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Mayors say rent review won't save gouged tenants

Toronto Star - August 2, 1975

The province's plan for rent reviews doesn't go far enough in protecting tenants from gougers, mayors of Metro's municipalities contend.

Rent review boards should be established for each municipality rather than on a Metro-wide basis, three said in interviews yesterday. Two mayors were unavailable for comment.

"The proposal is ultimately ineffectual and looks like window dressing related to the next provincial election," York Mayor Philip White said.

"I don't think it is very effective to use the tactic of holding landlords up to shame," he said. "They'll become insensitive or calloused to it."

White said the request for rent review boards should come from individual municipalities.

North York Mayor Mel Lastman said rent review is a beginning, but that it does not go far enough to protect tenants.

"They'll just be listening centres where people go to cry," he said. "They'll hand you a towel and you'll walk out with the wet towel."

He said he would like to see a rent-control system that provides some rent escalation as other costs go up.

Each Metro municipality should have its own rent review board, he said.

Etobicoke Mayor Dennis Flynn said the rent review boards should be given the power to roll back unjustified rent increases.

"I am not in favor of total rent control, but there has to be some protection for tenants from unconscionable rent hikes."

Toronto Mayor David Crombie, who favors individual municipal control of unjustified rent increases, has been pushing for a system of gearing maximum rent increases to the Consumer Price Index.

Crombie criticized the rent review proposal because it lacks sufficient power to prevent landlords from gouging.

Scarborough Mayor Paul Cosgrove and East York Mayor Willis Blair were both out of town on vacation and not available for comment.

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