Tenant Speakout at 3561 Eglinton Ave W — Stand Up to Slumlord New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation
Posted February 1, 2023
On Jan 31st, tenants at 3561 Eglinton Ave W, Weston ACORN members, and allies like YSW Tenant Union held a tenant speakout outside their building. Several tenants came out despite the freezing cold, harassment from building management, and the fact that it was the middle of a weekday so that they could share their stories on the megaphone at a time when building management was in the office to hear our chants!
Tenants spoke out against their landlord, New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation, whose greed, negligence, and corruption have detrimentally impacted tenants.
Several tenants reached out to ACORN about bizarre letters sent to them by their landlord, New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation. These letters claim the landlord is able to raise tenants’ rent WAY above the legal guideline for 2023 despite not having applied for any AGI. They claim that they can do this because they are a “registered nonprofit” — one tenant received a rent increase of around $400!
This is a clear example of a landlord using a loophole to wiggle out of Ontario’s rent control guidelines to the detriment of the tenants in the building. Tenants have also mentioned harassment and fear of illegal lockouts if they speak up about this issue, several tenants have received multiple N4 forms from their landlord, based on these ridiculous rent increases. It is completely unclear how this landlord is actually a nonprofit.
3561 Eglinton Ave W tenants are demanding that their landlord immediately withdraw the exorbitant rent increases they served tenants, stop harassing tenant organisers in the building, provide documentation of its nonprofit status, take urgent action to fix neglected work orders, and issue a public apology for the hardship they caused tenants.
Derrick Ferguson, a member of Weston ACORN and tenant in the building, is fed up with this mistreatment, and says, “We need to speak up for ourselves, this is fraud and robbery! They need to pay us back. The landlord does not treat us fairly at all.”
Derrick was actually cornered in the garage by the property manager when he complained about the latest rent increase. When he refused to speak with the property manager in the garage, New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation sent him a letter not only confirming they cornered him in a garage, but trying to single him out and intimidate him. He stood strong and spoke out about his experiences.
Heather Leich, an ACORN member, tenant in the building, and YSW Tenant Union executive board member, spoke about her experiences being targeted by building management immediately after forming a tenant association. “I thought if I was experiencing this, there’s got to be tenants that are experiencing these things as well.”
Sherry Rutter, an ACORN member, tenant in the building, and YSW Tenant Union leader, spoke about similar harassment from building management, who confronted her as she entered the building after the demonstration. “The harassment I just faced downstairs with them […] they were threatening me and being rude and condescending.”
Steph Wynt, an ACORN member and tenant in the building, spoke about how much her negative experience with New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation, including a prolonged fight to return to her home after an eviction attempt, has impacted her mental health. “I’ve been in this building about 15 years now […] I’ve literally been evicted, you don’t know how many times I’ve tried to fight these people for things that they’ve done to me.”
Other tenants also shared their stories and experiences renting with New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation.
Building management came out a few times during the demonstration to tell everyone that they were calling the cops on tenants for “trespassing” in front of their own homes and to take footage of tenant organizers. Several tenants pointed out that building management has a history of weaponizing the police and services like children’s aid against tenants who speak out.
If they want a photo so badly, they are welcome to the ones we took and shared on our social media accounts. You can follow Toronto ACORN on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok at the handle @torontoacorn. Tenants at New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation owned buildings are also encouraged to share their stories under the hashtag #newspadinaslumlord.
As for the cops, they arrived after the demonstrators had already left, presumably to go back to their homes that they were “trespassing” in front of.
Anyone who is concerned about the way that New Spadina Garment Industry Corporation is acting is welcome to contact the local city councillor, Frances Nunziata, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 416-338-0220.
You can also contact Toronto’s Housing Secretariat by phone at 416-392-4126 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.The City needs to be made aware that a “non-profit” landlord that is receiving municipal funding is treating tenants in this despicable way.
This is just a first step, and is not the end of the fight for justice for tenants at these buildings. Tenants are excited about the prospect of fighting for change and have already begun planning next steps to keep the pressure on.