Toronto residents deliver cockroaches to landlords trying to evict them
A Toronto resident group fighting a wave of evictions in the Crescent Town neighbourhood delivered a mesage to their landlord Monday—in the form of live roaches caught in their own homes.
Seventeen families are currently facing evictions from their apartments at Crescent Place, a trio of buildings owned by Pinedale Properties.
On Valentine's Day, members of Crescent Place's tenants association and community organization People's Defence Toronto visited the home of Robin Bookbinder, VP of Finance of the property group, demanding an end to eviction applications.
Their doorstep offering included balloons and scores of cockroaches that tenants caught in their own units.
Pinedale Properties blocks tenants from emailing them about persistent pest infestations in Crescent Town. Tenants are forced to take concerns to their landlord's doorstep. Landlord slams door in their face. This same landlord is trying to mass evict families in a pandemic btw. pic.twitter.com/tiStrm0jMi— PeoplesDefenceTO (@Peoples_Defence) February 16, 2021
"For years we have been asking Pinedale Properties to clean up our building and remove the pests," said Dil Begum of Crescent Town Tenant Union to blogTO.
"We left these cockroaches as a present for Mr. Bookbinder along with our letter of demands. Pinedale Properties needs to know the conditions they make us, our families, and our neighbours, live with every day."
According to Sam Nithiananthan of People's Defence, "the anger has been building."
"This isn't just a tactic of agitation. This union is trying to take care of its own. This has been going on for months, every time people complain about cockroaches, mice, bed bugs. This is the conditions people live in."
Pinedale Properties representatives were not available for comment at time of publishing.
Since April, residents of Crescent Place and other properties like Goodwood Park, owned by Ranee Management, have been demanding rent relief while fighting eviction applications filed by landlords at the onset of COVID-19.
In September, protestors formed a human blockade to prevent 14 police officers from evicting a resident from 108 Goodwood Park.
Tenants say that requests for proper building maintenance, such as aid with pest infestations, have gone unanswered by property owners. They say that messages from tenants to Bookbinder regarding their demands have been blocked.
In an LTB process hearing Tuesday between Crescent Town tenants and Pinedale Properties, the cockroaches tactic was described as intimidating and threatening by Pinedale's legal team.
But the tenants association and People's Defence are crying foul, pointing to the hypocrisy of the conditions that residents are forced to live in every day.
"If Mr. Bookbinder is angry for the cockroaches, what do you think me and my neighbours feel everyday?" said Begum.
The action outside Bookbinder's house was part of a two day-long public event that included handing out 70 free bags of groceries to tenants of the building. There is another LTB hearing on Thursday morning that is open to the public.
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