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In recognition of International Tenants Day this year a public forum will be held to put the spotlight on repairs and maintenance standards.

The forum is being organized by several agencies including the FMTA, Toronto Acorn & University of Toronto.

While this forum will bring to the forefront the challenges tenants face in getting landlords to address repairs and maintenance issues it is also an opportunity to address other pressing rental issues that impact tenants.  Tenant participation in forums such as these is instrumental in ensuring that affordable and quality housing remain a basic human right.

Here are the details of this event:

Date: Thursday October 22nd, 2015
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Innis Town Hall – 2 Sussex Av (1 block south of St. George Subway)

Refer to this link for full details:  Tenant Fall 2015 (E)

NOTE – International Tenants Day is an annual event coordinated by the Swedish-based International Union of Tenants. It aims to promote tenant rights around the world while creating awareness of tenant issues.

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We will have a federal election on October 19, 2015. The political leaders have aired their views and had debates on a variety of issues of concern to Canadians. Many families struggle to meet their monthly rent due to rising rental cost. Community housing is not an option for them as there is a huge backlog of applicants on waiting lists.  Moreover, most of the community housing buildings are in need of massive repairs and renovations. In light of the ongoing housing crisis, the lack of affordable housing and increase in homelessness should be more of a priority for all political parties and included in their platform.

The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) and the Right to Housing Coalition are joining groups and individuals across Canada in a national week of action to address the issue of affordable housing and homelessness. The Right to Housing Forum is part of a national week of action taking place September 23rd-30th.

The Federation of Metro Toronto Tenants Association (FMTA) has extended an invitation to attend the Right To Housing Forum that will take place in Toronto on September 30, 2015. The FMTA recognizes that there is an affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Canada and the government is doing little to fix it.  Affordable housing should be an election issue. You are invited to this Right to Housing Forum to talk about the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in the context of housing as a right.
This event will be held at Ryerson University Library Building, Room 72, 350 Victoria St., Toronto. TIME: 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Refer to this link to view the flyer for full details: https://righttohousing.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/votehousing4all_actoforum_flyer.pdf

For more information: http://righttohousing.wordpress.com/take-action
Use the hashtag #votehousing4all

NOTE:
Wheelchair accessible and ASL interpretation provided.
The forum will also be broadcast live online at http://acto.ca and http://righttohousing.wordpress.com
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/522951371188832

The Ontario government has set the 2016 Annual Rent Increase Guideline at 2.0%. The increase of 2.0% for 2016 is the maximum a landlord can raise a tenant’s rent without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

If the landlord intends to implement an Above Guideline Increase the landlord is required to abide by the regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board and file an application with Landlord and Tenant Board for an Above Guideline Increase. Refer to this link: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Brochures/Information%20about%20AGI%20Applications%20(EN)%20Revised_Bill140_June15_2015.pdf?b58864

This increase for 2016 applies to most sitting residential tenants. However, the guideline increase does not apply to new tenants. Rents charged to new tenants are at the discretion of the landlord.

The 2016 guideline increase takes effect from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016. Approximately 85% of private market tenants are will be covered by this recent guidelines increase. As noted above, landlords cannot increase rent for sitting tenants above the 2.0% guideline without seeking approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board. Refer to:2016_Rent_Increase

This 2016 guideline increase of 2.0% is higher than the 1.6% rent increase for 2015. It is based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation calculated monthly by Statistics Canada.

More detailed information on the 2016 Annual Rent Increased Guideline is available at the Municipal Affairs and Housing website: http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2015/06/2016-ontario-rent-increase-guideline.html

Landlords provide a variety of services to tenants in residential apartment buildings. One of the major services provided is ‘repairs and maintenance’. This particular service is defined in the lease document, which is a contractual agreement between the landlord and the tenant and is covered by the regulations of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

While a variety services are provided by landlords, the one most frequently used by tenants tends to be ‘repairs and maintenance’. These services are provided by onsite staff except in unusual situations where major repairs would have to be done by licensed tradespeople. Other necessary services such as lawn care and snow removal are provided in compliance with municipal standards and bylaws whereas services such as ‘laundry facilities’ are outsourced by the landlord.

