Fight for your right to heat
In a CJAD 800 News exclusive first brought to you this morning, we told you about Côte-des-Neiges tenants struggling to get heat in their apartment building.
Tenants rights groups say, don't put up with it.
"We frequently get complaints about heating especially when it's cold like now," said Arnold Bennett, director of the Housing Hotline, which receives dozens of calls every winter about this issue.
Ted Wright of the Westmount Legal Clinic said excuses and explanations such as trying to get things fixed or working on the problem doesn't cut it.
"It's a sob story. Bring out the violins for the landlords because the law says clearly the landlord has to have heat adequate for the building," Wright said.
That means 21 degrees Celsius. Anything below that is grounds for a Rental Board claim for compensation or an order to fix it. That could take awhile.
"Since heating issues are considered to be an urgent cause, it takes basically 1.8 months to be resolved," said Geneviève Trudel, spokesperson for the Rental Board. Heating complaints are not counted as a separate file but grouped under cases related to the lease such as non-payment of rent.
So tenants rights groups say document everything and take matters into your own hands: bill the landlords for additional Hydro costs sch as space heaters or sic the city inspectors on them.
"They will come in and check the system and order the landlord to solve the problem or he will get fined," Bennett said.
Trudel said the amount of the fines depend on the case.
Last year, the Rental Board logged in over 25,000 cases of lease related problems including heating.
Arnold Bennett Tenants Rights Hotline and Walk-in Clinic
Phone: 514-488-0412 or 514-990-0190, Mon–Fri, 9am–9pm
6462 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, #2 (corner Cavendish)
1440 rue Stanley Room 517
Westmount Legal Clinic Hotline and Walk-in Clinic
4585 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
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