Faces of The Parkdale Renter's Revolution

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Faces of The Parkdale Renter’s Revolution

Residents say the landlord is imposing massive rent hikes while complaints of cockroaches, mice, bedbugs, and urgent repairs are ignored.

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Dse Wang joined other Parkdale residents on Sunday who marched on the eve of the rent strike. Photos by Zach Ruiter

Parkdale tenants are fighting back against above-guideline rent increases. On Sunday they marched through the streets on the eve of a rent strike against MetCap Living Management, which owns multiple buildings in the area and is one of the city’s largest landlords.

More than 200 residents from five buildings confirmed they are holding back their rent in protest of three-per-cent above-guideline hikes, which MetCap claims is needed to make repairs to the aging buildings, according to Parkdale Organize. The total amount withheld is close to $250,000 in rent.

“We’ve seen homelessness being caused by rent increases,” says organizer and MetCap tenant Aliza Kassam. “There’s also an incentive for MetCap neglecting units so people leave and they can flip them and get a new tenant at a higher price.”

Meet some of the Parkdale tenants on rent strike:

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“I live in a MetCap building and it is in disrepair and they treat people like dirt. I have a balcony to fix and they haven’t done it.”

-Dianne Rajaram

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“The money they have spent is to cover up the disrepair on their buildings. They paint the balconies so it’s a nice picture. But don’t lean on the balcony because they are not structurally attached.”

-Brian Daley

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“The rent strike is already working because they are already undergoing extensive repairs because they are scared of us. They are trying to squash this by dealing with us individually. When they’re doing repairs they are using it as bribery so people won’t stand with their neighbours to fight these rent increases that are pushing us all out of the neighbourhood. But that’s not going to work, Parkdale is a united front.”

-Alykhan Pabani

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“Poor people have to suffer for rich people to live. It’s unfairness. The rent is getting too high and people cannot afford it.”

-Lewaard Allen

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“The system is not set up to help you survive. It’s to help you die quietly. They kind of trick you. You’re just caught up with anxiety because you can’t afford anything. They’re trying to strangle us out of the city.”

-Tony Fantastic

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“Parkdale has a majority of immigrants living in apartment buildings. We support each other so that we can tackle the problem that every year we face this problem of rising rent.”

-Dse Wang

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“I think the rent strike is going to work because there’s strength in numbers here. MetCap has applied for above guideline rent increases and it’s a struggle because I’m dealing with mice and cockroaches.”

-Barb Livesay

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“I am going to try to stop the hike they are putting on us. It’s too high and I don’t get any extra pension and they are taking my money away from me because they want more money for themselves.”

-Andy

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“I had water damage in my apartment that was so bad part of the wall was coming down. They came in and they patched it up so badly that it’s now an issue again. I am tired of paying an increased rent for no benefits whatsoever.”

-Vanessa Collins

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“When my family first came as refugees to Parkdale, our landlord won the golden cockroach award. The rent strike is not just for the tenants and residents of Parkdale who are here right now, but it is for all the future people, especially newcomers and refugees. We know that Parkdale is the landing strip for these communities.”

-Bhutila Karpoche

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“What you are seeing here today is what working class people are capable of doing when we come together.”

-Brian Dorherty

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“I’m handing out flyers to inform people about the rent strike and the reception has been very positive. People who are from the neighbourhood or just passing through see what’s happening. They see these rent increases are a way to displace working class people from their homes, and they are with us.”

-Parmbir Singh Gill

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