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Tenants of a Saskatoon high-rise say rent increase is unfair

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Residents at a downtown Saskatoon apartment complex are speaking out about what they say are unreasonable rent increases and a lack of attention to building repairs.

A sliding door that hasn’t closed properly for seven years is just one of the problems Edgar Calderon has with his Barrington Place studio apartment.

“For seven years they come to see it and say it cost too much money to fix it. Yes, they told me that because they had to fix the frame and open it up or whatever,” Calderon told CTV News.

He’s lived in the building for 13 years and says the upkeep of the building has gotten increasingly worse over the years.

Now to add to it, the 67-year-old was just told his rent would go up by $375 a month starting in August, which is almost a 50 per cent increase from his existing $775 rent.

“I am retired, plus power went up, food went up,” he says.

Moving is expensive too, he said, but the bottom line is he can’t afford the increase and will be forced to leave.

“I would like to see the company be more fair with the increase, and fix the building,” he said.

The concerns are similar for fellow tenant Peter Davey.

He says water damage caused by a June fire in a top-floor suite still sits unfinished on his floor. Some damage to his suite was just recently finished but two days after those repairs, he got a notice about a steep rent increase.

“I will move. It’s not a big issue for me. I’m disappointed with the company,” Davey told CTV News.

He is advocating for others in the building who have come to him and said they can’t move because some are seniors, and some are parents with small children, making it challenging.

Davey would prefer not to move from his home of five years, where he lives with his 19-year-old son. He said he has made friends in the building, which is part of the reason he wants to advocate for others also.

Colliers took over management of the building in October and said in an email that they’re looking into the issue and declined to comment further.

For Calderon and Davey the issues speak for themselves. With only one working elevator for 145 units, trash in hallways and a front door latch that doesn’t work causing security issues, they feel the owner needs to take responsibility.

The group Renters of Saskatoon and Area (ROSA) told CTV News there’s no reasonable excuse for such an extreme rent increase. They advise residents to contact the office of residential tenancies as soon as possible to report issues.

While the two tenants are doubtful much will change, they would prefer to not have to go through moving from their homes especially given the shortage of housing. 

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