TORONTO, Feb. 29, 2012 - Recent media reports about Toronto Community Housing's dealings with E. Stanley (Bud) March present only one side of the story.
We believe the proper forum to discuss the issue in full is before the Landlord and Tenant Board, which will consider all the facts before making a decision. However, because recent media reports failed to present complete and accurate information, we have obtained Mr. March's written consent to discuss the specifics of his case, and the position and the actions we have taken to find a solution to Mr. March's arrears.
Mr. March is a rent-geared-to-income tenant. The rent-geared-to-income system is based on fairness and affordability. Tenants must disclose their income to ensure they are eligible and so their rents can be calculated accurately and fairly. Mr. March failed to disclose his income for the period of May 2011 to December 2011. This includes new income he was earning through part-time employment during this period. When Mr. March failed to provide the required financial information, by law we were required to charge him market rent. He incurred arrears as a result.
Once we have the required income information, Mr. March's rent payable for the period in question will be recalculated to a fair rate based on that income, if he continues to be eligible. His arrears would be adjusted accordingly, if necessary.
We want every tenancy to succeed. We will continue to work with Mr. March to help him meet his obligations as a social housing tenant and stay housed without having to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Should this matter proceed to the Board, we are confident the Board will find that we have acted appropriately and complied with our legal requirements and our eviction prevention policy and procedures throughout our dealings with Mr. March.
Rents raise roughly one-half the money Toronto Community Housing uses for maintaining our buildings and serving tenants. When tenants don't pay rent, or pay late, or pay the wrong amount, that means less money for the repairs, maintenance and services that all 164,000 tenants of Toronto Community Housing count on every day.
Toronto Community Housing has worked diligently to help Mr. March meet his legal responsibilities as a social housing tenant so he can stay housed.
Staff intervened early, alerting Mr. March about the situation in July 2011, to give him the chance to resolve things quickly and not end up with debt he couldn't repay.
Staff had direct personal contact with Mr. March, as recently as February 27, 2012, to make sure Mr. March fully understood the situation.
Staff accommodated Mr. March's request for a flexible pay arrangement.
Staff referred Mr. March to a support agency to make sure he had any support or assistance he might need.
Staff referred Mr. March to legal clinics that can provide him with independent legal advice.
We will continue to work with Mr. March to try and resolve the situation so he can stay housed.
Arrears and eviction prevention
Toronto Community Housing has a low eviction rate. Latest available figures show that while 5,608 tenants owe more than $4 million in arrears, our eviction rate is just 0.15 per cent.
Our policy for preventing evictions for arrears is working, as shown by our low eviction rate, the number of formal mediated settlements reached through the Landlord and Tenant Board (383 through Q3 2011), and the number of repayment arrangements achieved through our 13 operating units (445 during that same period).
Toronto Community Housing Arrears and Eviction Statistics
(as of September 30, 2011)
|Number of tenant households in arrears
|Percentage of households in arrears
|Total arrears owing
|Arrears as percentage of rent and parking charges
Eviction rate for tenants with arrears
Source: Q3 2011 Quarterly Performance Report
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Toronto Community Housing Media Relations