Nine MetCap buildings in Parkdale organize rent strike for May 1

April 18, 2017
Article Source
Inside Toronto

From an Inside Toronto article: For the past eight years, Taras Rakchaev has lived at 91 Jameson Avenue, a highrise building managed by MetCap Living, and has dealt with everything from rent increases to neglected unit repairs to an elevator that's been broken for the past three months.

Rakchaev, like many of the tenants living in any of the nine MetCap-run buildings in Parkdale, is fed up  and plans to hit the company "where it hurts" by getting tenants in all of its buildings to collectively go on rent strike as of May 1.

"I'm joining the rent strike because I'm sick of them not doing repairs to my unit and it's very frustrating," he said.

"I'm supportive and proud and glad that Parkdale is doing this. I'm a single  person, I work a minimum wage job, a lot of my neighbours are elderly, on welfare or are new immigrants and they can't afford this rent increase either, so I'm here to support them as well."

MetCap manages 19 apartment buildings in Parkdale and five are facing rent increases. Tenants are collectively demanding MetCap withdraw all pending Above Rent Guideline Increase (AGI) applications in Parkdale, stop the practice of applying for AGIs in Parkdale and resolve all outstanding maintenance repairs/issues.

Those buildings hit with the increase have undergone costly renovations, which tenants believe are unjustly being passed down to them.

MetCap Living CEO, Brent Merril, told The Villager "MetCap is doing everything legal and by the book. The residents are not following the laws or their lease, so we have a bit of a problem with that.

"I think we should all play by the book and we’ll have to go to the Landlord and Tenant Bureau to find out who's on the right side of the law, here," he continued.

After the strike comes into effect, landlords can issue an N4  Notice of Termination as of May 2  giving them 14  days  to pay their rent and if they do not the landlord can chose to take them to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction hearing. 

This is a crucial time for tenants participating in the strike, said Cole Webber, a community legal worker for Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) who's helping tenants get organized.

"MetCap needs to feel the pressure. We need hundreds of tenants on rent strike to cause MetCap to lose money in rent and force them into a position where they meet tenants' demands," said Webber.

"It's either that or spend tens of thousands of dollars more to try and evict hundreds of their tenants in one neighbourhood from their homes, and that won't look good on them."

To help the cause, PCLS is setting up a trust for tenants so they can place their rent money in a secure place to ensure it isn't spent and tenants can withdraw their money at any time if they feel comfortable.

Read more: Nine MetCap buildings in Parkdale organize rent strike for May 1