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Parkdale tenants who launched rent strike say they’ve been given eviction notices

Click to play video 'Toronto tenants who went on rent strike over apartment conditions facing eviction' Toronto tenants who went on rent strike over apartment conditions facing eviction
Several Parkdale neighbourhood tenants withheld their rent protesting rental increases and poor building maintenance, but now, the management company is threatening to evict them. Mark Carcasole reports – May 23, 2017

Tenants of Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood who began a rent strike earlier this month say The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) has started to initiate eviction notices.

Two hundred tenants of six Parkdale apartments are participating in the strike, which demands the withdrawal of applications for above-guideline rent increases (AGIs) at the buildings and for necessary repairs to be done in their units.

Residents say the buildings’ management company, MetCap Living, is increasing the rent by nine per cent over three years in addition to the provincially instituted guideline of 1.5 per cent this year.

READ MORE: Parkdale tenants organize rent strike to protest rent increases at MetCap buildings

AIMCo, which is a major investor in MetCap Living and in turn owns three of the buildings, has issued eviction notices against those tenants who are refusing to pay rent, a move Cole Webber, spokesperson for the tenants and Parkdale Community Legal Services, believes is unreasonable.

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“AIMCo claims socially responsible investment practices. We fail to see what is socially responsible about evicting low-income people from their homes in the middle of a housing crisis,” wrote Webber in a news release Tuesday.

MetCap Living’s president Brent Merrill defended the proposed rent increase to Global News earlier this month, saying the increase is only for some of the buildings. He said the affected buildings need to be fixed.

READ MORE: Ontario government to impose 15% tax on foreign homebuyers, expand rent control

“The buildings are older and they need constant upkeep and repair. We’re entitled to put through an increase as a result of that under the legislation,” Merrill said.

According to provincial guidelines, AGIs can only be applied if an increase in costs for taxes or utilities are “extraordinary,” if significant renovations and repairs have been completed, or if the costs for security services have gone up.

Webber said tenants of the buildings have launched the website aimcoevictstenants.ca to bring attention to their plight.

With files from David Shum and Cindy Pom