Toronto Star: Peel ACORN calls for provincial rent control, amid calls to action for upgrades to Ardglen apartment building
Posted June 1, 2022
Posted June 1, 2022
The Peel chapter of ACORN is calling for the provincial government to introduce rent control, after holding a tenant action meeting for a group of residents on Ardglen Drive in Brampton.
On May 18, Tanya Burkart, a resident of 55 Ardglen Dr. and member of Peel ACORN, stood in the back parking lot of her building speaking to neighbours about the concerns they have regarding the building, as well as the status of renters in the province.
“This has been ongoing,” she said, of the maintenance and repairs needed since before the building was sold by Starlight Investments to Boardwalk REIT at the end of March. “Both companies are REITS (Real Estate Investment Trust).”
She said that the building is in need of upgrades, including accessibility measures, pest control, roof and flooring repairs, new windows and more.
“These buildings are in need of repair,” she said. “We just want them to expedite the process.”
She said that she wants to see lighting installed down laneways and for the back area close to the train tracks to be maintained.
“They purchased the property as an investment, and we want them to invest in the buildings,” Burkart said.
Boardwalk REIT is a Calgary-based company that purchased Ardglen Place in the spring. The company also recently purchased 148-unit apartment building in Canmore, Alta, adding to the mix of high, mid- and low-rise apartment buildings they own across Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta.
“Any new project requiring attention and care upon acquisition takes time,” said Ryan Hessel, principal area co-ordinator for Boardwalk REIT, explaining that the company wasn’t invited to the parking lot meeting but would have welcomed the opportunity to address concerns and answer questions. “Please note much of the work is already in progress while some will require further planning and proper co-ordination.”
He said that the company had undertaken thorough inspections of the building and has a list of jobs that need to be tackled.
Hessel said that residents were welcoming to staff and were looking forward to seeing the improvements and repairs.
“For work that is beyond our expertise, we rely on professional contractors such as plumbers, pest control technicians, electricians, roofers, landscapers and others,” Hessel said. “Pest control is already underway.”
He said there are associates across Boardwalk’s communities who ensure daily cleaning and maintenance and enable the company to deal with issues as they arise.
“We want all our residents to live in communities where they are happy and comfortable, so we dedicate our time and effort to ensure all residents at Ardglen Place feel proud of their home,” he said.
Aside from the specific concerns about Ardglen Place, Burkart said she wants to see the provincial rent control in place.
“There’s no protection for incoming tenants,” she said, asking for the province to bring in regulations that regulate rent increases from one tenant to the next.
She said that with online Landlord and Tenant Board hearings, those who aren’t good with technology are also struggling to be heard and represented.
She said it is very difficult for a tenant to navigate the system if they are facing issues rent increase that is above provincial guidelines or like at Ardglen Place, having trouble with maintenance issues.
“We need to stop the renoviction process,” she said, explaining that she would also like to see protections for Ontario renters in the event of landlords evicting them in order to carry out major renovations of properties and raising rental rates significantly afterwards.
Article by Alexandra Heck for the Toronto Star