299 forman avenue

Toronto tenants demand eviction notices stop while landlord says they are bullies

Tenants in a Toronto low-rise apartment building say they are being unfairly evicted while the building owner argues she needs them out to do required renovations.

Four tenants at 299 Forman Avenue delivered a letter to their landlords demanding the eviction notices issued to tenants be withdrawn.

Ryan Taylor who has lived in the building for around 15 years says he got an N13 eviction notice and was told the owners want to renovate. Taylor tells blogTO there are vacant units in the building and he doesn't know why he wouldn't be able to move into one while the unit is vacant.

He says the rent is low in the building and a move will be difficult.

"The prices I've seen, are doubled to triple what I'm paying now," Taylor says. "So it's going to be a huge financial change."

Taylor agrees work needs to be done on the building.

"It's not been up kept — different buzzers been broken for four or five years, we haven't had an intercom," says.

One of the building's owners, Sarah Deyong, tells blogTO there are empty units in the building but they are not suitable for people to live in right now.

"They don't have plumbing, they don't have appliances," she says.

She says she has an order from the Toronto Fire Marshal to move unit entrances in a dead-end corridor.

"I served them an eviction notice, because I was given the order to do so," she says.

But another resident, Anna Dipede, who also got notices, says she doesn't understand why they won’t fix up the vacant units first.

"That's how renovictions are supposed to go," Dipede says.

Dipede understands that there is work on the building that needs to be done to keep up with current building codes.

"I guess now, they want to do the renovations but they want to up the rent. And the only way they're going up their rent is to have us gone," she says.

Deyong says some tenants are not paying rent.

"Most of them don't pay on time for the month, some of them are in arrears," Deyong says. "And, you know, I have legal rights, and I follow the Residential Tenancy Act."

She says a group of tenants visited her mother's home and she feels threatened.

"I'm getting very much bullied by them," she says.

The residents say they just want to stay and have banded together to demand that all eviction notices be withdrawn, that long-overdue maintenance of common areas is done, and that tenants be accommodated while any necessary work is done in their units.

"Whatever renovations are going on, we don't want to lose our homes," Dipede says.

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