improve welfare, safety and quality of life. Created in the 1980s, it includes 10 buildings and 28 townhouses. Initially all were owned by the same entity; since there have been multiple owners including Vertica and Minto.
Their website lists the member buildings, along with providing a copy of their constitution, community news (development activities and AGI applications) and resources. Members can also sign up for an email newsletter.
To learn more, visit:
In a stunning victory for tenant advocates, Landlord Licensing has passed City Council.
Hundreds of tenants took part in consultations during the summer of 2016 which lead to recommendations passed by close votes on City Committees and City Council. Tenant advocates like the FMTA, Toronto ACORN, ACTO and Rent Logic having been working over 10 years to push for better maintenance standards for tenants and to force negligent landlords to do repairs. This month, City Council approved moving forward with many of those recommendations.
The proposed new regulatory system will provide more resources for maintenance enforcement, increase penalties for bad landlords and benefits for good ones through a Dinesafe-like rating program to separate good buildings from ones that are in a critical need of maintenance.
You can read more about Licensing here: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/14/city-council-toughens-rules-for-landlords.html