The inclusion of ‘laundry facilities’ is an essential service for most tenants. Tenants in residential apartment buildings expect to have laundry equipment available on site. For several years there has been a trend for laundromat services to be outsourced to outside contractors, not managed by the landlord. The outsourcer/contractor is allocated a space to set up the laundry equipment and is responsible for collection of monies and maintenance of the equipment. This is where some bothersome issues have surfaced for tenants using the laundry facilities. The laundry facility is not free as the machines are equipped for coin collection.  Alas, these washers and dryers malfunction fairly frequently and tenants are unable to receive the services for which they have paid.

Posters in laundry rooms display contact information in the event a tenant encounters problems with the machines. Tenants can also report that loss of service to their property manager or superintendent to obtain refunds for the money lost. It should be a simple matter to obtain a refund. Yet some tenants are finding it challenging to be reimbursed for the money lost on malfunctioning washers and dryers when they follow up with the property management. Tenants’ requests for reimbursement of lost money are not always dealt with promptly.

There appears to be an issue related to accountability and oversight. The laundry equipment should be approved for continuous use in residential apartment buildings. It is not for occasional use hence there is more wear and tear to the equipment due to the large number of users. Tenants have to pay for the use of the washers and dryers. The laundry equipment provided to tenants should meet a required level of performance and not be faulty and sub-standard.

Dissatisfaction with the faulty laundry machines, loss of money, overcrowding and wait times has driven some tenants to purchase their own laundry equipment without the knowledge or approval of the landlord. As a result some landlords have notified tenants who wish to install laundry appliances that their rental cost will increase due to increased hydro/utility costs for the entire building. Landlords have also attempted to apply similar rules to those who install air conditioning appliances.

Ultimately those tenants who install laundry appliances or air conditioners without approval are being subsidized by the other tenants in the building who have not installed that type of equipment in their units. For those tenants dependent on the laundry facilities and have lost money the outstanding issue would be for the landlord to address the lack of accountability and oversight for the services provided by the outsourcer/contractor.

We would very much like to hear about experiences you have had with the laundry facilities in your building.

The FMTA 41st Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at 1:00 pm. The venue is the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) located at 252 Bloor St. West, Room 2212, Toronto ON M5S 1V6. (near St. George Subway)

All FMTA AGM’s include:
• Board and Staff Reports
• Presentation of the Audited Financial Statements
• Appointment of the Auditor
• Member motions
• Board Elections

2014/15 has seen the FMTA undertake a number of campaigns related to Above Guideline Rent Increases, rent control, landlord licensing, tenant representation and affordable housing. A Mayor’s debate was also held in October 2014.

Tenant Association Assembly
After the wrap-up of Annual General Meeting there will be a Tenant Association Assembly at 2:00 pm. The assembly will be a discussion dealing with issues that affect tenants in all of Ontario, including issues unique to FMTA’s tenant association members. FMTA members are encouraged to bring tenant issues to the discussion so that our position is strengthened when dealing with the politicians who make decisions on our behalf. The FMTA is exploring various plans of action to get the rights that tenants deserve. City Councillors have also been invited.

NOTE: All active members of the FMTA are welcome to attend the AGM, while all tenant advocates are able to attend the Tenant Association Assembly.

See attached flyers for full details of this event:
FTMA-AGM1
FTMA-AGM2

The Annual Rent Increase Guideline for 2015 has been set at 1.6% by the Ontario government.

Based on this guideline the maximum amount a landlord can increase a tenant’s rent between January 1 – December 31, 2015 is 1.6%. This increase will apply mostly to sitting tenants who face rent increases during that period.

Complete information about the 2015 Rent increase Guideline is available at the Municipal Affairs and Housing website:  http://news.ontario.ca/mah/en/2014/06/ontarios-2015-rent-increase-guideline-set-at-15-per-cent.html

It should be noted that this increase is double the increase of 0.8% permitted in 2014. The Annual Rent Increase allowed is directly related to the rate of inflation. The calculation is based on data provided by Statistics Canada which creates the Ontario Consumer Price Index. Refer to:  http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/cpis01g-eng.htm

With regard to Above Guideline increase tenants should note that landlords can only increase rents above the 1.6% guideline by filing an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board.  For full details on how a landlord can raise rent above this 2015 guideline please refer to: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb/Brochures/Information%20about%20AGI%20Applications%20(EN)%20Revised_Bill140_June15_2015.pdf?b58864

The FMTA (Federation of Metro Tenant’s Associations) is extending an invitation to all Tenant Association members and friends to attend their 39th Annual General Meeting.

