Inside Toronto: ACORN holds rent control rally at office of Scarborough MPP

Posted March 22, 2017

Don Hann says the rent at his two-bedroom Scarborough apartment was increased by five per cent in August.
 
“That’s too much, because I just retired in September,” he said. “I’m on a limited budget right now.”
 
Hann was among about two dozen protestors who gathered at Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter’s constituency office Tuesday afternoon to call on the province to “create real rent control by ending above the guideline rent increases, eliminating vacancy decontrol and closing the 1991 loophole."
 
Rent control only applies to units built before Nov. 1, 1991.
 
The protest was organized by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
 
Natalie Hundt, chair of ACORN Institute Canada, said rent prices are out of control in Toronto.
 
“We want to get rid of the above-the-guideline rent increases,” she said. “Instead of just doing proper maintenance and scheduled renovations that should be done anyways, (landlords are) letting things fall into a state of disrepair so that they can call it a capital expense and then file for above-the-guideline rent increases.”
 
Lia Candido, who lives in an apartment near Markham Road and Eglinton Avenue, said she’s taking part in the protest because she believes Toronto has a housing crisis.
 
“There are homeless men sleeping in my stairwells, apparently overnight for shelter, because it’s that bad,” she said. “It’s that severe, the crisis.”
 
The rally began outside, but then moved inside the provincial cabinet minister's office with protestors chanting, "Where is Mitzie?... Shame... Out with Mitzie... and Mitzie’s got to go.”
 
"Our government is committed to providing relief to renters, by expanding rent control, working with municipal partners to make existing secondary-self-contained residential units more readily available, empowering municipalities to use inclusionary zoning to require affordable units in new residential developments and by freezing the municipal property tax on apartment buildings in order to provide relief and better respond to renters' needs," Hunter told the Mirror in an email.
 
"Changes made by our government to the rules around Above Guideline Increases ensure that rent increases above the guideline are only approved when repairs and improvements to buildings are necessary to maintain health, housing and safety standards, or promote conservation, accessibility or security for tenants."
 
Hunter also noted the province will soon release a plan that will address unstable rental costs.
 
“Landlords are being allowed to put their costs back onto us when they repair their buildings. This is unfair,” Hundt told the crowd before they marched into Hunter’s office. “How can they ask us to keep paying for their own repairs, repairs that are making them money?”
 
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Article by Andrew Palamarchuk for Inside Toronto