Tenants of North York building rallying against rent increase over lack of core repairs

A group of residents at a Lawrence Avenue building say they've reached an impasse with their landlord as rent increases outpace provincial guidelines, while at the same time alleging serious maintenance issues persist. David Zura explains.

By David Zura

Tenants of a North York apartment building is rallying against an above-guideline increase (AGI) to rent, saying their landlords have not kept up with repairs and maintenance in their units.

The group of residents at 1465 Lawrence Avenue West say they’ve reached an impasse with the owner of the building.

They’re accusing BlackStar and Starlight Properties of making cosmetic improvements to their building, then seeking above guideline increases to rent, while core repairs, particularly inside units are left undone.

“They want to increase always, but they don’t see what’s going on inside apartments,” said tenant Emel Aras. “We have a mice problem, we have a bed bugs problem, we have a cockroaches problem and what’s going on in this building? They don’t care … And then they told us they changed the elevators just one week ago. Both elevator weren’t working.”

As a part of the protest, tenants delivered a letter to Blackstar and Starlight Investments, as well as called 311 to report the backlog of repairs. CityNews did reach out to Starlight but have not received a response.

Another tenant, Michael Cuadra, said they don’t even have control over their heat.

“From where I am standing, from where I sleep at night and have to worry about how much heat is gonna be pumped into my apartment every day, because I don’t have a thermostat. I don’t have control over my own heat. My heat is completely at the mercy of other people. And at this point, I don’t know if I trust those people to have the control over my heat,” said Cuadra.

The tenants’ association in the building has sent CItyNews images from inside the building. A massive hole in the wall allegedly remained unfixed for 10 months.

Hole in the wall at 1465 Lawrence Avenue West.

Co-Chair of the ACORN’s Weston Chapter, an organization that assists tenant unions against corporate landlords, Marcia Stone said this is something they are seeing across the city.

“Every single day we’re getting calls. ACORN’s office is getting calls from people receiving above guideline increases. And the problem is, that repairs aren’t being done in the units. You know, almost every landlord is given out above guideline increases to people. And there’s no places for people to move to. There’s no where for people to go. So. people are suffering in silence,” said Stone.

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