NEWS

Scarborough home leak dispute drags on 36 years

07/03/2012 08:52 EDT | Updated 09/02/2012 05:12 EDT
An elderly Scarborough resident is refusing to back down from a 36-year-old dispute with a property management company over a leak in her basement, and she's taking the fight to court next week.

Fern Sheppard, 81, said she was raised never to back down from a fight.

She bought her Scarborough town home in 1976 and discovered after one week that water was seeping into her basement. Sheppard asked her property management company to fix the cracks in the outer wall.

"To make a long story short, it's been a battle royale ever since," she said.

Sheppard's furniture is buried beneath hundreds of letters detailing correspondences with her property management company. The letters contain back-and-forth arguments over who's responsible.

Meanwhile, with each heavy rainfall, more water continues to seep in.

'Water pouring in'

Andrew Cigna, Sheppard's home inspector, said he's used to seeing a little bit of moisture penetrating the walls in other home inspections.

"But this was actually water pouring in," said Cigna, who works for Above All Emergency Services.

The problem is estimated to cost thousands of dollars to fix. While Cigna said the property manager has patched above ground, the problem is underneath.

"They have to dig down all around the house, and water-proof all around the footings to do their job properly," he said.

The property management company would not comment on camera, as the case is before the courts. But the company said the problem is Sheppard won't let their engineers inside.

Sheppard, who has since developed a mould allergy and has trouble breathing, wants the company to pay for an independent contractor.

Asked why she doesn't simply give up and move out, Sheppard said that was out of the question.

"Why should I give up? This isn't right. That's my point," she said.

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