NEWS

Retirees in Bowmanville home hit by steep rent hikes

09/24/2014 07:57 EDT | Updated 11/24/2014 05:59 EST
A group of tenants in a Bowmanville, Ont, retirement home have seen sudden and steep rent hikes which they may be powerless to avoid. 

Fred and Marie Parker moved into the Clarington Centre Retirement Condominiums five years ago, hoping that they wouldn't have to move again.

They have been married for three quarters of a century. Both are in their 90s.

Weeks ago, the Parkers received a letter from their landlord, advising them that their monthly $1,300 rent was going up by $420.

It was a shock to the system for Fred Parker, who is a 91-year-old veteran of the Second World War.

"It's the greediest grab I've ever witnessed," he told CBC News in an interview.

The Parkers aren't the only people in the building facing a sharp rent increase.

Ann Gibson told CBC News her rent is going up $250, while tenant Don Ledrew and his wife will have to pay an additional $300 a month if they want to stay.

In a statement, WED Property Management, the company that manages the building, told CBC News the increase is due to "market forces" which include rising costs that are out of its control.

Cut back or move on

In Ontario, any building constructed after 1991 is not subject to rent control. That means landlords can raise rent once a year, provided tenants receive written notice at least 90 days in advance.

As a result, the affected tenants in Bowmanville will have to adapt to the changes.

Each of the tenants' leases at the building is unique. Some include the cost of utilities, some do not.

Gibson and the Parkers say they will cut back to make ends meet. But the Ledrews will move on.

WED Property said it has reached out to affected tenants and is currently discussing some options to deal with the transition to the higher rents.

The Parkers are appealing to local MPPs to re-examine the Residential Tenant Act, but for now, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has no plans to amend it.

Click on the video above to see a full report from the CBC's Charlsie Agro.

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