Hundreds of students in housing limbo over residence delays

Hundreds of post-secondary students are spending the holiday weekend stuck in a housing limbo because their off-campus residence in downtown Toronto is behind schedule in opening.

'They don't know when we can move in' - U of T student Ashley Morford

Philipp Udaloy, a first year Ryerson student who moved from Prince Edward Island, is among those unable to move into the downtown residence.

Hundreds of post-secondary students are spending the holiday weekend stuck in a housing limbo because their downtown off-campus residence is behind schedule for opening.

The students, many from outside Canada, had been counting on moving into the new Parkside Residence at the corner of Jarvis Street and Carlton Street. But the conversion of the former Primose Hotel is not complete.

"I have come halfway across the world in order to stay in Toronto and I can't seem to get any place to live in," Mohab Ali, an exchange student from Egypt, told CBC.

'It's crazy'

"We came from Perth – that's an over-24-hour flight. So, to come all the way here and then not even know where we're going to sleep the night, it's crazy," said Lauren Grey, an exchange student from Australia.

"Coming from Prince Edward Island on the east coast to Toronto, I sort of expected more for myself," said Philipp Udaloy, a first year Ryerson student.

Students say they got a notice late Thursday evening.

"We got an email saying that we couldn't move in and there was no move-in date now," said Ashley Morford, a University of Toronto PhD student.

"They don't know when we can move in now," she said.

Hotels being used temporarily

In a statement, the company said it is facing delays caused by city building inspectors and by the fire marshal's office. The company is paying for hotel rooms to temporarily house the students.

The students paid between $400-$2000 a month to live in the private dorm facility which promised luxury features and proximity to major schools.

"I wanted to come in, enjoy myself, really have a good frosh [week] and move in to university," Udaloy said.

Instead, he and the other students are without a fixed address, with many distracted or prevented from attending events in the lead-up to classes.

"I haven't gone to one of my frosh events or my orientation events yet," said Annamaria Rodriguez, a first-year Ryerson student.

'Really frustrated'

"I've missed everything because of all this commotion that's happened," Rodriguez said.

Right now, one of the biggest complaints from students is that they're being moved from one hotel to another.

"I'm really frustrated right now because I expected to move and now I'm just, like, stuck at a hotel. And then I got kicked out of the hotel. And now I have to go to a different hotel," Rodriguez said.

Others said they don't mind the inconvenience.

"Sometimes it sucks that you can't stay in the residence that you've booked, but I love staying in hotels," said Arlando Velho, an exchange student from Australia.