The Villager, March 8, 2002
by Lisa Rainford
The subject of dramatic rent increases has reared its ugly head again but for many Parkdale tenants the issue never really went away.
According to local Liberal MPP Gerard Kennedy, landlords have collected $37 million in rent increases - $25 million above guidelines.
"In recent years, the average rents were up eight per cent," Kennedy said at a community council meeting he hosted at Masaryk-Cowan Community Recreation Centre March 5. "People can't muster enough money for a safe place to live and healthy food. The problem is severe."
Tenants at 105 West Lodge, some of whom have lived in the building for many years have faced an approximate increase of more than $300 in the last three years. Some reported at the meeting they are dealing with appliances that don't work properly.
Kennedy said he is prepared to take a "non-traditional" approach to these situations by publicly identifying bad landlords. "I want to hear people's ideas about what we can do," he said.
Ideally, rent controls must be brought back to all areas of the city, agreed those at the meeting. However, this isn't going to happen, Kennedy said as 50,000 families are on a waiting list for government housing.
Roy Cunningham of the High Park Tenants Association suggested initiating a co-operative housing building.
"Cooperative buildings are a half to two thirds cheaper," he said. "I might be able to get funding to start a co-operative as a group."