The tenants of three apartment buildings in the Montreal borough of St-Laurent haven’t had heating since last Thursday.
CBC Montreal reporter Willy Lowry will have more on this story at 11 p.m. ET. Don't forget to tune in to CBC TV!!
Around 50 apartments in the buildings on Ouimet Street are affected.
Charito Valdez and her family wear their winter coats inside their home to deal with the cold.
"It's really cold," Valdez says. "You go outside, it’s really cold, you come back to your house, it’s still cold."
MetCap Living — the Toronto-based company that manages the buildings at 1205-1395 Ouimet Street — posted a sign to the front doors of three of the buildings in the complex, notifying tenants that they could pick up free space heaters at a nearby location on Décarie Street.
The note also said tenants could go to a community centre to warm up if they wanted to.
Valdez went to pick up two space heaters Tuesday because, after six days of being in the cold, she'd had enough.
She showed CBC reporter Willy Lowry the agreement letter she had to sign to receive the space heaters (see photo below). The letter stipulates:
- Return the heater by March 1, 2014.
- Ensure that when [sic] the heater is returned in full functioning order.
- That the heater is used exclusively at the address you provide.
- If any of the conditions are not met, you must repay $150, the cost of the portable heater.
CBC News placed a call to the Rona hardware store in St-Laurent on the evening of January 21, 2014 and was told that a Facto space heater like the ones Valdez received sells for $26.99.
Additionally, MetCap Living's website indicates that heat and hot water are included in the price of rent at this building complex — but not the electricity tenants are consuming to power their space heaters.
A long wait for heat
Valdez was able to secure two heaters for her apartment, but she says her family is still freezing.
“It’s still not enough," she says.
Her son, Bonifacio, says he goes to bed when he comes home because it's the only place where he can be warm. Even then, he says, he has to wear his coat to bed.
“When you go inside the room, you’re wearing all the clothes. Two coats,” he says.
For its part, MetCap Living said its defective boiler was to be replaced late Tuesday and that the heat should be back on by Wednesday.
The Tuesday to Wednesday overnight temperature is expected to dip to -26 C, -35 C with the windchill.
MetCap Living owns a number of properties in Montreal, including 20 apartment buildings and complexes in the St-Laurent borough.
MetCap Living has owned the buildings for two years. Tenants told Radio-Canada that the company does not maintain its buildings as well as the previous owners did. They say there is no longer a building superintendent and that garbage is piling up.
A similar situation happened last November when tenants of two apartment buildings in St-Laurent went without heat for two weeks.
Those buildings are owned by a different Toronto-based company.