ACORN Newsletter

Stay current with ACORN news and events by joining our mailing list. You will receive updates in your inbox every month.



CityNewsEverywhere : Calgary tenants speak out after ‘astronomical’ rent increases - ACORN Canada

CityNewsEverywhere : Calgary tenants speak out after ‘astronomical’ rent increases

Posted April 12, 2024

Residents in a Calgary apartment building are speaking out after they say a new property management group is increasing rents to unaffordable rates, driving tenants out in the process.

The group, Avenue Living, received $150 million from the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) in 2022 to retrofit buildings with green technology. Residents allege the company is double dipping with sky-high rental increases, but the company says the rent bumps are due to inflationary pressures.

“Last year was a $300 rent increase, and this year was a $500 rent increase,” says Andrew Hartley, a resident living in a southeast Calgary property managed by Avenue Living near Macleod Trail and Southland Drive.

“Rent has gone up by $1,000 a month, where am I going to get that?” asks fellow resident Katrina Tindall. “I am a senior on limited income.”

The CIB tells CityNews the federal funding has yet to be used, saying in part the crown corporation has “implemented requirements and assurances from rental building owners that the cost of building upgrades financed by CIB will not be used as a rationale to increase rent.”

But before the project even begins, residents feel they’ve been left with nowhere to go.

“It’s been sad for me, but it’s actually been sadder to find out that a lot of our elderly folks — this is going to be their last independent living,” says Hartley.
“We don’t have a voice,” says another resident Sandra McCrone. “No one’s hearing us, more and more people are afraid of being homeless.”

A spokesperson for Avenue Living, in a statement to CityNews, says the company has been faced with significantly increased operational costs due to inflation. The property management group says it feels for the impacted residents, but claims their renewal rates are aligned with the local market. Adding that, the federal funding has not been accessed, and the rent increases are not due to the green technology project.

“In our standard operations, we regularly conduct assessments at each building to identify upgrade requirements that prioritize resident safety and comfort,” reads a statement. “The costs of these improvements, like most things, are increasing so these costs are factored into rental fees.”

Residents say it’s not just the rent increase they’re frustrated with, they also say security and maintenance at the property has gone downhill.

Avenue Living also bought a building across the street. Residents there say it’s the same situation.

“Companies that are just egregiously taking advantage of people, there has to be some sort of cap,” says resident Cooper Laverdure. “Some type of responsibility and accountability to the people that they’re serving.”

Laverdure tells CityNews he’s lived in the building for several years and things weren’t as bad with the previous management group.

“Rents never went up by any extreme margin,” he says. “There was $10 here, $25 there, and then Avenue Living moved in. We only got a $350 increase.”

Article by Jillian Code for CityNewsEverywhere