Fair Housing for Toronto Tenants

Toronto ACORN members have fought a multi-year campaign to improve rental apartment standards for tenants.

Press Release: ACORN Canada launches Centre for Tenant Organizing, new hub for tenant activism in Toronto.

ACORN Canada, a national membership organization of low and moderate income families, is announcing today the launch of new online hub of activism and organizing for Toronto tenants. 

The Centre for Tenant Organizing aims to be an online clearinghouse for tenant engagement – connecting tenants to organizing materials, campaign support & City services.  The launch is in response to demand from tenants across Toronto for resources to help them to unite their neighbours in campaigns and projects to win improved housing standards. 

The site was launched with a Vital Ideas grant from the Toronto Community Foundation. 

The site is available at: http://www.tenantorganizing.ca

Group protests rental conditions at St. Clarens Avenue Apartments

Tenants of a Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue area tower say they're suffering with rental conditions they are unable to live in.

A dozen residents of 730 St. Clarens Avenue Apartments rallied outside their building this week to bring attention to the issue. They claim they're dealing with poor maintenance, safety hazards and an insect infestation, including cockroaches and bedbugs.

Ana Dinar and her sister Mary Francisco began renting an apartment there in 2008 and said the longer they lived in the building, the more maintenance issues arose. Their shower ran continuously for months, they said.

"There's mold and mildew growing because of the constant running water," said Dinar at Wednesday's rally.

Fellow tenant Ahmed Rahman, who has lived at 730 St. Clarens for six years, said he waited for months to get his toilet repaired.

"Yes, it got fixed, but it took three months," said Rahman, who along with fellow tenants held signs that read, 'Honk for Better Housing.'

Heather Kilgour, the building's office manager, said she couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

"I don't know what people were trying to prove," she said. "We take care of our tenants. We do repairs. We fix what needs to be done."

Inside Toronto: ACORN Canada holds tenants rally, Dec. 30

Tenants of an East York highrise say they will rally Friday afternoon, Dec. 30, in front of their building.

Toronto ACORN, an advocacy group, is calling on the City of Toronto to force the owner to do repairs at 500 Dawes Road.

A fire in an elevator Dec. 8 injured two men working in the building, and Janet Davis, the local city councillor, met tenants of the building on Dec. 20 to discuss its condition and their rights.

In a release, ACORN, which is planning the rally for 2:15 p.m., said the owner "has a history of not doing repairs and of treating people poorly" and the city isn't responding to conditions in the building quickly enough.

An audit of the building completed Dec. 3 2008, found dozens of property standards defects but a city report this month found only five defects in the orders to the owner remain outstanding.

The owner, the report said, must still submit engineer's reports on the exterior and interior lighting, take a condition survey on concrete balcony floor slabs and repair the balconies, which "are not maintained in good repair"

The report also said walls in the parking garage "are not maintained free of holes, breaks or cracks."

Toronto Sun: Residents of east end building fed up

Talking about the cockroaches in her apartment makes at least one tenant of an east Toronto apartment building distraught.

There is also the inadequate heating, faulty appliances, defective toilets, mice, bedbugs and garbage piled high at the rear of the building, Lisa Hume said. But it is the cockroaches that keep her up at night with worry.

The scurrying roaches are so numerous when the lights are turned on in her 500 Dawes Rd. apartment that it sometimes appears as if the floor is moving, she said.

Hume was one of 40-or-so tenants of the building gathered in the lobby Friday to protest the landlord’s lack of upkeep of the low-rent apartment building, and the shoddy conditions they say they are living in.

After numerous visits from city standards, health and fire officials, tenants are now asking both the City and Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board to step in and help them.

Hume, who has been spearheading the tenants’ call for action along with a community activists Toronto ACORN, has consulted a law firm dealing in legal-aid cases.

Toronto tenants make livable housing an election issue

Tenant members of Toronto ACORN rallied outside of 1901 Weston Rd. with the hopes of making tenant issues a priority in the upcoming provincial election.

