Some long-time market-rent residents of 42 Hubbard Boulevard, who were dispersed three years ago, had believed their rents would stay the same or at least close to the rates they were paying.
Rosemary Dyson, who lived in the building for over 33 years, was shocked when she was told that the rent would be almost double when she was offered her unit back after renovations were complete.
Dyson, who moved briefly to a unit on Stephenson Road, was paying $870 per month when she moved out in 2009. When she was offered the same apartment back, she was told her rent would be around $1600.
She declined the offer and decided to buy a house with her daughter instead.
“I loved it there. It was my home,” said Dyson, who partially regrets the decision not to move back in.
The confusion may have stemmed from a meeting that took place prior to the tenants moving out. Toronto Community Housing representatives provided a letter with a promise of first refusal, meaning the tenants at the time would have first choice to move back into their units.
But there were no promises in regards to rent rates staying the same.
“At that meeting, we committed to setting the new market rents in the building at rates that are comparable to rental units located in the surrounding neighbourhood,” said Jeffrey Ferrier, Assistant Director of Strategic Communications at Toronto Community Housing.
Ferrier added that “the new market rates fall within the scale of similar one-bedroom and two-bedroom units in the Beach. Few buildings and apartments are as close to the lake as 42 Hubbard Blvd.”
Former Ward 32 councillor Sandra Bussin was in attendance at the meeting, and confirmed that market-rent tenants were never promised that their rents would remain the same.
“The market rent was exceptionally low,” said Bussin.
As for Dyson, she regrets not having anything in writing, and claims that other market tenants feel the same way.
“I had planned on staying there the rest of my life,” she said.