Student move-ins delayed again, this time for TheHub in Waterloo
Three towers of TheHub on 130 Columbia St. will not be ready for another two weeks, says Accommod8u
Residents of ICON, Columbia One and the K2 buildings all experienced move-in delays, and now so will tenants scheduled to move on Sept. 3 into Towers 7, 8 and 9 at TheHub on 130 Columbia St.
"It's chaotic already starting school in a new city for the first time, and then on top of it, I don't even have a place to live," said Charlotte Hings. She's a tenant at TheHub's tower 9, one of three towers of the new apartment complex that is not ready for move-in as originally scheduled.
Hing is moving from Montreal to start her Master's degree in social and ecological sustainability. She got the news from Acommod8u, the rental company in charge of TheHub, just four days before the move-in date.
The email explains that "record breaking rainfalls and the associated loss of more than 50 construction days due to inclement weather has delayed completing this portion of the development and receiving the necessary occupancy permits."
Its time for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TimeLapesTuesday?src=hash">#TimeLapesTuesday</a>! Check out the Hub's progress from June to July. You can see the window panels being installed!☺️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheHubLife?src=hash">#TheHubLife</a> <a href="https://t.co/Hmfq5AOFVd">pic.twitter.com/Hmfq5AOFVd</a>—@TheHubWaterloo
Hings said when she first signed the lease in June, the sales representative was confident the company would be able to make the deadline of Sept. 3. She told CBC News she regularly checked with the company throughout the summer to ensure the construction was progressing well.
"The person we talked to was always like, yes, yes, yes, everything's fine," Hings said, "And then suddenly four days before the date, it's not fine."
While she said she understands there will be issues that arise with new buildings, she didn't appreciate getting such late notice.
"If they had really lost 50 construction days because of rain, they would have known that a long time ago and they should have told us a long time ago instead of two days ago," Hings said.
Accommod8u's spokesperson Danny Roth told CBC News they did "everything in [their] power to meet the occupancy date" before deciding it was time to notify residents.
"I am sure there are people who are going to say why didn't you tell us at the beginning of August," Roth said, "And the truth is because we were working at the beginning of August to make the Sept. 3 date."
Options for residents
The City of Waterloo's website has a page that lists the status of building construction. For the three towers experiencing delays at 130 Columbia Street, as of August 31 the site indicated zero of 351 bedrooms had acquired an occupancy permit.
"We do have inspectors that are prepared to work today and tomorrow, as well on the weekend. So if things progress, we'll certainly do our part to assist," City of Waterloo's director of communications Tony Iavarone told CBC.
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Roth said there are 182 units across the three towers that the company is aiming to finish for September move-in.
"We have every confidence that within the next two weeks, we will be able to move those people who were scheduled to come in this weekend into the building during that time," Roth said.
Accommod8u has offered residents two options in the meantime. They can either stay for free at one of three hotels in Kitchener, or get a rent abatement on their first month's rent.
Hings will be using the hotel voucher because, as a newcomer to the city, she does not know anyone in the region who would be able to offer her a place to stay.
Complications after moving
A similar situation occurred last September for residents of ICON and The K2 building. Move-in was delayed for weeks. Patrick Diep was supposed to move into ICON, but he had to stay at his girlfriend's place for almost two weeks.
Diep told CBC News there were also students sleeping at the University of Waterloo's Student Life Centre.
Even after the unit was ready for the residents, Diep said there were sometimes appliances fixtures missing.
However, he said he was lucky that they only had a broken door and some other small issues with fixtures.
"Other units had it way worse, where their appliances were broken and it resulted in the flooding of their apartment," Diep said.
The City of Waterloo said when they assess units to issue occupancy permits, city inspectors are only looking at habitability and are not responsible for ensuring that the rental units meet the terms of the lease.
"We strictly will decide and assess it based on the building code," Iavarone said.
The Federation of Students at University of Waterloo approached the Waterloo Region Community Legal Services (WRCLS) to host a presentation for students on legal options and solutions for tenants for companies not meeting deadlines.
The workshop will be Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 9 a.m. and may be live-streamed for students who can't attend in person.
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Tenants may have grounds to terminate their lease agreement without penalty, community legal worker Giordano Modesto told CBC News.
"I would say they do have grounds to terminate their lease agreement and get their rental deposit back," Modesto said, "The building companies have promised that their units will be ready for the scheduled move-in date, but they're not."
He added they're hoping for changes in the law to help protect students.
"We're hoping to be meeting with the municipal and provincial governments around this issue, [and] Waterloo's Federation of Students and Wilfrid Laurier University's Students Union to try to advocate for the change of either local city by-laws or changes to the Residential Tenancies Act," Modesto said.
- A previous version of the story said the University of Waterloo had approached the Waterloo Region Community Legal Services to host the presentation, but in fact it was the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo who asked for the presentation.Sep 01, 2017 10:58 AM ET