Monday, 14 August 2017

Parkdale Rent Strike Ends in Victory!

An amazing example of tenant courage, pressure tactic actions and persistence has concluded with the gutsy Parkdale rent strikers declaring victory against a huge corporate landlord. 

For six months the tenants took on a system stacked against them, using a variety of innovative actions including withholding rent, protests in front of their apartment buildings and in the lobby of the landlord's head office, a "sit in" protest at the Landlord and Tenant Board office, online petitions and pressure on a pension fund with a stake in the property management company. 

The Parkdale tenants won the following concessions from their landlord:
  • A substantial reduction in the above-guideline rent increases at each building 
  • A program of additional rent relief for tenants in financial hardship
  • A program of maintenance and repair work in each building

Saturday, 5 August 2017

VICTORY! Tenant Action Overturns Air Conditioning Fee

The Park Vista Tenants’ Association was pleased to see CAPREIT withdraw plans to impose a seasonal fee of $125 per air conditioner on tenants.
Thanks to all the tenants who supported the Park Vista Tenants' Association as we challenged the landlord on this fee. 
Particular thanks to long-time tenant Patricia Steward, an articulate advocate against the new fee.
Kudos to the CBC and CTV for their coverage of this issue and Geordie Dent of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations for being a tireless champion for tenants.
Links to media coverage are below: 
Tenants at East York apartment building 'ecstatic' after landlord ditches air conditioning fees
East York Tenants Battle Over Air Conditioning
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/more/consumer-alert


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sweating About CAPREIT’s Air Conditioning Notice?

The Park Vista Tenants’ Association was disappointed to learn that CAPREIT is demanding that tenants remove their air conditioners or obtain permission to keep their air conditioner – but only if they pay a fee of $125 (per A/C unit).

According to the Landlord’s Self-Help Centre (a community clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario to serve small-scale landlords).
  • A landlord cannot charge extra when a tenant acquires an air conditioner unless it has been clearly specified in a written tenancy agreement that the tenant will pay extra if they chose to have an air conditioner. (http://landlordselfhelp.com/ufaqs/FAQ-873/)
Community Legal Education Ontario says:
  • Unless the rental agreement says they can't, most tenants have the right to use their own air conditioner, as long as they install it safely and don't damage the window or the rental unit
  • If electricity is already included in the rent, it's usually illegal for the landlord to charge for "extra" electricity used by a tenant's air conditioner.
  • But the landlord may be allowed to charge extra if the rental agreement makes it clear that electricity for an air conditioner is not included.
The Park Vista Tenants’ Association is continuing to look into this matter.

In the meantime, we suggest tenants carefully review their lease and not rush to sign any agreement or pay any fee if they don’t fully understand their rights under the lease and Ontario’s rental laws.

If you wish to get updates on this issue, please email your contact information (name, address, email & phone) to parkvista.tenantsassociation@gmail.com



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Park Vista Street Lawn Sale

The residents of 4 Park Vista have arranged a Street Lawn Sale

Saturday, June 10
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It's an opportunity to find items and meet neighbours

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Changes to Landlord Legislation Passed Today!

Ontario passed new legislation today that broadens rent control rules to cover more units, prevents landlords from charging above-guideline rent increases for rising utility bills and toughens the requirements for evictions from units for personal use by landlords. 

There are also other, more minor changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario praises the suite of new rules as the biggest positive change to tenants’ rights in over a decade.
The Rental Fairness Act, 2017 expands rent control to all private rental units, including those occupied on or after November 1, 1991. 
The legislation also introduces additional protections for tenants, including:
  • Enabling a standard lease to help both tenants and landlords know their rights and responsibilities, while reducing the number of disputes
  • Protecting tenants from eviction due to abuse of the "landlord's own use" provision
  • Ensuring landlords can't pursue former tenants for unauthorized charges
  • Prohibiting above-guideline rent increases in buildings where elevator maintenance orders have not been addressed
  • Removing above-guideline rent increases for utilities, to protect tenants from carbon costs and encourage landlords to make their buildings more energy efficient.
However, the new legislation does NOT eliminate all types of above-guideline increases.
Generally, a landlord can only increase a tenant's rent by a guideline amount set annually by the Ontario government. For 2017, the guideline rate is 1.5%. 
Landlords can continue to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for above-guideline rent increases under certain circumstances. There is no legal requirement under the Residential Tenancies’ Act for landlords to set aside a portion of the rent for major repairs. Ontario legislation allows landlords to claim certain major expenses through above-guideline increases
Landlords can also determine rent levels for new tenants. That means when a current tenant moves out, the landlord can increase the rent for the new tenant by an amount greater than the guideline increase.



You can learn more about new changes to rules affecting landlords by attending the Tenant Rights Info Session, Monday, May 29, 7 p.m. in the lobby of 8 Park Vista.



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Tougher New Rules for Toronto Landlords Approved

Toronto City Council approved new rules for landlords to help better inform and protect tenants, starting July 1, 2017.

Under the new requirements, landlords will have to:
  • Register with the city and provide information about the property owner and operator
  • Develop a system for tracking tenant requests for repairs
  • Respond to urgent tenant requests within 24 hours and non-urgent requests within 7 days
  • Provide information to tenants regarding planned or unplanned service disruptions, including disruption to heat, water, security, electricity, elevators (including nature of disruption, duration of disruption, units affected).
  • Provide information to tenants regarding major capital projects (including nature of project, duration of project, units affected).
  • Post emergency contact information 
  • Use a licensed or certified contractor where required by law for activities including but not limited to servicing heat, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing systems
  • Have a state of good repair capital plan (for elements including the roof, elevators, windows and mechanical systems) and make the plan available to tenants and prospective tenants upon request.

 For more information, see the stories at the following links:

Toronto Star: Toronto council approves new bylaw to protect tenants

CBC: City of Toronto approves new apartment bylaws to protect tenants

You can read what City Council voted on at the link below:

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Government Reviewing Rent Increase Rules

Time is Right to Improve Tenant Rights

After a flood of media stories about the rental housing crisis and the recent launch of a private member’s bill, there are hopeful signs that the provincial government will introduce new rules to better protect tenants.

Ontario Housing Minister Chris Ballard told the CBC, “It's absolutely unacceptable that renters are facing the pressure that they're facing today. So we'll be bringing forward legislation that expands on the rent controls that are currently in place." He didn’t specify details or the timing. For the full story, click here

The CBC story was one of many recent media stories about tenant issues. David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizen wrote an opinion piece stating that now that the Ontario government has brought forward a plan to lower electricity bills, the next target is rental control. For the full story, click here

MPP Peter Tabuns has introduced a private member’s bill that would eliminate a rent control exemption for units built after 1991. The Toronto Star praised the move, saying it should be supported by all parties. To read the editorial, click here

On March 24, the Globe and Mail had a story about how landlords are using evictions and rent hikes to bypass rent controls. The article also noted evictions for non-payment of rent are dropping, while landlord applications for above-guideline increases are soaring, with the largest growth of any type of application. For the full story, click here

The chief economist of CIBC is pushing for more rental properties, call Toronto “unaffordable.” For the full story, click here

You Can Keep Pressing for Changes

What can you do to help push for better rules for tenants?

·                  Sign the ACORN online petition  
·                  Add your name to the online petition to support the private member’s bill to remove the 1991 rent control exemption
·                  Contact MPP Arthur Potts at 416-690-1032 or apotts.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
·                 Attend the public tenant meeting Monday, March 27, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Bethany Baptist Church, 1041 Pape Ave. (at Cosburn)