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Archive for November, 2008

Many tenants in Beaches-East York have relayed frustrating experiences with ‘problem landlords’ and property managers when requesting needed repairs to their apartment or when they complain about poor building maintenance. Unresolved complaints for outstanding repairs and building maintenance issues seem to be the bane of the existence of many tenants in the City of Toronto. Although your rental agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord, some landlords and property managers do not comply with the regulations set out in the “RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT” 

Here is what tenants have been telling us:

  •   Absence of tenant associations – The most common concern is the challenges faced when attempting to establish a tenants association in order to help tenants resolve complaints and violations. Tenants tell us landlords do not encourage this activity and that landlords remove any notices related to organizing tenants from the communal notice board. The security guards are also instructed to remove any pamphlets and flyers related to this activity. It was suggested that since the security guards remove these while doing their rounds between 4:00 pm and midnight the tenants should deliver the flyers either after midnight or around 6:00 am and that flyers should be inserted carefully so that they are not visible from outside the doors. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 clearly states that: “It is an offence to try to prevent a tenant from forming a tenants’ association or taking part in one.”  
  • Violations by landlords and property managers – Tenants are confused by the longwinded process in place to resolve offences and/or violations committed by landlords. They feel helpless about the delaying tactics used by landlords when needed repairs are requested. (more…)
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The City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office has been involved in various housing initiatives to make life easier for renters in the GTA with low or modest incomes .  The initiatives include various strategies that would increase the supply of affordable rental housing and also provide opportunities for low-income renters to purchase a home.  Here are some examples of the City’s affordable housing initiatives:

1. Rental Housing
The City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Office has a project in place to increase the number of affordable rental units available to renters with modest incomes. This ‘affordable rental housing’ project consists of 35 rental buildings under development and as of September 2008 a total 6 were completed.  You can view a list of the ongoing building and (more…)

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Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department’s proposed auditing strategy was voted in (with some amendments) on Monday (10 November) by the City’s Executive Committee over the criticism and objections of tenants and advocacy groups such as The Federation of Metropolitan Tenants’ Association, The Parkdale Tenants’ Association, ACORN, The South Etobicoke Tenants Association, and the Parkdale Community Legal Services – Tenant’s Advocacy Division who wanted stronger, more tenant-focused regulation.

The new strategy will go into effect on December 1st, 2008. You can read the full recommendation, that the City’s Executive Commitee reviewed, here.

More later on what the new programme may mean to you and what you can do to help ensure that it is implemented well.

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So, today is the day that the Toronto’s Executive Committee will evaluate and vote on a proposal for a new Municipal Licensing and Standards strategy.

As noted in earlier posts, it looks as if they will approve an auditing plan proposed by the department.

From a tenant perspective (and examined in detail in earlier posts) this proposal is little more than a slightly enhanced version of the status quo.

In earlier posts, we mentioned a meeting that took place yesterday afternoon to show support for landlord licensing – the proposal initially being investigated by the City.

This meeting was well attended (with approximately 40 people present, albeit mostly members from the organizing group, ACORN) and drew a camera crew from Global TV and two newspaper reporters. Three city (more…)

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Toronto city councillor, Howard Moscoe has done a complete about turn from his former support for landlord licensing (as weakened as his version was) in favor of an even weaker auditing plan put forth by head of the City’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Department, Jim Hart.

The new auditing plan will be the only fleshed-out proposal to go before the Mayor’s Executive Committee for a vote on Monday, November 10th and if passed, as is likely with no other real proposals on the table, would take effect on Dec. 1st.

According to The Toronto Sun, the auditing scheme would be ‘operated by a team of 12 MLS officers with a background in building audits — will proactively inspect 176 rental (private and social housing) buildings (more…)

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