Landlords won’t cut rent: Tenants

In December, he received a notice from the city, one of 128,000 sent totenants across Toronto, telling him he was eligible for a rentreduction because his landlord had got a break on the property tax.

For Prabir Kar, the fight over $18.61 was a matter of principle.

In December, he received a notice from the city, one of 128,000 sent to tenants across Toronto, telling him he was eligible for a rent reduction because his landlord had got a break on the property tax.

But when he paid January’s rent — $961.06, down from the $979.67 he had paid the month prior — he says his landlord returned the cheque.

“They refused to take my new rent,” the 41-year-old student said. It wasn’t until he and several neighbours complained to their landlord that he got the reduction.

The $18 a month wouldn’t make a big difference in his day-to-day life, he said. But that wasn’t the point: “It is my money,” he said.

Kar is among thousands of renters across the GTA who claim their apartment owners aren’t passing the automatic tax breaks along to their tenants.

The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association has fielded around 3,000 calls since the city sent out notices. Of those calls, more than half of the tenants claim their landlords have been harassing them or obstructing from paying the reduced rent, said Tenant Hotline co-ordinator Geor­die Dent.

However, an association of apartment owners says that, in many cases, the rent reductions shouldn’t have been offered and they are vowing to challenge the tax cut.

When accounting for the decrease in property taxes, the city didn’t factor in its new multi-unit waste levy, which would offset the tax break, said Greater Toronto Apartment Association president Brad Butt.

The waste levy, introduced in 2008, is intended to encourage waste diversion by charging for garbage collection while picking up recycling for free.

 
 
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