Posted November 14, 2019
A group of tenants staged a demonstration with Ottawa Acorn members outside the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) after lodging complaints over a rent hike at Timbercreek’s Sunset Heights apartment complex.
The increase, at 5.4 per cent above provincial guidelines, was later granted to the developer following an afternoon hearing at the LTB.
Tenant Penelope Xidous told the crowd gathered outside the Albert Street LTB office they would fight against the rent hike — an extra $50 per month for most residents — which tenants and Acorn members called a “hefty price to pay” despite issues and complaints compiled by tenants and filed at Wednesday’s hearing at the LTB.
Timbercreek’s application claimed capital expenditure costs for repairs that residents gathered at the demonstration said were mostly cosmetic, and listed a number of complaints while holding placards reading “Homes over Profit” and “Affordable Housing.”
“We’re not looking for a free ride,” Xidous said. “We understand it’s a business and all businesses have expenses but we’ve had a chance to look at Timbercreek’s supporting documents and we feel there are flaws in those documents.”
Xidous said tenants would have accepted a “fair” rent increase.
The demonstration comes at a time when issues surrounding affordable housing and the availability of rental units are gaining traction in the media and at city hall.
Ottawa Acorn [representative] said members will be advocating for a landlord registration bylaw as part of the Rental Accommodations Study to be heard at Friday’s scheduled meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee.
“A landlord registration bylaw, similar to Toronto’s RentSafe program, would allow the City to increase its staffing and do proactive inspections of rental properties to ensure that property standards violations are being addressed,” [she] said.
“The current complaint-based system, where tenants call 311 if their landlord doesn’t do repairs, is failing. Tenants often don’t know their rights, they’re scared of retaliation from their landlord, there are language barriers or people just don’t believe the system will work in their favour.”
[...] Acorn meanwhile has partnered with a group of lawyers and law students to organize rent abatement applications for qualifying tenants at Sunset Heights.
Article by Aedan Helmer for the Ottawa Citizen