Jack is the Tenant Organizer at the Regent Hotel.
My name is Jack Gates and I live at the Regent Hotel and I am a tenant rep for the Collaborative. Today I was at the SRO School workshops learning about the RTB around rent increases and leadership. We learned more about the landlord’s responsibilities around rent increases. I was listening to Gregor from the Afton Hotel and he has some insight on our strategy and I like what he had to say. Wendy talked to us about the “*@!# sandwich” in terms of communicating with landlord. Tell them something positive if you can, before and after you tell them the problems and then finish up with something positive.
I have been standing up to the Sahotas and instead of arguing with them like I would have done before, I have been using face to face civil discussions. I figured out how to get the owners to do stuff there. I’m learning how to use the Residential Tenancy Act, the 311 city calls and media to help make things happen there.
When I called 311 yesterday, the city told me that they have quite a number of calls into the city about the heat and hot water in the bathroom from my hotel. The owners lit the pilot light pretty quick after my last call. I don’t know if the city called the owners or what, but it got lit. I have left some notes for tenants on the wall at the Regent to call 311 or to call me or Wendy. I posted my own phone number on the walls. I think that’s getting the action now. We’re going to do more door knocking at the Regent soon. The notes on the wall are just a band-aid right now. We need to talk to the people face to face right now.
I took my landlord to court for no heat and hot water and part 2 of the hearing is coming up on March 30, 2016. Once we’re are done I’ll have a decision and we’ll do the same for everyone else in the building.
We need someone to speak out for all of us like the Collaborative. Some of us want to say something but we don’t know how. Some of us are afraid of the backlash because we are in our addictions. Fear is more intense when you are high. I have been clean for a year and support my neighbours. I believe everyone deserves to live in a decent place. You have to have *been* a drug addict in order to know what they are going through, in order to support them.