1901 Weston Rd., a building owned and maintained by Toronto Community Housing, is an example of the need to enforce both municipal and provincial apartment standards laws on all landlords - both private and public.  Many of the tenants of 1901 are seniors or have mobility issues and are forced to endure bedbug and cockroach infestations, unanswered work orders, bad elevators, high crime, and a recent flood that left dozens of tenants stranded without furniture or compensation.

Toronto ACORN has been fighting for a system of Landlord Licensing for 7 years that would include regular, pro-active inspections of apartment buildings, a Pass/Fail notification system, and a city administered escrow account.

The Grid: Jane & Finch residents rally for better housing conditions

Mold, roaches and bedbugs among the many grievances protested by community residents yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon, members of the non-profit organization ACORN [Canada] (The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, Canada) and tenants from the Jane and Finch community came together to raise awareness for “the right to liveable housing,” pushing for increased landlord accountability. “You need a licence to open a bar, but not to rent out housing,” an ACORN speaker explained. “That often leaves the question of accountability unanswered. We want to see more inspections and better maintenance of the buildings.”

Toronto Star: Crack down on ‘slum landlords,’ critics urge

It costs $1,100 a month to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the tower at 10 San Romanoway — but Glenice Edwards could do without the cockroaches.

Her city councillor agrees that bugs are a common problem in the Jane and Finch corridor — and that the city should act faster to force landlords to clean up their act.

Edwards is also worried the mould that grows out of the fan above her stove will harm the health of her young sons. She was once trapped in a broken elevator for 20 minutes on the way down from her 14th floor apartment.

But despite four years worth of complaints, the landlord of her 34-storey building “hasn’t done a thing,” she said.

“The roaches come and go,” she said. “It’s a mess. It’s a disaster.”

Edwards is part of the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, a group of 20,000 Torontonians, calling on the city to crack down on “slum landlords.”

While cockroaches, mould and broken elevators are common complaints in Edwards’ building, they are dealt with in a timely manner, said Eric Khan of RPMS property management services.

Toronto ACORN honoured with Vital Ideas award at Vital Toronto 2011

On June 22nd, 2011, Toronto ACORN was honoured for its receipt of a Vital Ideas grant awarded by the Toronto Community Foundation.  Vital Ideas recognizes Toronto's most high-impact organizations and supports their work to stabilize, expand, or replicate programs with successful track records.

The awards were distributed at the Toronto Community Foundation’s annual Vital Toronto event, recognizing the achievements of a remarkable group of people and organizations who are working to make Toronto an even better city. Vital Toronto was hosted by Matt Galloway at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio.


Tenants Take Action in North Toronto

30 Toronto ACORN members from rallied last week at 100 York Gate Blvd. to protest the state of disrepair in the high-rise and to build public support for the ongoing campaign for improved apartment inspections in the city.

Members held signs, chanted, and collected petitions from supportive onlookers in front of the building.  They were later joined by local City Councillor Anthony Perruzza who vowed to help Toronto ACORN and tenants across Toronto fight for more apartment inspections and serious crack-downs on landlords like that at 100 York Gate Blvd.

Joined by Councillor Perruzza members gave CityTV a tour of the building, showing ongoing poor maintenance and code violations in public areas as well as individual units.

 

City commits to improved tenant communication in Toronto

The city division responsible for inspecting and auditing Toronto's nearly 6,000 multi-unit apartment buildings has produced a new report suggesting significant recommendations to improve communication between city inspectors and tenants.

The recommendations come after 2 years of consultations with Toronto ACORN members concerned with a lack of accessible information available to tenants once their building had been inspected.  The recommendations put forth by Licensing and Standards staff signify a big step forward in ACORN members' ability to influence and work in conjunction with a major city department and its senior staff, and we are excited to continue to fight for apartment standards improvements.

 

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