The agenda of the meeting includes:  Board and Staff Reports, Presentation of the Audited Financial Statements, Appointment of the Auditor, Member motions, Board Elections and also a Tenant Forum. You will be brought up-to-date on what the Federation has done in 2013/14 as well as what is planned for 2014/15.

Details of the event are:

Date: Tuesday June 10th, 2014 at 6:30pm.
Location: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) – 252 Bloor St. W, Toronto, (Room 4426)
Contact: fmta@torontotenants.org  or check their website at: http://www.torontotenants.org/

With regard to the Tenant Forum, the FMTA has for many years undertaken a number of campaigns related to Above Guideline Rent Increases, rent control, landlord licensing, tenant representation and affordable housing.  In this election year tenant participation in the Tenant Forum is encouraged as tenants will have an opportunity to discuss a range of tenant issues and become more familiar with issues related to their tenancy.

This forum is of particular relevance because of the upcoming provincial and municipal election campaigns.  With additional knowledge tenants will be better equipped to engage political candidates on tenants issues as they campaign for your support at the ballot box.  Candidates for the Provincial election in Beaches/East York riding are:  Michael Prue (NDP, incumbent), Arthur Potts (Liberal),  Nicholas Johnson (Conservative), Debra Scott (Green Party)

NOTE –  After consultation with a variety of organizations including the FMTA, the City of Toronto has created a Tenant Issues Sub-Committee.  The Committee meets for the first time on June 16th, 2014.  All tenants, tenant leaders and tenant advocates should come and raise issues that they believe are important directly to Councillors. The agenda has not been published for this meeting. For more details refer to this link:

http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/decisionBodyProfile.do?function=doPrepare&decisionBodyId=1141#Meeting-2014.TD1

 

 

Rallies will be held in many cities across Canada to support ‘Housing as a Human Right’, which is part of the Pan-Canadian Week of Action for Housing event. The intent is to raise awareness of the crisis faced by thousands of people who are either inadequately housed or are homeless in Canada. Many of these people are the elderly struggling to survive on fixed incomes.

In the GTA, the City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing are collaborating to seek more long-term and sustainable provincial and federal government funding to close this housing gap. The purpose of this funding is to increase the amount of social housing and also address outstanding social housing capital repairs.

The GTA Housing Gap Campaign rallies are in response to combined efforts by Councillor Ana Bailão (City of Toronto) and Gene Jones  (CEO TCHC) Toronto Community Housing to raise awareness of the housing gap.

Check these links for information on the rallies:

Toronto – November 22, 2013, Pan-Canadian Week of Action for Housing 
(Yonge & Dundas Square) 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Housing as a Human Right http://action4housing.wordpress.com/

Ottawa – November 20, 2012, Close the Housing Gap Rally
www.toronto.ca/affordablehousing

It is common knowledge there is a huge backlog of people desperately seeking affordable housing in the GTA.  Adequate and affordable housing is essential for supporting economic development, ending homelessness, and maintaining stable communities in the GTA and across Canada. Striving for a more equitable society will not be so elusive if this housing gap is closed.

_________________________________________________________
REMINDERS: 
1)  The FMTA is inviting all Tenant Association leaders and tenant advocates to a “Tenant Meet and Greet” on November 29th at 1pm!

This is your chance to meet other tenant associations as well as councillors and MPP’s.  The event will be at 644 Sheppard Avenue East (in the tenant Party room).  The building is within walking distance from Bayview Station.  Special thanks to the Bayview Village Place Tenants Association for hosting!
Refer to this flyer:  FMTA-Meet&Greet

2) Support the “Closing The Housing Gap” campaign by signing the petition at this link:
Petition To Close The Housing Gap http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/close-the-gap/social-housing-campaign-petition/

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