Residents of Toronto apartment buildings bring 100 complaints to management
The residents of two Toronto apartment buildings marched down to a Hazelview Properties office to have their concerns about repairs, bedbugs and disruptive construction heard but fear no one is listening.
Tenants from 103 and 105 West Lodge and 128 Sheridan Avenue banded together to bring more than 100 repair forms and a list of demands to the Hazelview office at 200 Dufferin St. on Aug. 10, according to Parkdale Organize.
"Hazelview neglects tenants' units while pursuing unnecessary cosmetic upgrades that turn their buildings into construction sites," Parkdale Organize wrote in a post.
There are many issues that management ignores, West Lodge tenant Paterson Hodgson tells blogTO
"We just went up the ladder, basically, we just wanted to go to the regional office here," Hodgson says, adding she was one of about 30 people who went to the office on Dufferin Street.
The complaints range from rats, mice, cockroaches and a severe bedbug outbreak to repairs needed for holes in the walls, broken tiles, leaks and "huge" problems with mold.
"There has been a huge uptick in pests since they started construction on the building last summer and this summer — everything is just shook up," she says.
In her own unit, Hodgson says she has been asking for a new balcony door and was told they didn't have one and now her requests are being ignored.
Landlord: if you have a problem go file it with the building office.— Cole Webber (@colefwebber) August 11, 2021
Parkdale tenants: pic.twitter.com/PebRCTr6qw
Hazelview purchased the property in late 2018 and West Lodge has a long history of issues, says Colleen Krempulec, vice president of brand marketing and corporate social responsibility at Hazelview.
"We have been working very hard to address years and years, if not decades of neglect," Krempulec tells blogTO.
Krempulec says people can submit maintenance requests in a number of ways online or in person.
"We always review and address needed repairs as a priority," she says.
She says they are working through the requests from Aug. 10 and many repairs are already underway.
Krempulec says since they took over the property in 2018, they have completed over 3,000 in unit repairs.
Krempulec says she hasn't heard of a bedbug problem but they have had professional pest control companies come in and they will continue to do this.
Today tenants of @west_lodge & 128 Sheridan confronted Hazelview about doing cosmetic work & offering new more expensive units instead of addressing problems in occupied ones. It’s obvious what Hazelview's trying to pull & tenants are determined to turn this process around. pic.twitter.com/dbTs24nt82— Sophia Ілиняк (@sophia_ilyniak) August 10, 2021
Hodgson says there is work being done in and around the building. They are redoing the hallways and outside landscaping — both of which are disruptive and creating a lot of dust. Hodgson says the fixes are cosmetic. Parkdale Organize says the fixes are a way to impress investors and push out people and increase the rent.
But Krempulec says there is a revitalization happening — including outdoor spaces, a library and gardens. She says these changes were made in response to feedback from residents.
"I would not call them cosmetic — these are investments that will revitalize the safety and enjoyment for all residents."
Another request from the tenants is a mailroom. Right now, because of the pandemic and safety concerns, they have to get their mail from a Canada Post truck at a certain time of the day.
"They have managed to renovate almost 200 units in that time, they managed to renovate the parking garage, they managed to put in all this landscaping outside but they can't put in mail rooms," says Hodgson.
A lot of seniors in the building rely on the mail.
But Krempulec says a mailroom is coming and should be in the building by the end of the year.
There are also about 200 empty units in the building, which has impacted the nearby Parkdale Public School, says teacher Ashleigh Doherty. The school has seen a decrease in enrollment and funding.
"It really just means that conditions for those kids both at their school and in their building have gotten worse because of what Hazelview is trying to do," Doherty says.
Krempulec says some units were vacant when they bought the building and they had many issues that needed fixing before they turned their attention to repairing the units. Heat and hot water systems, elevators needed to be replaced or fixed, and plumbing pipes needed to be replaced.
"This notion that we are holding vacant units is simply not true," Krempulec says.
She says they have and will continue to turn their attention to renting the vacant units.
Today tenants from West Lodge and 128 Sheridan, both owned by Hazelview Properties, confronted the "community manager" Mo Saeed and regional manager Ronen Bachar at their Toronto South Office located in 200 Dufferin. pic.twitter.com/QJAice4ApG— Parkdale Organize (@ParkdaleOrg) August 10, 2021
Doherty believes this is a cop-out and points to a case in Ottawa where a Hazelview (then Timbercreek) development was demolished.
Krempulec says everything they are doing is for the benefit of the tenants and there is no need for concern.
For now, Hodgson says the tenants who went to Hazelview have given them one week to respond to demands.
"We expect to hear from them by Tuesday (Aug. 17) and if we don't that's a response in and of itself."
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