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CityNews: More than 100 east end low income residents facing $3K retroactive above guideline rent increase - ACORN Canada

CityNews: More than 100 east end low income residents facing $3K retroactive above guideline rent increase

Posted September 19, 2022

More than 100 low income tenants at an apartment building in Ottawa’s east end are being hit with a retroactive above guideline increase (AGI) on rent, despite residents’ claims that the property isn’t being well maintained.

Tenants at the Capital Towers at 1244 Donald Street were issued the retroactive increase by their landlord Q Residential, and is due on Thursday, Nov 1. The increase is from 2019, and also includes a rent hike for 2021, when the province ordered a rent freeze.

In a statement to CityNews, Q Residential says the AGI was implemented to cover the cost of balcony restoration work, which was deemed essential for safety reasons.

Residents say the increase comes amid several issues, ranging from bug infestations, structural damage, and some elevators remaining out of service.

Jean-Marc Ladouceur, Capital Towers Tenant Leader for the community group ACORN and war veteran, is among the residents concerned over the increase.

“I don’t have the money, I am now on disability because I had a stroke — I just don’t have the money to pay $3,000,” he explained.

He added several advertised amenities such as a community garden, gym and swimming pools have been closed off for years.

“We used to have pools, they still have a sauna but it hasn’t been opened in years,” he said. “They used to have the tennis court — the tennis courts were last used as a parking lot.”

He feels the closure of the pools are especially significant as he relied on the amenity for rehabilitation therapy following his stroke, adding the pools have been filled in with debris from past construction on the building.

However, the landlord claims the building’s amenities were closed to comply with provincial health mandates during the pandemic, and have since reopened.

Tenants are calling on Q Residential to hold a meeting with all residents of the building, complete the necessary repairs, and withdraw the AGI.

“[This is] so people don’t have to panic, because by Nov. 1, we have to pay that $3,000 or make a payment arrangement,” Ladouceur stated. “We want to eliminate that right away because people can’t afford it, we’re low income here.”

Q Residential said they are working with tenants to develop individualized payment plans for the increase, but ACORN claims there is virtually no payment plan available for residents.

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Article by Alex Goudge for CityNews