Nova Scotia

Unsafe Dartmouth balconies blocked off

A Dartmouth, N.S., landlord is sealing off balconies to prevent tenants accessing the unsafe structures.

A Dartmouth, N.S., landlord is sealing off balconies to prevent tenants from accessing the unsafe structures.

Some frustrated residents have had no access to their balconies  for months and are planning to take action against owner TransGlobe Property Management Services.

Tom Griffin wants some answers from his landlord.

"What's going to be done for compensation for the months we didn't have access to these balconies? Will there be a rent reduction?" he asked.

Griffin created signs to try to stop workers from entering his apartment.

"It's frustrating for sure. I mean we pay good money to live and we have certain stipulations and promises in my rent agreement and they're not following through with them," he said.

His building is one of seven TransGlobe properties where the balconies are deemed unsafe.

City bylaw enforcement makes it mandatory for the balcony doors to be secured for safety reasons. Some tenants were told months ago to stop using their balconies.

Work to block the balconies started Monday.

Bad air and stuffy apartments

"I think it's rotten," said resident Barbara Thurier. "They will not close my doors because my eyes are all watery and it's from the bad circulation in the building."

Tenants also told CBC News about a host of other complaints, including an empty swimming pool, security concerns and poor ventilation.

For Abbie Harvie, the balcony battle is the last straw. "I am out of here. I have apartments to look at today and tomorrow," Harvie said.

Harvie plans to file a complaint with the Residential Tenancies board because she wants her money back.

"For me it's about 50 per cent of my rent because I want to be out there. I want to be on the balcony, I want the sunshine," she said.

"I want my stale air out [and] fresh air to come in, and they're talking about banning them from the inside. I feel trapped."

Other tenants have already filed with the tenancies board and have hearings coming up. They can ask for a range of options from repairs or refunds to ending their leases.

TransGlobe Apartment did not return calls from CBC News, but the notice to residents said the balconies would be blocked until repair work was completed. It did not provide an estimate of how long that would take.