Over a hundred tenants at 1440 and 1442 Lawrence Ave W have been on rent strike against Barney River Investments since October 1st. As the rent strike continues into its fifth month, tenants rallied outside of the Barney River property management office this afternoon and served notice that they will be filing against Barney River at the LTB for tenant rights abuses and serious breaches of their maintenance obligations.
“Barney River is illegally increasing our rent, illegally trying to evict us and ignoring their basic responsibilities to maintain our building” says Rashid Limbada, a resident of 1440 Lawrence Ave W. “We’ve been trying for years to bring our concerns to Barney River but they’ve ignored us every time. We’ve been left with no choice but to come together as a union and take action ourselves since our landlord hasn’t.”
Last month, in a display of immense solidarity over the holidays, tenants came together to resist an illegal eviction of their neighbour, Carmen from 1442 Lawrence Ave W. “The landlord showed up at my door with the police and sheriff and told me I was evicted. It was terrifying, I had no idea what was going on because I paid my rent every month and was never told I owed them anything” says Carmen. “If it wasn’t for my neighbours and my tenant union, I’d be on the streets.” After a 74-hour sit-in by over a hundred tenants at the property management office, Carmen’s tenancy was reinstated.
Rather than come to the table to address the problems in the building, Barney River has begun a campaign of unlawful intimidation and harassment. “They’re telling us we owe them money from illegal rent increases since 2021” says Addila Safi, a tenant at 1440 Lawrence Ave W. “When we try to explain that there was a rent freeze in 2021, they tell us to pay it or they’ll evict us. This isn’t right. We are good people who work hard to pay the rent, but we won’t let them take advantage of us."