Edmonton·Video

Rent hikes near new arena could force out low-income tenants

Dozens of downtown tenants could be forced from their affordable housing units near the new Rogers Place arena, after the landlord warned it plans to hike rents by $300 per month.

'People cannot be treated like this, we’re humans,' says long-time tenant Pat Lloyd

Dozens of downtown tenants could be forced from their affordable housing units near the new Rogers Place arena, after the landlord warned it plans to hike rents by $300 per month. 1:03

Dozens of downtown tenants could be forced from their affordable housing units near the new Rogers Place arena, after the landlord warned it plans to hike rents by $300 per month.

The historic MacDonald Building at 10128 105th Ave. is directly north of the new arena, next door to Boyle Street Community Services.

Tenants in the 103-year-old building found notices taped to their doors on Aug. 1, informing them their rents would increase in November.

Pat Lloyd, who  has lived in the building for 11 years, said his rent will rise from $562 to $825 per month.

"Fifty per cent of the people in this building, because they won't be able to pay the increase, will be back out on the street," Lloyd said.

The building is mostly occupied by people with fixed incomes or on social assistance. Lloyd, 68, said the building also houses people who were once homeless and won't be able to pay the increases.

Tenants say the historic MacDonald Building, constructed in 1913, has fallen into disrepair in recent years. (CBC)

Lloyd said his rent has only gone up by a total of $115 per month in the last decade. This new hike is unprecedented, he said. 

Unlike most people in the building, Lloyd said he can afford the rent increase, but his 225-square foot bachelor unit  is not worth what the property manager is asking.

The building has fallen into disrepair and Lloyd said little has been done to maintain it.

People cannot be treated like this. We're humans.- Pat Lloyd, long-time tenant 

The hallways smell of urine, the floors are bare concrete, and many windows are broken. In Lloyd's unit, it's hard to see out the window because it's so dirty on the outside.

"People can not be treated like this," he said. "We're humans."

Earlier this year, Alberta Health Services ordered one unit in the building to be vacated after an inspector found an "extensive cockroach and bedbug infestation," and no smoke alarms.

Alberta Health Services lists the owners as Norman and Abby Steinberg of Calgary, as part of Mac Lofts Capital Corporation. Abby Steinberg referred all questions to the property manager, Martyshuk Housing, which did not return CBC's calls.