Windsor

Windsor cracks down on landlord after residents left without water

River Place Residence in Sandwich Town has no running water or working fire alarms, according to the city, and must be repaired. 

River Place, whose occupants include some former tent city residents, subject to unsafe building notice

Dylan White has been a resident at River Place Residence for three years and says conditions are deplorable. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

The City of Windsor has issued an "unsafe" building notice to a residence that's housing people formerly living in tents, telling the landlord he has until until Friday afternoon to fix major issues. 

River Place Residence in Sandwich Town has no running water or working fire alarms, according to the city, and must be repaired. 

"In the bathrooms, you can't take a shower. In the kitchen, you can't cook. That affects my everyday life," said Dylan White, who has lived at River Place for three years.

Last year, a group of people living without homes moved in when social agencies paired with the landlord to secure them shelter.

White said the condition of the building "started really going downhill" around Christmas of last year.

This shared kitchen sink is filled with bits of food and a dirty pan. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

According to the chief building officer John Revell, the city will consider doing the work themselves and charging it to the owner through property taxes if they don't meet Friday's deadline.

"This work that needs to be done in this building is relatively easy," said Revell. "It's a matter of just repairing sewer pipes to get the water supply reconnected and then the fire alarm needs to be repaired.

CBC News saw the inside of the building where sinks and toilets were filled with mould and feces, and bugs were in the shared shower and kitchen spaces.

One of the toilets in this shared bathroom is clogged with a full roll of toilet paper. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Yelong Li is one of the owners of River Place Residence and says the day-to-day operations of the building are handled by Property Management Solutions.

He said Thursday that a company is coming to fix the fire alarms but sewer repairs are still up in the air because there is such severe damage to the boiler room and hot water tanks.

Residents told CBC News that the copper pipes have been ripped out of the plumbing system.

Li said all tenants were served with an N13 notice about two weeks ago, which allows for renters to be evicted for demolition and repair purposes with 120 days notice.

The sinks in this shared bathroom are filled with mouldy bits of cereal. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

"We can't even stop squatters. Every now and then, we have 20 or 30 squatters in the place every day, minimum. How can we stop people from coming in?," Li said. 

Li said he's continuing to work with the property management company to try and address the many issues affecting the building. 

But for residents like White, he's now looking for a new place to live, working with Community Living Windsor to avoid having to live on the street.

"Every day, we're looking together to find a place to go because I'll be homeless if I don't find a place." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at sanjay.maru@cbc.ca.

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