Cold Tenant Wants Answers

15

Home is the place you pay to live in that’s supposed to keep you out of the cold. But what happens when your home is almost as cold as the Great Northern outdoors?

For one local woman, that’s a reality.

Cheryl Miller moved into her townhouse – after some confusion about which unit she was moving into – at Timothy Place in August, not knowing the problems that would bestow her in the near future.

“When I moved in, I had a couple of boxes missing – there was somebody here that was putting in light fixtures, so I thought he might have thrown them out by mistake, that happens,” she told SaultOnline. “But, I still never found them and I’ve been here since August so they might have been just thrown out.”

Missing boxes were just the beginning.

Broken door jams (resulting in the use of a butcher knife to keep the door shut), and leaky doors and windows (that have vapour barrier taped over them) are other issues that that have popped up since she moved in.

Miller, who lives with multiple myeloma – a rare form of cancer – needs to keep her medication at room temperature and is worried she can’t, as she can’t keep her house warmer than 20 degrees Celsius without the help of space heaters and the oven due to the drafts, and some parts of her house don’t heat up at all, such as the kitchen.

“I only found out after I moved in that I was sick,” she explained, “so it was already too late (to move somewhere else).”

Most recently, she’s also been dealing with flooding in her basement as well as water in her upstairs bedroom, which she believes is coming in through the ceiling.

“I’m just tired. I’m tried of freezing,” she said. “You figure if you’re paying that much for rent, and you’re almost paying that much for PUC, you’ve got to be a millionaire to live here.”

Red Brick Rentals, based out of Hamilton, owns this complex here in the Sault. Over the years, this company has received numerous complaints from tenants in the various buildings they own, who are in the same situation as Miller in their dealings with the company.

Miller herself has sent multiple emails to RBR’s Sr. Asset Manager Brenda Howes, and says, although she’s getting a response, she feels like she’s getting nowhere.

Being on a fixed income, Miller said it’s very difficult to pay to try and keep her place heated. She said Howes told her they’d compensate some of the heating costs by sending her a $250 rebate for the months of January, February and March, but she hasn’t received anything yet.

“I want to live in my home. I don’t want to live in one bedroom and half of my living room where it’s warm,” she said. “Who wants to go make supper when it’s cold? Unless we turn the oven on first and then it heats up a little bit down there. It’s just not the type of place I like living in.”

As she feels nothing is being done, Miller has taken her case to the city – who has passed it to their legal department – as well as the Landlord-Tenant Tribunal. SaultOnline reached out to the city, but they couldn’t comment as this is an active enforcement.

She said other tenants she’s spoken to are dealing with similar issues, but are afraid to speak out in case they get kicked out of their homes.

“I’m fighting for what I believe in,” she said. “I know (Red Brick Rentals) should be doing something about it. We’re not just a number; we’re a name.

“And that’s what people out there have to realize. If you’re not going to treat us like human beings? We deserve a lot more than what they’re doing for us right now.”

SaultOnline also reached out to Red Brick Rentals, who sent this statement in response:

“Each issue that has been brought to our attention by Cheryl Miller have been handled with diligence by our team, and in accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act.
To assist her in this situation further, Ms. Miller was notified by us via email of a rental concession back in October 2018 to help with the PUC costs during the winter months.  Also, we employ a full-time Superintendent onsite along with an emergency program to ensure tenants issues are dealt with promptly.
We will continue to communicate with Ms Miller as we have done, in order to resolve any further issues that need to be addressed, as we strive to provide great tenant service for all of our properties.”

 

In the meantime, Miller is number six on the list for a townhouse through Sault Housing.

“I can’t wait until I get a call,” she said. “Because I’ll just move.”

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Megan Pounder is an enthusiastic individual who's always striving to learn and grow. She's been a part of the SaultOnline team since May 2018. She has an Advanced Diploma in Journalism: Online, Broadcast and Print from Loyalist College. Along with her diploma, she has some freelance video journalism and social media experience. Growing up in Prince Edward County sparked her enthusiasm for all things nature. When she isn't reporting, you can find her reading, jamming out to music, or looking for new adventures.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Used to live at 13 Timothy back in 2013 to 2016, basement and doors leaked then too. Had to get it fixed many times. New door seals every winter, attempts to fix the leaks in the basement with no success!!

  2. I am still waiting repairs 2 years now puc paying through the nose we are heating the outside two years smoke detector still hanging by a thread cuboard doors on the floor door busted Frozen in most times windows don’t open proper rats holes and they just keep promising repairs still waiting to this date I refuse to pay rent next I done time for court!

  3. This is the story in the Sault. Companies from out of town purchase all the real estate here, and these problems continue on for years because rent is pay direct. Your options are to “not pay your rent, so that they fix the problems” only to end up out on your bungholio because Landlords have everyone in their pockets and we’re just a number to them. I’ve had more than my share of problems with my unit as well. None which have been repaired by the company, all of which I have repaired either myself or had someone else do the repairs. After all, waiting for them to fix it isn’t something we have the patience for. We move out, they never fix the problem, someone else moves in and it continues. Again, sad story here but typical of what goes on in the Sault. These out of town companies NEVER fix anything. They get away with it because they ignore the problems. No matter how many times we complain, nothing ever gets done! Total representation of Slum Lord Ownership!

  4. Red Brick Rentals should be ashamed of themselves. They are quick to collect the rent but very slow to fix tenant complaints.There are minimum heat standards when renting an apartment. Water leakage should be fixed the very day it is reported. Why are our city inspectors not helping this lady? Red Brick needs to be taken to court pronto. Hopefully someone has an alternative place to rent to this lady at a reasonable cost…she deserves it.

  5. I think it is time to call the Land Lord Tenant board and the city inspector!
    Once the landlord tenant board is notified tell them that rent is being held until repairs are made!
    There is no way that Red Brick is doing their jobs in keeping these places up to code!?
    This is bullshit. If this was my mother in the situation I would be furious!

  6. Just moved here from GTA last April our plan was to move in an apartment and then after a year move to these townhouses. We ended up loving our landlord and have decided to stay here until we can buy our own home. In the last few months I have read lots of bad things about these town homes. I am glad we found a good landlord. I hope this lady can find peace soon

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