Winnipeg tenants push landlord for suite heat

Some tenants of an apartment building in Winnipeg's West End were forced to bundle up because their landlord had not turned the heat on.
Charles Tizya, who lives at 508 Sherbrook Street, has resorted to wearing long underwear, a jacket and a tuque inside his apartment to stay warm. (CBC)

Some tenants of an apartment building in Winnipeg's West End were forced to bundle up because their landlord had not turned the heat on.

"I have to put on long johns, sweatpants, a hooded sweatshirt, this jacket and my tuque," Charles Tizya, who lives in a suite at 508 Sherbrook St., told CBC News on Monday night.

When the weather turned chilly a couple weeks ago, Tizya complained to an employee at the office of Hudson Bay Traders Ltd., which manages the property.

"She said, 'Well, turn the oven on or buy a heater,'" he said.

"But I'm a student; I don't have the luxury of using my oven and running my power bill up. I won't be able to pay for it."

City bylaw officers came by twice and measured temperatures of 14 C one day and as low as 4 C another day, Tizya said.

"I want heat because that's the landlord's obligation," he said.

Equipment failure blamed

Charlene Enns, property manager with Hudson Bay Traders, said the delay was due to equipment failure.

"When we went to turn on the boiler, unfortunately we found that there were repairs needed, even though it had passed inspection in June of this year," she said Tuesday.

"We have plumbers on site working diligently trying to repair the boiler as quickly as possible and to ensure it is operating safely. It is never our intention to put any of our tenants in this situation."

Tizya told CBC News late Tuesday that the property manager has also ordered heaters for all suites in the building until the heat is working again.

Enns said the company's standard policy is to turn on the boiler once "the outside mean temperature of zero degrees remains consistent for a 24-hour period."

"Hudson Bay Traders would like to sincerely apologize to the tenants of 508 Sherbrook and assure them that it is not our intention or our company's practice to have any of our tenants without heat," the company said in a statement.

"It was an unfortunate turn of events that was unforeseeable which led to this situation."