Since Tuesday, February 11, the residents of 2779 Yonge Street have been without heat and hot water. Early in the morning of February 11, one of the residents of the building called 911 when she noticed a strange odour in her apartment. Emergency crews arrived and found high levels of carbon monoxide in the building, caused by a furnace malfunction. The building was evacuated until that afternoon when residents were permitted to return to their homes.
CTV, February 11
City News, February 11
The Technical and Safety Standards Authority has condemned the furnace, but landlord Bianca Pollock claims that she is unable to do the necessary repairs. In the meantime, residents of the building have been keeping as warm as they can by using space heaters and electric blankets, running their ovens, and boiling water.
Councillor Jaye Robinson has been working with various city departments on the residents’ behalf. According to Councillor Robinson, although the city has fined the landlord for bylaw infractions, it does not have the authority to compel her to take the necessary measures to restore heat and hot water.
The residents of the building have applied for an emergency hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26. The residents will ask the LTB to hold their rent payments until the landlord has made the necessary repairs to the building heating system. The residents will also ask the LTB for an order requiring the landlord to remunerate them for the number of days of without heat and hot water and for any additional costs incurred because of the outage.
2779 Yonge is one of the four properties earmarked by owner Bianca Pollock for the controversial ‘Alaska’ condominium. In addition to the application to amend the zoning bylaw, the Alaska file includes a Rental Housing Demolition and Conversion application. According to Chapter 667 of the Municipal Code, the City requires that existing rental units be replaced with the same number, size and type of rental units at similar rents. The City also secures the tenants’ right to return to the replacement units and relocation assistance for existing tenants.
According to the residents, the current heating outage is only the latest episode in a series of problems at 2779 Yonge and 15-17 and 19-21 Strathgowan. The residents report that the buildings have not been properly maintained for some time, despite their frequent complaints.
Toronto Star, February 21
Global News, February 21
Global News, February 24
The Uptown Yonge Neighbourhood Alliance supports the Tenants of Yonge and Strathgowan in their efforts to have their basic rights as tenants respected–rights guaranteed by the Residential Tenancies Act.