Toronto police keep interfering in disputes between tenants and landlords
Tenants from East York Tenants Union were protesting at Toronto Police Service 55 Division on Thursday for repeatedly interfering in landlord and tenant disputes.
"Although enforcing evictions is not part of their bidding, 55 Division keeps sending police officers at the landlord's bidding whenever tenants defend their neighbours from homelessness," reads a news release by the People's DefenceTO.
The organization said a tenant was evicted on Oct. 1 by Pinedale Properties from 7 Crescent Place when a Sheriff’s Officer instructed the tenant to go to the management's office. While she was there, they changed the locks and she was unable to get back into her unit.
The tenant filed an emergency board meeting with the union citing an unlawful eviction and abuse of process. On Oct. 3, the tenant went to her unit while the community stood guard as she had nowhere to go and the case was still pending.
People's DefenceTO said police were called around 8:30 p.m. that evening and despite saying they would not get involved with landlord and tenant disputes, they returned after crowds had dispersed and removed the tenants from their home.
Video: Badge #8990 assures #CrescentTown tenants that they don’t get involved in landlord tenant disputes and they wouldn’t kick a tenant out of her home tonight. At 1:30 am, seven 55 Division pigs come in an unmarked vehicle to throw a woman out into the cold. #NoCovidEvictions pic.twitter.com/n6GslqFBeF— PeoplesDefenceTO (@Peoples_Defence) October 4, 2020
Toronto Police said the tenant(s) were evicted by the Sheriff's office after an eviction notice was served regarding matters beginning in 2019.
According to police, the tenants and landlord agreed the tenants would be permitted to gather their belongings over the weekend and were not to remain in the unit past 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct.3.
Police said the tenants were in the apartment and refused to leave on Oct. 3 when they responded to a dispute call.
"After several requests, the tenants allowed Toronto Police officers to peacefully enter the unit. The officers explained their presence and advised the tenants that they were trespassing," said Allison Sparkes, the director of corporate communications for Toronto Police Service.
Police said they asked the tenants to gather belongings and to leave the unit and issued "multiple cautions to the group" before initiating the arrest process.
The tenants eventually complied, and left of their own free will, after summoning members of an advocacy group.
Hours after @TPS55Div say they wouldn’t throw a tenant into the street tonight, 7 pigs show up in an unmarked vehicle in the dead of night to throw a sister out on the streets. #PigsAreHaram #NoCovidEvictions pic.twitter.com/GtmkZej655— PeoplesDefenceTO (@Peoples_Defence) October 4, 2020
On Oct. 5 a court order was issued to ensure that the landlord could not re-rent the house until the board made a decision on the tenant's case and that her belongings remain safe and protected.
Pinedale Properties refused to let the tenant and community in the next day to retrieve some of her winter belongings and asked to have a list of her belongings so that they can retrieve them for her, which People’s DefenceTO described as an "indignity."
The landlord then called the police again who arrived and said they would not let the tenant in or accompany her based on the landlord's request.
Pinedale Properties did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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