Rent-Striking Thorncliffe Park Tenants To Get Evicted

Tenants in Thorncliffe Park, an apartment complex in Toronto who have been protesting above-guideline rent increases (AGIs) implemented by their landlord, Starlight/PSP Investments, have been served eviction notices.

Around 100 residents of 71, 75 and 79 Thorncliffe Park Drive, organized by the Thorncliffe Park Tenants Association, initiated the rent strike in May as a response to the proposed increases, ranging from 4.2% to 5.5%, with an additional 4.2% increase scheduled for 2022. If approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), tenants would be required to pay the difference retroactively from May 2022.

The rent strike participants argue that they should not bear the responsibility for funding building upgrades. Many of the tenants in the complex, who are predominantly immigrants, already struggle to make ends meet and view the rent increases as an attempt to push them out of their community. The tenants emphasize that they have been paying their rent in full throughout the pandemic, despite job losses and reduced wages, while the landlords continue to profit.

In response to the rent strike, Starlight Investments has expressed disappointment and warned that participating in the strike could be considered a breach of the rental agreement. The company maintains that the AGIs are necessary to cover the costs associated with improving the buildings’ structure, safety, and overall maintenance. 

“Our records do not support the contention that more than 100 residents are participating in this action and, in fact, the number of tenancies withholding rent since the announced campaign is significantly fewer, with the vast majority of our tenants respecting the terms of their lease,” Starlight Investments’ Danny Roth said. 

“While a reasonable and considered application for an above guideline increase has been filed to recover some of the costs associated with the work, an AGI application hasn’t been heard yet or approved, and no tenant is required to pay a single dollar more in rent at this time. As such, we believe that a rent strike over a possible rent increase — that is not in effect — is poorly timed and misguided.”

The tenants’ association disputes the landlord’s claim that the number of participants in the rent strike is lower than reported, asserting that the vast majority of tenants are in support of the action.

While the LTB has not yet scheduled a hearing for the proposed AGIs, the tenants’ association continues its efforts to engage in dialogue with the landlord and withdraw the applications. However, their attempts have thus far been met with silence from the landlord.

“We’re hoping that the power of numbers will lead to some kind of conversation. … A rent strike is a strong tool to get our message across,” Sameer Beyan told CP24. Beyan, along with his parents, have been tenants of Thorncliffe Park for the past eight years.

Information for this story was found via Twitter, CP24, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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