Apartments without heat, landlord ordered to repair

[attach]7571[/attach]The Landlord and Tenant Board has scheduled a March 6 meeting to determine whether the landlord has complied with a board order to restore heat and hot water systems, and to install working carbon monoxide detectors, in a stricken North Toronto apartment building that has been without heat since mid-February.

The heating system was shut down following discovery on Feb. 11 of a gas leak in an upper-floor apartment of the four-storey building at 2779 Yonge St. Toronto Hydro officials refuse to turn the furnace on again until the leak is fixed, leaving the 16 tenants without heat or hot water through a series of cold snaps to grip the city.

“The minute I walk into my apartment, it’s like a freezer,” said tenant Lianne Raymond. “I tend to open my oven immediately and start my space heater and close all the doors to make sure all the heat is confined to one room.”

The provincial board issued the order at an emergency hearing on Feb. 26.

Landlord Bianca Pollak told the hearing fixing the building would be a lengthy and complex procedure.

She did not respond to Town Crier requests for comment.

Separate from the Landlord and Tenant Board ruling, the municipal licencing and standards department issued a property standards order on Feb. 20, citing failure to maintain the building’s heating system. Under the provincial building code, the landlord has until March 12 to make repairs.

Pollak owns a furniture store on Yonge Street next door to the apartment building, and a series of rental four-plexes on nearby Strathgowan Avenue.

She has been spearheading a drive to replace the furniture store with an artistically elaborate 10-storey condominium. She has said publicly she hopes it will revitalize the neighbourhood.

The proposed project, known as Alaska, has met with resistance from local neighbourhood groups who argue its design is incompatible with existing architecture.