Kingston tenants asked to share experiences to inform local advocate group

Aeiral photo of Kingston looking west from the Williamsville District via Just Recovery Kingston website.

Local advocacy group Just Recovery Kingston (JRK) has launched a survey asking Kingston renters and tenants to share their experiences of renting in Kingston.

According to a release from the organization, the survey is anonymous and will help JRK learn about the most common issues tenants face so that they can identify ways to “collectively fight for tenant rights” here in Kingston. 

“We know the current rental and housing market is not meeting the needs of renters. The cost of housing continues to rise while real wages decline and Ontario Works and ODSP are inadequate. Much of the housing we live in is unaffordable, inaccessible, and poorly maintained. Our aim with this survey is to learn what problems tenants are facing and to identify possible ways to collectively fight for tenant rights in our city,” said Tara Kainer, local tenant and member of Just Recovery Kingston.

Tenants can fill out this anonymous survey online at bit.ly/kingstontenantsuryvey. According to the release, members of Just Recovery Kingston have also been going door to door and attending community events to collect survey responses. People who fill out a survey can be entered to win a $50 gift card. The survey will be open until Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

In response to Kingstonist inquiries, the organization said that the survey results will only be available to a small handful of people at Just Recovery Kingston who are compiling the data, which will be released without any named attribution.

“We’ve also clearly marked as optional any questions with whose answers that could be identifying even with anonymity, e.g. ‘What is the [landlord] individual’s or corporation name? (if you feel comfortable sharing)’,” said Oren Nimelman, a JRK member who ran for City Council last year on a strong housing platform.

“If tenants select ‘yes’ to the questions about whether they’d like to be involved in tenant education and organizing, JRK will contact them directly and will not publish any names publicly or send an email where those recipients are visible to one another in the ‘to’ line.”

JRK hopes to hear from renters and tenants across the city. The organization noted that there may be different trends in what types of issues are faced by residents in purpose-built apartment rentals, individually rented-out condos, rented-out single-family homes, and everything in between.

“We’re going to be using these results to determine JRK’s priorities, and all of those categories are important in getting a good understanding of what’s needed most,” explained Nimelman. “This includes tenants whose homes are being rented out long-term to them through the AirBNB platform. We are, however, focusing on non-students and part-time students [at] this time.”

JRK is a group dedicated to taking care of the land, air, water, and each other, according to the release. It currently has working groups focused on housing, community gardens, and Transit, and also hosts a monthly gathering called Connections where people can learn about local groups and projects focused on social and environmental justice.

Learn more at justrecoverykingston.com.

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