Residents of two Toronto apartment buildings have come to an office at Hazelview Properties to voice concerns about repairs, bedbugs and disruptive construction, but fear no one will listen.
Tenants at 103 and 105 West Lodge and 128 Sheridan Avenue joined together to bring more than 100 repair forms and a list of requests to the Hazelview office at 200 Dufferin Street on August 10, according to Parkdale Organize.
âHazelview neglects tenant units while pursuing unnecessary cosmetic upgrades that turn their buildings into construction sites,â Parkdale Organize wrote in an article.
There are a lot of issues that management ignores, West Lodge tenant Paterson Hodgson told blogTO
âWe just came up through the ranks, basically we just wanted to go to the regional office here,â Hodgson said, adding that she was one of about 30 people who came to the Dufferin Street office.
Complaints range from rats, mice, cockroaches and a serious bedbug outbreak to needed repairs for holes in walls, broken tiles, leaks and “huge” mold problems.
âThere has been a huge increase in pests since they started construction on the building last summer and this summer – everything is just turned upside down,â she says.
In her own unit, Hodgson says she asked for a new balcony door and was told they don’t have one and now her requests are being ignored.
Owner: if you have a problem, go and drop it off at the office of the building.
Parkdale tenants: pic.twitter.com/PebRCTr6qw
– Cole Webber (@colefwebber) August 11, 2021
Hazelview purchased the property in late 2018 and West Lodge has a long history of trouble, said Colleen Krempulec, vice president of brand marketing and corporate social responsibility at Hazelview.
âWe have worked very hard to remedy years and years, if not decades of neglect,â Krempulec told blogTO.
Krempulec says there are a number of ways people can submit maintenance requests online or in person.
âWe always review and deal with necessary repairs as a priority,â she says.
She says they are working on the Aug. 10 requests and that many repairs are already underway.
Krempulec says that since taking over the property in 2018, they have completed more than 3,000 unit repairs.
Krempulec says she hasn’t heard of a bedbug problem, but they’ve brought in professional pest control companies and will continue to do so.
Today the tenants of @west_lodge & 128 Sheridan confronted Hazelview about cosmetic work and offering new, more expensive units instead of solving occupied units issues. It is obvious what Hazelview is trying to pull off and the tenants are determined to reverse this process. pic.twitter.com/dbTs24nt82
– Sophia Ð¸Ð½ÑÐº (@sophia_ilyniak) August 10, 2021
Hodgson says work is being done in and around the building. They are redoing the hallways and exterior landscaping, both of which are disruptive and create a lot of dust. Hodgson says the fixes are cosmetic. Parkdale Organize says the patches are a way to impress investors, kick people out, and raise the rent.
But Krempulec says there is revitalization going on – including outdoor spaces, a library and gardens. She says these changes were made in response to feedback from residents.
“I wouldn’t call them cosmetics – these are investments that will revitalize the safety and enjoyment of all residents.”
Another request from tenants is a mail room. Right now, due to the pandemic and security concerns, they have to get their mail from a Canada Post truck at a certain time of day.
âThey managed to renovate almost 200 units during that time, they managed to renovate the parking garage, they managed to put all this landscaping outside, but they can’t install mail rooms,â explains Hodgson.
Many of the older people in the building depend on the mail.
But Krempulec says a mailroom is coming and should be in the building by the end of the year.
There are also around 200 empty units in the building, which impacted the nearby Parkdale Public School, teacher Ashleigh Doherty said. The school has seen a drop in enrollment and funding.
âIt just means that the conditions for these kids both in their school and in their apartment building have worsened because of what Hazelview is trying to do,â Doherty said.
Krempulec says some units were vacant when they bought the building and they had a lot of issues to sort out before they focused on repairing the units. Heating and hot water systems, elevators had to be replaced or repaired, and plumbing pipes had to be replaced.
âThis idea that we have vacant housing is just not true,â Krempulec said.
She says they have and will continue to focus on renting vacant homes.
Today, tenants of West Lodge and 128 Sheridan, both owned by Hazelview Properties, confronted âcommunity managerâ Mo Saeed and Regional Manager Ronen Bachar at their Toronto South office located at 200 Dufferin. pic.twitter.com/QJAice4ApG
– Organize Parkdale (@ParkdaleOrg) August 10, 2021
Doherty believes this is a loophole and reports a case in Ottawa where a Hazelview (then Timbercreek) development was demolished.
Krempulec says that everything they do is in the best interests of the tenants and that there is nothing to worry about.
For now, Hodgson says tenants who have made it to Hazelview have given them a week to respond to requests.
“We expect to hear from them by Tuesday (August 17) and if we don’t, that’s an answer in itself.”