Ming Pao News: Pro-landlord licensing tenant activists take to the streets - 租客怒吼 促房東須領牌 趁市長選戰開打 上街維權

 
Posted April 8, 2014
 
English translation follows
 
為低收入租戶爭取權益的全國性組織ACORN昨日舉行集會,希望藉已經拉開序幕的多市市長選舉大戰的機會,向候選人提出訴求, 其中包括希望新一屆的市長班子實施「房東許可證」(Landlord Licensing)政策,以保障租戶最基本的權益。
 
昨日的集會於多倫多東約克的500號Dawes Rd.的一棟出租柏文前舉行。
 
ACORN 主席Natalie Hundt告訴本報,多倫多出租柏文的住房條件實在很令人擔憂,雖然政府一再承諾改善,但在該機構多年的極力爭取下,得到的改善相對十分有限。「若租戶不及時交租,房東就會趕人,但房東不履行職責維修及清潔的義務,則沒有政策約束,這一點是極為不公平的。」她說。
 
對本次市長候選人的期待,Hundt則表示,該機構不會正式表示支持某位候選人,但對現任市長福特削減「出租柏文大廈」(MRAB)項目資金表示不滿,「現在的幾名熱門候選人當中,只有鄒至蕙曾有類似保護低收入者利益的政績。」
 
參加昨日集會的租戶,約克大學單親母親學生Anita Ewan表示,像她這樣敢站出來挑戰公理的租戶並不多,因為很多人都認為他們支付的租金很低,所以不好要求太多。「我最初也是這麼笨,因為我是受政府補助的對象,可是這是不是代表我們就沒有人權呢?在冬天最冷的時候停水22天,我和女兒都不知道是如何度過的。」
 
柏文內的居民過去一年向市府提出逾300宗投訴,但居住狀況仍不見改善。
 
記者隨後進入該大廈了解情況,看到大廈公共場合的清潔程度尚可接受,但其內的居民表示,管理人員是因為知道今天將舉行集會活動,才提前突擊清理,以免被捉到把柄。
 
剛搬進來一個月的Susan Bassett就已經遭受了停暖停水的情況,她的一居室單位月租為895元(包車位),但住房環境難以接受。「我搬進來的時候陽台上到處都是狗屎,室內到處都是刮痕,樓下的公共洗衣房內洗完的衣服比洗之前還要髒。」她抱怨說道。
 
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The national organization ACORN held a rally yesterday to fight for the rights of low-income tenants, kicking off a multi-city mayoral election war, the tenants put forward demands, including the hope that the new mayor's team implements the "landlord Permit" (Landlord Licensing) policies to safeguard the fundamental interests of tenants.
 
Yesterday's rally was held in Toronto East York at 500 Dawes Rd. 
 
ACORN Chairperson Natalie Hundt told the newspaper, the Toronto rental housing conditions are really worrying, though the government has repeatedly pledged to improve, but in the fight for the organization for many years, any improvement was relatively limited. "If the tenant does not pay rent on time, the landlord will evict people, but if the landlord does not fulfill the obligations of maintenance and cleaning duties, there is no policy constraints, it is extremely unfair," she said.
 
Looking forward to the upcoming election, Hundt said that the organization does not officially express their support for a candidate, but the incumbent mayor Ford has cut the MRAB program budget, and "now of several candidates, only Olivia Chow promises to protect the interests of low-income persons. "
 
One tenant participating in yesterday's rally, York University student Anita Ewan, single mother, said daring to stand up and challenge the tenants' lot is not easy, because a lot of people think they pay very low rent, so should not ask for much. "I spent the coldest time in winter without water for 22 days, my daughter and I did not know what to do. "
 
Residents within the city over the past year have raised more than 300 complaints, but still there is no improvement in living conditions.
 
Reporters then entered the building to understand the situation, seeing the cleanliness of the building is acceptable in public places, but the residents said management knew that today's rally would happen, and held a cleanup blitz in advance to avoid being caught.
 
After just moving in a month ago, Susan Bassett has suffered her water and heat being turned off, and her one-bedroom unit costs a monthly rent of $895, but the housing environment is difficult to accept. "When I moved to the balcony full of dog feces, scratches everywhere, a communal laundry room downstairs where washing clothes makes them even dirtier than before washing." she said.
 
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Article by Limin She for Ming Pao Daily News