Posted October 24, 2020
On Friday, ACORN members from East Hamilton gathered in front of 295 Melvin Avenue to speak about Hamilton ACORN’s housing platform and why they need landlord licensing now! Building Leader Shawn Lewis began the rally by welcoming members and going over Hamilton ACORN’s Defending our Homes housing platform. Member melvin resident Mike Burnet spoke about the progress Hamilton ACORN has made so far by having a property standard bylaw update last January.
Tenants at 295 Melvin Avenue have been living with pests, mold, lack of repairs and broken appliances. Tenants have been unable to contact building owners from Elite Property Management who have been ignoring Covid19 health recommendations for common area cleaning.
ACORN member Juan Balandra who is struggling to have pest issues addressed spoke to other members outside his building.
“I feel like I’m being ignored, I know this is bad for my health. I think we’re being punished because we are lower income earners. We’re being treated as second class citizens”
Hamilton ACORN’s Defending our Homes Campaign is Demanding:
1.Renoviction By-law and Landlord Licensing
The City of Hamilton should follow the lead of New Westminster and pass a Renoviction By-law and landlord licensing system.
- Doing so takes away the financial incentive landlords have to renovict tenants by requiring landlords to follow certain requirements failing which they can be fined by the city or even lose their license.
- Landlord Licensing also provides enforcement of the Standards of Maintenance by-law, ensuring that buildings remain in good condition.
2. Tenant Support & Tracking New Building Ownership
The City of Hamilton should take a proactive approach when it comes to informing tenants of their rights and provide resources for tenant groups to respond to AGIs and threats of displacement.
- The city should track when a rental building is sold (license transfers to a new landlord) and immediately initiate outreach to inform tenants of their rights and how the Renoviction By-law protects them.
- The city should expand and make permanent the Tenant Defence Fund by adding tenant outreach and education to its mandate as well as expanding the criteria for eligibility to include tenants at risk of displacement