After shivering inside their homes for a week, most of the tenants of an apartment building in midtown Toronto now have heat.
Local councillor Josh Matlow shared the news in a tweet posted late Thursday afternoon.
He said up to 80 per cent of the 200 or so residents of The Fleetwood at 64 St. Clair Ave. W., just west of Yonge Street, now have their heat restored.
“City staff remain on site this evening and we will not stop until the radiators are back on, and every resident is safe and warm,” the Toronto-St. Paul’s representative wrote.
64 St. Clair Ave W. Update: I can now confirm that 80% of tenants now have their heat restored. City staff remain on site this evening and we will not stop until the radiators are back on, and every resident is safe and warm.— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) February 2, 2023
The City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards (MLS) division confirmed the news, adding staff are “continuing to engage with the tenants about heat in their individual units and will remain on site to monitor progress.”
This news comes as temperatures are set to plummet to minus 19 C tonight. Environment Canada says with the wind chill it'll feel more like minus 30 Celsius. The national weather agency is forcasting that the frigid weather is expected to continue tomorrow throughout much of the province.
Earlier this week, frustrated tenants at The Fleetwood reached out to Matlow as well as Mayor John Tory and local MPP Jill Andrew for help after making several unsuccessful attempts to contact building management and ownership about their concerns.
Among the first to step in to provide assistance was Matlow, who called the situation "deplorable" and "inhumane." He said it shouldn't have taken a city intervention to act.
Matlow said after speaking with tenants he reached out to staff from the city’s RentSafeTO bylaw enforcement program, which ensures apartment building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards.
The City of Toronto, in an email to CTV News Toronto, said it received a total of five complaints about low heat and two about property standards from the building’s tenants.
“Bylaw enforcement officers are actively working with the property owner, management company, tenants and the tenant association group to resolve the issues with low heat. Staff have been on site, door knocking to check in on tenants in all the units, and engaging with tenants,” city spokesperson Mike Hajmasy said, adding the city also helped with the distribution of space heaters to tenants.
“The City is aware that the property owner and management company continue to work with a technician to fix the heat issue and ensure compliance with the bylaws. Staff continue to be on site and actively monitor the situation at 64 St. Clair Ave. W. as a priority.”
The city said as of Feb. 1 it has issued two Notices of Violation and two Property Standards Orders to the building’s owners.
“Further enforcement action, such as issuing tickets or a summons to court, will depend on the outcome of these investigations. Determination of fine amounts will then depend on the outcome of the court process,” he said.
Building owners could be fined up to $100,000 or $10,000 a day if they are found guilty of property violations and do not take action to resolve them. They may also be required to pay a special fine for economic gains from the bylaw violation, Hajmasy noted.
On Wednesday night, Briar Lane Rental Property Management/Fleetwood Property Management posted signs throughout the building advising tenants about the repairs being done to “eliminate the issues we have been experiencing with the boiler system.”
In the meantime, they offered to provide tenants with space heaters as well as a reimbursement for hydro use “during the down time.”
A Jan. 30 notice from management also assured tenants that they’ve been working on repairs to the building's boiler system.
"There will be a system audit to cover off any items that need attention to ensure we can maintain integrity with the heating going forward. This is independent of the contractor we have working on the day to day operations," the memo read.
CP24 and CTV News Toronto have made several attempts to seek comment from property management, but they haven't responded to any of our requests.
Earlier today, Tory stopped by the apartment to “check on residents and speak to management.”
“Repairs to heating system ongoing and fingers crossed on early completion,” he wrote on social media.
Tory said he also contacted the building’s landlord and “urged that no money or time be spared in effecting repairs and they said they got the message.”
So far this year, the City of Toronto said it has received 115 service requests for adequate heat from individual rental units.
A total of 88 service requests are now closed after compliance was achieved or after no bylaw violation was noted meaning the heat in units were not below 21 degrees Celsius.
The remaining 25 service requests, including those from 64 St. Clair Ave. W., are still being investigated, MLS told CTV News Toronto.
With files from CP24's Bryann Aguilar.