Landlord company pushing to raise rent for hundreds of Ajax tenants

Homestead told the tenants at 77 Falby Ct. (pictured here) this week that it wants to raise the rent at this building as well as at another property on the same road. Jasmine Pazzano/Global News

Many Ajax, Ont., residents may soon be without a roof over their heads, as a building management company is pushing to bump up the rent for hundreds of tenants living in two Ajax, Ont., buildings.

Homestead Land Holdings Ltd. sent letters this week to residents at 33 and 77 Falby Court, letting them know it has filed an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board to raise the rent above the guideline.

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Whitney Jarvis lives in one of the buildings and says she may soon be scrambling to find a fallback plan for her family. Her fiance, Dane Record, works in Oshawa, Ont., but she is a stay-at-home mother, taking care of her three children: Isabella, 10, one-year-old Kyrie and four-month-old Maya.

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“It’s scary, especially a week before Christmas,” she said. “We are a one-income family. We won’t be able to afford an increase.”

Hasina Ebrahimi is in a similar situation, and she has lived in the same building as Jarvis for 17 years.

“Just my husband is working, and I have four kids,” she said. “It is so hard for us.”

Ryan Woods, who has lived in the building for more than eight years, says, “It really makes it hard for us to project what the future’s going to be like.”

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The situation is so dire for some residents that Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier is getting involved. On Wednesday, he sent a letter to Homestead’s head office in Kingston, Ont., saying tenants are “feeling overwhelmed” by the threat of an increase that’s more than the provincial guideline for rent increases, which is sitting at nearly 2 per cent.

Global News has reached out to Homestead, but it has yet to respond with an official comment.

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For residents looking for a short-term solution, Tracy Greig of the Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corporation says it’s a problem that goes further than the one facing Falby Court apartment residents.

“We’re sensitive to the need that there’s not enough housing for people that are at an affordable price,” said the organization’s chief operating officer. “I think we’re also struggling these days in terms of being able to provide them enough housing at a faster pace than we currently are.”

According to data from the 2015 census, nearly 10 per cent of Durham residents are low income.

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