Ottawa

Broken boiler cuts heat, hot water at nearly two dozen Heron Gate homes

A tenant in Ottawa's Heron Gate neighbourhood says she and her family had to use their oven to stay warm this weekend after a broken boiler cut the heat and hot water at nearly two dozen homes. The management company said it fixed the situation Sunday night.

Heat was restored Sunday evening, landlord says

Hazelview Properties says 23 homes on Sandalwood Drive were left without heat and hot water after a boiler failed Saturday. (Sarah Kester/CBC)

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  • Hazelview Properties said it was able to restore heat and hot water Sunday evening.

A family in Ottawa's Heron Gate neighbourhood say they've been using their oven to stay warm after a broken boiler cut the heat and hot water at nearly two dozen homes this weekend.

"It is absolutely freezing cold in the house," said Nima Hussein, who lives in a townhouse on Sandalwood Drive with her four siblings and mother.

Hussein said the family first noticed the temperatures plunge inside Saturday, with their hot water disappearing that evening.

Since then, Hussein said, they've been doing what they can to keep warm, including using their oven as a source of heat.

Hazelview understands how unfortunate these occurrences are especially during the winter months and we are working to restore the heat as soon as we possibly can.- Hazelview Properties statement

"The floors are ice cold, and [I realize using the oven is] a fire hazard. But knowing that it's our only choice, to be able to not live in two degree weather in the house, it's really frustrating," she said.

"It is the middle of the winter. We can't do dishes in freezing cold water. We can't keep the house clean. We can't shower in freezing cold water."

Hussein said maintenance workers went door-to-door Sunday afternoon to offer space heaters to affected families.

Repairs delayed

In an email to CBC Sunday afternoon, management company Hazelview Properties — formerly known as Timbercreek Asset Management — confirmed the broken boiler cut the heat and hot water at 23 homes on Sandalwood Drive.

The company said it's taken longer to get the necessary parts to fix the boiler since it broke on a weekend, but teams were looking for a quicker, temporary solution.

"Unfortunately, in some older buildings, this is not an uncommon event," a Hazelview spokesperson wrote, adding the situation would likely be remedied by Monday.

"Hazelview understands how unfortunate these occurrences are, especially during the winter months, and we are working to restore the heat as soon as we possibly can."

The temperature dropped to zero overnight Saturday and is expected to reach –3 C Sunday night.

Bylaw officer to inspect property

Hussein had hoped the city would step in, not only to provide OC Transpo buses for residents to keep warm but also to help enforce its own heat bylaw, which states that landlords must "maintain at all times adequate and suitable heat therein."

The minimum temperatures outlined in the bylaw are 20 C during the day and 16.67 C overnight.

In an email to CBC, Roger Chapman, the city's director of bylaw and regulatory services, wrote that "building management is going door-to-door offering temporary heaters to tenants until the main heating source can be repaired."

Chapman said the city has not had any requests from Heron Gate tenants related to insufficient heat. He said a city bylaw officer would also be inspecting the property.

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