Tenants pursue winter power costs

Tenants of Villa Vista apartment felt they were forced to go public with their complaints about a lack of heat in their building during a cold snap in January.

They contacted politicians and the media when heating issues that had stretched back for weeks were aggravated by sub-zero temperatures in January. The heat in the building had been off since Dec. 10, and some units said their heating issues stretched back farther than that.

The management of the building, Mainstreet Equity, had the boiler fixed in a matter of days. The company said at the time that they had supplied the tenants with electric heaters, and they would be reimbursed for additional power costs kept keeping their units warm.

Now, tenants have complained to their MLA, John van Dongen, that the company has still not reimbursed them for the energy costs seven months later.

Richard and Pat Beaulieu said their Hydro bill was $27 higher over the period, after using an electric fireplace as the primary heat source to keepir the apartment live-able. Richard told the News the Mainstreet’s position is that he will not be reimbursed until all the tenants submit their claims. He has submitted his paperwork, but said other tenants have moved away, been evicted, or can’t be bothered.

“Way too much time has gone by,” said Beaulieu, a resident of the building for 17 years. “If I’m one day late with my rent, they ding me $50.”

Van Dongen said Mainstreet’s position makes no sense. He wrote to the company on behalf of the tenants over what he termed “a broken promise to reimburse tenants for additional electricity costs incurred throughout an extended failure by the landlord to provide heat in the building.

He said the amount of money is not as important as the principle that renters must be dealt with fairly.

“This approach to tenants is not acceptable,” he said.

Tracy Alano, the regional manager for Mainstreet, said the company sought to have all the tenants bring their bills forward, so they could determine an average power increase. She said that has not happened.

“I will follow up with my resident manager,” said Alano.

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