No heat or hot water for 6 days at North York condo building

A North York condo building went six days without hot water and heat before the services were restored Thursday afternoon.

Service restored at building on Thursday afternoon, but tenants still frustrated

Hoseyn Khosravani says he used his stove to heat up water in order to wash for six days after a fire at his building. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

A North York condo building went six days without hot water or heat after a fire in the building's hydro transformer over the weekend.

Hoseyn Khosravani, a tenant at 399 Spring Garden Ave., told CBC Toronto he had been layering blankets on his bed and heating up water on his stove in order to wash.

"It's pretty bad," he said in an interview a few hours before heat and hot water were restored late Thursday afternoon. 

Khosravani's neighbour, Reza Maleki, had also been struggling, describing the six days without heat or hot water as "hard." 

In a written statement to CBC Toronto, the building management company, Times Property Management Inc., said was "working around the clock," along with Toronto Hydro and various contractors, to fix the problems.

Toronto Fire confirms that they were called to this North York address on Saturday, April 20 to deal with reports of smoke in the hydro vault near the building's condo garage. (Garry Asselstine/CBC)

Two hours later, they followed up with tenants, writing that hot water, heat, and hallway ventilation had been restored to the building, though some communal rooms still lacked power. 

The insurance question

Though heat and hot water have returned, Khosravani remains frustrated by the slow pace of repairs and lack of clear communication from condo management. 

When he had asked about building insurance and options to be housed elsewhere, he said he was eventually told by the management team to find the certificate number for the insurance policy on his own unit.

Denise Lash, a lawyer who specializes in condo law, says that's by the book.

Lash says condo corporations are obligated to take "reasonable steps" to repair damage to common elements like heat and electricity — but that repair processes can be complicated and lengthy, and that condo corps don't need to pay for tenants to live elsewhere. 

"That is something that a corporation does not have an obligation to do ... That is where it's important for unit owners to get their proper insurance," she said.

Lash also said the situation can be quite different for tenants like Khosravani who are renting, as opposed to unit owners. 

"An owner should get their own insurance. A landlord may have an obligation with respect to finding accommodation for their tenant," she said.