Filed under: Action, Gentrification, Housing, Ontario, Video
Action report from Parkdale Organize as struggle against displacement and evictions continue. Video from sub.Media.Tv.
The struggle against displacement in Parkdale continues…
Today our neighbours at 103 and 105 West Lodge occupied the head offices of Timbercreek Asset Management. Joined by Parkdale teachers whose students live at the buildings, tenants delivered more than 150 work orders detailing disrepair in units. Today West Lodge tenants put Timbercreek on notice: we will not be pushed out of our homes in Parkdale.
In October 2018 Timbercreek took over the West Lodge Towers and immediately launched a concerted drive to displace tenants from the buildings. This is consistent with Timbercreek’s business strategy: buy older, neglected buildings and remove the working-class residents before renovating and raising rents. Timbercreek describes this process as putting buildings through a “car wash”. Timbercreek sees working-class people as dirt they need to wash away.
Already in 2019 Timbercreek has dragged dozens of West Lodge tenants to the Tribunal to evict them. Hundreds more have received eviction notices. Timbercreek alleges tenants have not paid rent when in fact their own accounting is wrong. Timbercreek has intentionally obstructed direct payment of rent from government agencies for tenants who receive social assistance. They then claim the tenant is in arrears and take them to Tribunal to evict them.
In the midst of a critical city-wide housing shortage, Timbercreek refuses to rent our vacant units in the West Lodge buildings. They plan to hoard vacant rental units until they’ve pushed out enough working-class tenants for the buildings to be marketable to higher income people. Only after our neighbours have been pushed out does Timbercreek intend to improve conditions.
Since Timbercreek took over the buildings West Lodge tenants have been plagued with frequent floods, fires, and electrical outages. Running water is often only available as either scalding hot or completely unheated. The buildings often go long periods without any working elevators. Timbercreek promises repairs and improvements but timelines are not met and disruptions to tenants’ lives persist. Timbercreek is manufacturing a crisis at West Lodge designed to push tenants out.
The following excerpt is from the demand letter West Lodge tenants delivered to Timbercreek today along with the repair orders:
We see Herongate. We see 200 Dufferin. We are prepared to organize our neighbourhood against you and your business interests. Our neighbourhood has developed methods of dealing with matters such as these. Methods that tend to be both very public and effective. We hope it doesn’t come to that, here. But we are not willing to see more of our neighbours pushed out on to the streets.
Our demands include:
– A timeline for completion of all collected repair forms in writing within 2 weeks;
– Unit repairs should be completed before cosmetic repairs to common areas;
– No more evictions;
– No Above Guideline rent increases;
– Vacant units, currently being held empty, should be rented out.