Tenant says landlord would not address water woes

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Barb Sweet
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A man living in downtown St. John’s says he was without water from Monday afternoon until Thursday and could not get his landlord to respond.

Raymond Trudel was without water at his St. John’s home from Monday to Thursday, and says his landlord wouldn’t address the problem.

Thursday, city plumbing and building inspectors visited Raymond Trudel’s apartment and determined that the water valve for the unit — which is located in a different unit — had been shut off.

The city turned it back on, as a city bylaw states all residential units must be provided with water.

A spokeswoman said Friday the city was attempting to contact both the local property manager and the owner of the property in Calgary.

Before the city got involved, Trudel said, he had been going to coffee shops to use the washroom, but had also melted snow in order to flush the toilet.

“I can’t get a wash. I can’t cook nothing,” Trudel said Wednesday during the water outage.

He noticed his toilet wasn’t functioning Monday afternoon and, after initial contact with his landlord, lost all his water.

According to Trudel, the water cut out after he had a dispute with his landlord over an allegation of unpaid rent. Trudel said he showed the landlord handwritten receipts last weekend.

He also said he has not received an eviction notice.

Attempts by The Telegram to contact the property management company he rents from have been unsuccessful.

The Telegram did receive a phone call this week from a man claiming to be an employee. That employee said the water issue was a plumbing problem, but he also alluded to the rent payment dispute, questioned the validity of the receipts and said the company had other tenants’ issues to address first.

Requests for official comment from the company have gone unanswered.

While The Telegram was checking out the situation Wednesday, Trudel received a phone call from the Residential Tenancies Division, which agreed to try to contact his landlord.

But he was initially advised during the call to submit a letter to his landlord advising that the apartment is unlivable, terminating the residency immediately.

“Where am I supposed to go live then? I have nowhere to go,” Trudel said he angrily told the caller.

Afterwards, he and his girlfriend said it took them six months to find the place.

“I am just ready to lose my mind. I don’t know what to do. I’m quick with my mouth. It’s not fair to someone who is trying to do something (to help). This is all I got. Now I am stuck with nothing and being told I got to move.”

St. John’s South Liberal MHA Tom Osborne has been advocating for an overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act.

If the act were strengthened, he said, the agency could order a landlord to fix a problem, rather than force a tenant to move out over unresolved repairs.

“Landlords and tenants are bound by an antiquated act,” Osborne said, adding a new act would protect landlords as well.

“Minimum standards would alleviate many of the issues people are facing.”

A spokeswoman for Service NL said the review of the Residential Tenancies Act is ongoing and the analysis includes consultations that have already taken place as well as a review of best practices from other jurisdictions.

As for Trudel’s complaint, the spokeswoman said the Residential Tenancies Division cannot comment on specific cases.

Trudel contacted The Telegram Thursday night to say he intercepted maintenance staff from the rental company after his water was turned off again.

He said after he confronted them, the water was reinstated. The workers were at the apartment installing a smoke detector, Trudel said.

Trudel said he intends to file a formal complaint with the Residential Tenancies Division.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: The Telegram, Residential Tenancies Division, Service NL

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Recent comments

  • salt beef junkie
    April 12, 2014 - 08:46

    who is th emanaging company here and the other company in calgary?

  • Andrew
    April 11, 2014 - 21:10

    The Landlord & Tenant Act covers the landlord. I have zero faith in what they can do for the tenant. I had 6 sewage backups in my apartment in 7 days. The company we rent off, and our resident manager, called plumbers, but did little else. The plumbers didn't clean the mess up, I did. On two occasions during that week, we had to go overnight with sewage backed up in our bathtub, and our resident manager even tried to get us to leave it alone for a whole weekend. A whole week without use of our bathroom, with nowhere to go. Not the end of the world, but not very clean either. When a landlord / rental company has tenants dealing with this type of issue, they should be responsible for putting their tenants up in a sanitary environment until the situation is taken care of. I could understand if the tenants are at fault, but when it has to do with faulty systems in need of updating, landlords should be required to do more than what was done for me. I certainly do hope that this "Act" is updated, and I would like for it to take care of BOTH the Landlord and the Tenant. Fair is fair.

    • Raymond
      April 19, 2014 - 00:17

      I agree with your statement!! I have been a model resident not to mention have installed a security for (protection) from the landlord just entering my apartment willy nilly!! That was my choice but with that installation I even still offered the landlord and the management company the certificate that let's them save 10-15% on the home owners insurance!! I hope your situation has gotten better but I have done nothing wrong as well as I have been paying my rent, maintaining the property (done some plastering and painting on my own account), but not I deserve to have my water shut off and for almost 4 days leaving me with no water or toilet facilities!! They should have stepped in and got my water returned!! I had city inspectors in and they determined that the water had been shut off either by the landlord (Mike O'Dea) himself or his management company (Downtown Property Management). Since then I have been served with a 10 day eviction notice based on non payment of rent to which I have receipts as well I'm subsidized by social assistance as I have a work injury dating back 11 years!!

    • alison mercer
      April 19, 2014 - 00:34

      it is absolutely written to protect the landlord and does nothing for the tenant. It should be called the landlords law . They don't have to fix a thing and making a complaint can get you kicked out , of course, and they do kick you out to finally fix things when they want to fix it and it is a legit reason to evict. I lived in a place with mold and fungus. Yes there was some kind of fungus growing in the bathroom by the tub. The landlord finally evicted to fix the place which he had every right to do under that act. So it is laughable and pathetic when you see the mayor saying call the city. not a solution , not even close. Actually do something instead of spouting b.s. like you care and mean to do something, when all that something is is words on t.v. yes calling the the city to complain is not a solution. saying we encourage people to call the city is not a solution. I believe there was a piece on cbc about slumlords at least ten years ago and that was it. A piece on cbc which amounted to nothing. so actually make changes to the act and that is something real at least. And I mean make the changes so it is fair to the tenant too.