[URBAN NOTE] “Parkdale landlord MetCap facing growing backlash over rent hikes at 87 Jameson”
Rignam Wangkhang writes for NOW Toronto about the disputes of the tenants of Parkdale tower 87 Jameson Avenue with their landlord, MetCap. Between steep rent increases and an apparent lack of maintenance, tenant advocates argue that MetCap is trying to drive its tenants out so the tower could be gentrified.
Every day brings uncertainty for Diane Rajaram.
Although she’s been living at 87 Jameson since 1977, Rajaram isn’t even sure what days she’ll have running water.
“I work nights, and when I come home sometimes I don’t have water. I have to buy bottled water to wash my mouth,” says Rajaram, 63.
Last Wednesday, February 8, Rajaram rallied with fellow residents outside the offices of the Landlord and Tenant Board on St. Clair East to protest a request by apartment manager MetCap Living Management Inc. to raise rents 3 per cent above the 2 per cent allowed by provincial guidelines for each of the next three years. The company says the increases are to cover the cost of balcony renovations as well as upgrades to the building’s boiler room and garage at the 91-unit building.
But tenants say the proposed increases would hike their rents (currently about $1,000 a month) by several hundred dollars a year, which is simply unaffordable – and unfair given MetCap’s refusal to undertake long overdue repairs, including to properly heat the building in winter or deal with ongoing pest control problems. The tenants, who have since February 1 refused to pay rent, describe a climate of disrespect for them from building management.