Tenants Celebrate the Start of the East Hamilton Rent Strike
On Sunday, April 29, 2018, many tenants from the Stoney Creek Towers (11 Grandville Avenue, 40 Grandville Avenue, 50 Violet Drive, and 77 Delawana Drive) gathered with supporters from across the city to celebrate the start of the #EastHamiltonRentStrike that will begin on May 1, 2018.
We met at the local park and shared a potluck meal. Children played on the climbing equipment and lined up to have their faces painted.
We pulled out markers and bristol board and made some great signs (“CLV, You Don’t Scare Me!”, “CLV: Corrupt Lying Vultures”, “Rent Hike? Rent Strike!”, “No Repairs, No Rent”, “Drop the AGI”, “Tenant Power”, “We Will Win”). We rallied and learned some new chants (“They say rent hike? We say rent strike!”, “No repairs? No rent! No respect? No rent!”).
We heard speeches from our supporters from across Hamilton, including tenants from many parts of the city who are contending with similar rent increases and outstanding repairs.
Our friends from Parkdale, Toronto also made the trip to Stoney Creek to share the story of their two successful rent strikes in the past year, also fighting against Above-Guideline rent Increases. They brought the banner they used to announce their first rent strike on May 1st, 2017. They reminded us that when tenants organize, we can win.
With our signs and Stoney Creek Towers Rent Strike banner in hand, we marched around the neighbourhood, stopping in front of each of the four rent striking buildings to hear speeches from tenants who call 11 Grandville Avenue, 40 Grandville Avenue, 50 Violet Drive, and 77 Delawana Drive home. Many of our neighbours cheered us on from their balconies above.
We cheered as a huge RENT STRIKE! banner was dropped from the top floor of one of the buildings.
Stoney Creek Towers tenants are taking the courageous step to go on rent strike on May 1st, demonstrating their power in the face of a corporate landlord and the wider gentrifying forces in their neighbourhood. Tenants will continue to withhold their rent until their landlord, InterRent Real Estate Investment Trust, meets their demands: a withdrawal of the large above guideline rent increase (AGI) application and the completion of long outstanding repairs to their units.
To support the strike, the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network has launched a RENT STRIKE DEFENSE FUND. Should CLV apply to evict tenants for withholding their rent, each tenant needs to be able to cover the cost of the landlord’s filing fee at the Landlord and Tenant Board ($190 per application). If necessary, tenants are prepared to pay the rent they owe at their Landlord and Tenant Board hearings, but not this additional fee. The Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network calls on the entire Hamilton community to donate to this fund and show their support for the Stoney Creek Towers rent strikers. Whatever is left of the fund after the successful conclusion of the strike will be used as a general rent strike defense fund for tenants across the city.
The challenges of affordable housing, gentrification, and displacement often seem insurmountable; donating to this fund is a tangible way to help low-income Hamiltonians hold onto affordable homes and stay in the neighbourhood they love.
Solidarity is a powerful weapon in the hands of working-class people. Defend Hamilton. Support the East Hamilton Rent Strike!