Windsor man living without heat inside downtown apartment unit for nearly one year
A Windsor, Ont., man is pursuing legal action to try and recover hydro costs he incurred due to his apartment unit being left without heat for nearly a full year.
"We just woke up one day and it was extremely cold," said Jordan Arsenault. "I don't think anyone really thought this would be such a long standing issue but here we are."
While the company which manages the property says heat has been restored to many of the units since, Arsenaut still relies on thick layers of clothing and a portable heater as his only sources of warmth.
It was March 2022 when tenants received a notice from Marda Management alerting them that the heat was no longer working. With tenants plugging in electric heaters to stay warm, Marda Management covered hydro costs for the first two months of the outage.
The lack of heat was a non-issue between May and September since the weather outside was warm and comfortable, Arsenualt said.
That changed in October when Marda Management brought another notice to tenants' doors — providing them with supplemental heaters to stay warm. But, according to Arsenault, the heaters provided by Marda are "not very adequate."
"They don't heat my space. I had to purchase my own heater. That's a lot better,” he said.
Doing so has resulted in increased hydro costs.
Nick, another tenant who lives on the floor above Arsenault, said he is in the same boat and is calling for all hydro expenses to be covered for the full duration of the heating outage.
"They've made no attempt to be proactive about compensating for hydro costs increasing during this winter," said Nick.
"I don't really understand why that is suddenly an issue or something that hasn't been communicated to us."
The apartment complex on Pitt Street West is overlooked by Marda Management. Pictured in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)
Marda Management CEO Marla Coffin tells CTV News the company brought in a boiling vendor to assess the situation at 524 Pitt St. W. upon learning of the heating issues last year.
According to Coffin, who said the building is more than 100 years old, the vendor determined a full replacement of the boiler was needed.
"Unfortunately, we were at the end of heating season so it was a 20-week wait for the boiler," said Coffin.
"The boiler was replaced last fall and we've been battling with a couple remaining issues since then."
Coffin added heat has been restored to most of the 26 units inside.
For the units where that is not the case, she said, the boiling vendor needs to secure parts to fix radiators inside those units. However, there have been issues with securing the parts.
A notice from Marda Management was provided to tenants on Jan. 23, letting them know a technician would be coming to install the parts on Jan. 26.
A follow-up notice, issued to tenants on Feb. 2, shows that did not happen.
"Unfortunately, the supplier short shipped and only a total of four [steam radiator] bleeders were delivered," the notice reads, before clarifying that the parts are being shipped in from the United States.
The notice goes on to say any bleeders received Thursday would be installed Friday. Speaking with CTV News on Saturday, Coffin said that didn't happen either.
"Unfortunately, in this particular circumstance, they did not come in," she said. "We're hoping they'll be in Monday and we'll be installing them promptly thereafter."
For Arsenault, much of his last year has been spent going to other people's houses to escape the cold, layering up with multiple sweaters and keeping his guitar on the sidelines since his fingers are far too cold to play well.
But for some of his neighbours, he added, their situations are far more dire.
"A multitude of tenants walk through here from all walks of life. Some with kids, families, older people," said Arsenault.
"I've been in contact with 311 and, just recently, I've filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board just due to the lack of immediacy on situation."
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