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My letter to tenants and to Minister Kathleen Wynne

Dear Ward 22 tenant,

 

I've heard from many of you that being a renter in Toronto is becoming increasingly difficult and it feels like every month, your budget is being squeezed tighter. High provincial guideline rent increases, coupled with Above the Guideline Increases allowed by the Ontario government for basic upkeep and repairs have pushed rents that were already steep into the unaffordable range. In addition, the low vacancy rate has made it near impossible to find lower-cost alternatives elsewhere.

 

It's time for real action to protect tenants. Please see the reverse for my letter to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, advocating for reforms that will support your right to accessible, affordable rental housing.

 

This past May was unseasonably hot. I heard from many of you in apartments that your units were uncomfortable and that sleeping, in particular, was difficult. Toronto's tenants have the right to a comfortable and healthy home. That's why I put forward a motion that seeks to establish appropriate room temperatures for tenants.

 

My motion looks to change the Municipal Code to reflect the reality that before June 2nd, it may not be necessary to keep the heat on due to warm or hot spring temperatures. Further, it may be necessary to set an acceptable maximum temperature at which rooms can be heated.

 

Knowing your rights as a tenant and how to protect them can be a challenging process. Various aspects of being a tenant and your relationship with your landlord are governed by different levels of government. Please visit the tenants page at www.joshmatlow.ca for a list of community resources. I'm here to advocate for you – if you have any questions please feel free to give my office a call for assistance.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul's

 

 


 

July 17, 2012

 

 

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, M.P.P.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

777 Bay St., 17th floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5

 

Dear Minister Wynne,

 

I would like to thank you for your recent initiative to cap Guideline Rent Increases. Over 60% of the residents in my ward rely on renting for their housing needs, the most out of any ward in Toronto; as such, my constituency was hit particularly hard by the 3.1% Guideline Rent Increase last year.

 

With low vacancy rates across the city, many renters have little choice but to accept high rents. By capping the Guideline Rent Increase at 2.5%, Bill 19 will help many residents in my ward make ends meet as they pay their bills each month; this is a good first step towards maintaining the affordability of rental housing here in Toronto and across the province.

 

I hope that this bill will pave the way for similar action in regards to Above the Guideline Increases (AGIs). My constituents have told me that AGIs should only be allowed where landlords are providing new amenities for their tenants, and provided that units have been kept in a state of good repair. The prospect of reintroducing vacancy controls along with a cap on rent increases for new units should also be explored, as the current conditions of low supply and high demand in the rental market give the landlord a tremendous amount of leverage in negotiating rent for a new tenancy.

 

On behalf of the tenants in Ward 22, St. Paul's, and across the city, let's work together on making Toronto a more affordable place to live for all its residents.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22, St. Paul's



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