Lessons of Parkdale Rent Strike Win

After 3 ½ months of a rent strike by 300 people in 12 buildings in the Parkdale district (in the downtown south-west) of Toronto, tenants forced landlord MetCap Living Management Inc. to make a number of concessions.  These include reductions in planned above-guideline rent increases, some relief for tenants facing financial hardship, as well as a program of maintenance and repair work.

Strike organizer Cole Webber told the Toronto Star in late August, “The rent strike was successful because tenants organized in their buildings and then linked up across the neighbourhood in order to put that pressure on the landlord.”

“They would hold meetings in lobbies of their buildings, they would do door-to-door outreach, they would have conversations one-on-one with their neighbours, and then as they got organized they expanded that to mass texts, email lists, phone trees…. There’s strength in numbers, and so (they could) take actions which were rather bold because they had that organization.”

Photo: A Parkdale rent strike that began in May has come to an end with after tenants say the property owner backpedalled on rent increases and vowed to pay closer attention to pest problems and disrepair. (Martin Trainor)