Inside Toronto: Scarborough tenants protest living conditions

Posted August 1, 2017

Dozens of tenants of a high-rise apartment in southwest Scarborough have had enough of what they claim are unsafe and substandard living conditions, and a landlord they say isn’t addressing their concerns.
 
 
On Saturday afternoon, about 60 residents of 30 Denton Ave. took part in protest - which at times – was heated.
 
Toronto ACORN, a community action group and tenant advocacy organization for low- and moderate-income families, organized the event.
 
During the protest, tenant Mohammed Rokonuzzaman along with several other volunteers collected signatures for a petition they’re sending to Realstar Management, which took over the building about 18 months ago.
 
Among other things, the letter demands the landlord provide residents with acceptable living conditions and meet with tenants at 30 Denton Ave. to resolve several issues including frequent elevator and water disruptions, lack of security response to frequent car and unit break-ins, threats of eviction, roaches, bed bugs, and other issues.
 
Rokonuzzaman called what’s happening at his apartment “systemic abuse” and believes management knows there are a lot of newcomers who live there and are fearful of speaking out.
 
Istiaqe Mamun, who has lived in the building for two years, said his vehicle was recently rear ended and broken into on the property.
 
Mamun, who pays $75 a month to park in the underground garage, said he told management about the situation but got what he claims was a “rude response” and said he was told there’s nothing they could do.
 
“I feel whenever there are problems they’re not listening. We’re not being heard,” said Mamun, who said overall the building lacks proper security.
 
Mamun said one of the things he’s most upset about is a $170 surcharge tenants are being required to pay for using an air conditioner.
 
Ten-year tenant Jeffrey Stern is also upset about the AC fee.
 
Stern said he’s also finding management hard to deal with.
 
“They’re pretty arrogant, very argumentative, and rude,” said Stern, who said he is concerned about the repercussions he may face for speaking out,
 
“It doesn’t make for a comfortable situation. This is my home.”
 
The building. is just steps from the Victoria Park subway station. Rent starts at $1375 for a one-bedroom unit.
 
The Scarborough Mirror reached out to Realstar Management and received the following email response from Mark Hales, Senior Vice President of Construction and Property Standards.
 
"The property is in compliance with all obligations to residents under the Residential Tenancy Act. Our management respects our residents and we value our relationship with each of them. We will continue to listen and respond appropriately on an individual basis.
 
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Article by Joanna Lavoie for the Scarborough Mirror