City funded FMTA tries to destroy tenants associations who refuse to buy memberships

As is the long history with the City of Toronto and its Tenant Defence Sub-Committee, there was no response to this complaint.

Just how many tenants complaints has the city and these politicians buried, and why are they doing this while continuing to fund the FMTA at ever increasing amounts, that in 2007 was about $425,000 that we know of but could possibly be much more.

I have received many reports of the FMTA interfering with individual tenants' associations that refused to join them, including going into their buildings to urge them to switch legal representatives to ones they recommend. They did this at 22 Oakmount Road in 2006, where Jed Kilbourn went door-to-door urging tenants to hire their board member Kevin Milburn, and warned them that the tenant who organized them was trying to "rip them off".

Back in 1998, when Gail Gleeson of the 40 Charles Street Tenants Associations, refused to join the FMTA, they sent in a stranger to distribute flyers thrown around the halls in the name of the tenants association without their permission to cause a fight between the established tenants' association and the landlord, Manulife. Howard Tessler of the FMTA and then convinced one elderly tenant to claim she had a second tenants' association and it was the only "real" one, confusing the tenants, and destroying their efforts for the tenants to defend themselves against the landlord's rent increases.

It seems if you won't join the FMTA, you are deemed their enemy and they will use their city funded resources to kill your tenants' association.

February 26, 2002

Mr. Michael Walker
Chair, Tenant Defence Sub-Committee
City of Toronto M5H 2N2

Dear Mr. Walker:

RE: Pharmacy Place, 263/273/283 Pharmacy Ave.

I beg each and everyone to read!

This is the result of total confusion regarding a tribunal hearing which was scheduled for on the 15th of January, 2002.

Since this rental increase notice was delivered very close during the Christmas Season it was very difficult to deal with since many members of our tenants association already had plans made for that time. It was totally impossible to get the entire group together, gather the information, raise the money and to hire a legal representative since the tenants have only `30' days to prepare for this.

After returning to Toronto, I called the FMTA (Federation of Metro Tenants' Association) tenants' hotline (416) 921-9494 on January 10, 2002 since they were involved with our previous tribunal hearing. Dan McIntyre returned my call and answered the questions that I had but stated that nothing could be done because of the time allowance. He only advised me to send him a copy of the application by fax and would call if he noticed anything unusual. This was done the next day since I did not have the entire application form with me at work. He did not seem to be too interested at the time. To this date I still have never received any calls from him.

Time was running out and since this involved `863' rental units this caused panic and other tenants called the GTTA (Greater Toronto Tenants' Association). They immediately helped out and sent notices to each rental unit asking the tenants to join them in the lobby for a meeting on how to protect our legal rights. Paul York and his associates did an excellent job and collected enough signatures to postpone the tribunal hearing. IT WAS POSTPONED!

Paul York and his associates once again sent each rental unit another memo for a tenant association sign-up meeting in the lobby for January 20th and to gather $10 per household to hire a qualified legal agent to represent us. This went well and over $1000 was collected, along with the names of 25 other tenants that would volunteer their services to join the tenants' association steering group.

Another meeting with Paul York/sterring group/tenants' association members was scheduled for February 6th. This was to explain that the tenants are now in charge and there would have to be voting on the legal representative. All members of both groups were contracted by phone (except for a member that was moving). Most members from the tenants' association were difficult to reach and , therefore, messages were left. This was very unusual.

This is where more trouble was started. The next day after returting home from work there was a phone message from a tenant that was previously the `Chair-Person'. This is a tenant that wanted no further involvement. Apparently this tenant received a call and letter from the property manager and was offered a 0.5% decrease deal, (similar to the outcomefrom the last tribunal hearing). She had contacted the FMTA and someone informed her that it would be worth it and they would sit down to negotiate this settlement and by doing it this way it would not cost us anything. She booked a meeting for February 7th which was also a date that I would not be able to attend. I spoke with the property manager the next day and explained she was no longer a member. He did apologize and stated he just presumed it was the same tenant.

At our meeting the voting was to hire paralegal Dale Ritch to represent us.

Just prior to sending our notice to each tenant regarding this update there was much CONFUSION. I start getting phone calls from tenants asking: What the ----- is going on? I had no idea what they were talking about? Apparently there were notices posted on walls and in some rental units regarding this 0.5% deal - "good deal to be accepted". There would be no charge for tenants "so do not pay anyone".

`This' tenant became upset with me and rude calls were made - she always wanted FMTA. WHY? - THEY WOULD NOT HELP OUT WHEN HELP WAS NEEDED!

Many other tenants' called and were not happy with this deal and upset and furious over how that `one' particular tenant started a mess.

There were so many new tenants in these three buildings and these are individuals that do not understand anything about the legal system. There are quite a few that do not fully understand English. When their yearly rental lease comes up that is when many tenants will just leave. Always seeing new neighbors and other new tenants on my floor and the entire building. That is not how it was in the past.


There should be further research done on this. I have been listening to people in different districts and they are going through the same thing. VERY CONFUSING!

Thank you,

Lois Visneskie
xxx-283 Pharmacy Ave.
M1L 3G1

cc Mayor Mel Lastman
  City Clerk - for all councillors

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