Waterloo's TheHub almost ready, but tenants unhappy with ongoing work
TheHub tenants say Accommod8u committed false advertising, with units not up to standard
Most tenants have finally moved into TheHub, a condo owned by Accommod8u, after weeks of delay due to construction not being finished.
But some residents tell CBC News there are still a few things that are unfinished.
Most of the concerns involve non-functional air conditioning, garbage chutes, insufficient laundry machines and an on-site gym that is no longer being built.
"We had a bunch of people who specifically actually moved to TheHub because of the gym being part of the building, and now it's no longer underway," said Daniel Anderson, a tenant and moderator of a Facebook group where tenants have been voicing their concerns.
Brooke Willis is one of those people who was attracted to TheHub because of the gym.
"My partner has a disability, and so physio is a large part of the recovery process and so we were really relying on that fitness facility to be able to do his physio," Willis said.
She said TheHub gave inconsistent timelines for when the gym facility would be delivered, but now it seems the plans have been scrapped.
"They took all evidence of them advertising a gym off of their website and off of their Facebook posts," Willis said.
CBC News has made multiple attempts to reach someone at Accommod8u, but no one was made available for comment.
Anderson said there are plans to file a false advertising complaint to the government.
City not accountable
Tenants in the Facebook group have been concerned the ongoing construction at the condos could pose potential safety hazards.
Willis, who has been having trouble finding parking spots on-site, said the parking lot has "become an open construction site."
"Every construction worker is wearing a hard hat," she said.
Anderson wants the city to be held accountable for the units being unfinished. He thinks permits shouldn't be given if construction is still happening in the residential unit.
However, the city says they are not able to delay giving a permit if the unit meets the standards set by the Building Code.
"We have a minimum standard," Rick Block, supervisor of inspections at the City of Waterloo told CBC News. "If they meet it, then we're obligated to give them occupancy."
As long as areas that are under construction are blocked off and residents don't have access to those incomplete spaces, the city can give out permits.
"People don't understand, when we give occupancy, it doesn't mean things are complete," Block said.
He added that it's not only the city inspectors who sign off on the occupancy permits. Architects and engineers who have designed the building are also responsible for signing off.
Collective T6 in progress
Anderson is leading the tenants' efforts to file a collective T6 form to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
The T6 form is for tenants who feel their landlord "has not repaired or maintained the rental unit or the residential complex, or has not complied with health, safety, housing or maintenance standards."
- Students fight for better tenant protection under Residential Tenancies Act
- Schembri ordered to pay back Waterloo tenant for 1 Columbia deposit
Anderson said the lack of air conditioning has led to people passing out, and the fine particle matter and dust in the units pose a health and safety risk for residents.
"We have rooms that have gone up to about 30 degrees Celsius," he said.
He is polling the Facebook group to decide what type of compensation their collective T6 will seek.
The current front-runner is one month of free rent for breaching the contract on basis of problems with internet, security, air conditioning, laundry and garbage.
Anderson said there are tenants who are looking into breaking their lease because they don't have faith that Accommod8u will turn things around.
Willis has considered doing the same, but she said Accommod8u told her she would have to move out within one week if she moves forward with breaking the lease.
"We've given up on the thought of breaking our lease," Willis said. She's instead hoping she will receive compensation from the company.
In the meantime, Willis and her partner have been unable to sleep well at night because of the heat and noise.
"We don't have a window in our bedroom, we just have a patio door to open to try to control temperature," she said, "When you open it, all the dust and noise is coming in from the construction."
"It's been impeding in all aspects of our life."