NEWS

No heat for weeks in Saint-Laurent apartment buildings

11/26/2013 09:14 EST | Updated 01/26/2014 05:59 EST
Tenants living in a pair of apartment buildings in Montreal say they have been forced to live in inhumane conditions, after weeks without heat.  

Fourari Abdel Hakin lives in the 15-storey Joie de Vivre apartment buliding at 155 Deguire Blvd in the Saint-Laurent borough. 

He pays $864 a month for his rent, which normally includes heat. 

But for two weeks he and his family have been in the cold.

“We are being treated like animals, or even worse than them,” Abdel Hakin said.

Abdel Hakin said the company that manages his building -— CAPREIT — first told tenants that the faulty heaters wouldn’t be replaced until Dec. 15.

Since then, the company has said the heat may be turned back on as early as today. 

The company was not available to comment this morning and the company refused requests for interviews yesterday. 

In the meantime, some tenants have resorted to using their stoves to heat their apartments.

'We sleep in the heaviest jackets'

Mireille Hamouche lives in the same building with her two children. 

Hamouche said the building management did hand out electric space heaters, which she is running all day long, despite the added cost on her electricity bills.

She told CBC Daybreak host Mike Finnerty that the cold has been taking a toll on her family.

“My kids are sick. I’m now sick,” she said.

“We sleep in the heaviest jackets. We have a miserable time functioning. When you’re cold you can’t do anything. My kids can’t study,” she said.

CAPREIT linked to fatal garage collapse

This isn't the first time that CAPREIT, a Toronto-based Canadian real estate firm — has been questioned about the state of its buildings. 

The parking garage at one of the company's Saint-Laurent buildings collapsed in 2008, crushing a man to death.

At the time, CAPREIT officials said the garage had been repaired by a previous owner, and there was no way the company could have predicted the collapse. 

The company also manages a building in Vancouver that dealt with a major bedbug infestation in 2009. 

Then, In 2010, a group of residents in a Calgary housing complex, also managed by CAPREIT, told CBC News that their town homes were dangerous and unsanitary — rife with with leaks, mould, cracks, and holes in ceilings and walls.

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