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Landlord can't provide a move-in date after adjacent apartment was damaged by fire.

BroloBrolo BroseidonLord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
So my wife (33, 6 months pregnant) and I (34 m) have had a bit of a rough time. Our low-rise apartment on St.Clair caught on fire January 8th. All six units of our building were evacuated, with the 1st floor west-side apartment catching fire. Thankfully, nobody was injured, and all animals (including our two cats) were brought out safely.

Our landlord informed us on the day of the fire that we would back inside of our house within a few days. In the meantime, we were able to stay with my father-in-law.

We were able to contact our insurance, who told us we could claim up to $5200 in living expenses, which included clothes, food, room and board, and the cost of kenneling our cats.

After meeting with our insurance inspector the day after the fire, they determined that there was little-to-no damage to our unit, with only a faint smoke smell. The landlord's remediation company brought in air purifying fans to clean the air inside the apartment as well.

Jan 9: we were informed that our apartment would not be available until early the next week. Reason: needed the fire inspection company to check the safety of the building.

Jan 16: Delay until "late next week" (Jan 23/24th?). Reason: The landlord is replacing the gas lines.

Jan 23: Delay until "next week" (Jan 31st). Reason: Gas lines, fire safety still taking time.

Jan 31: Delay until "We are now only talking days". Reason: fire system has a defective unit. Gas work is complete.

Feb 4: Delay until "at least 2 weeks". Reason: Remediation company needs to sandblast and varnish the damaged units. This would create fumes in the existing units.

In addition to this, our landlord also included an addendum:
On top of this … I had a "reality revelation" this morning ... it's turning out to be a much bigger job than anyone EVER could have imagined. Winmar says that given ALL the various stages the project has to go through (including engineering, permits, all components of construction and many various inspections) it will be a minimum of 6 months, but more probably even 9 months, before the whole building is complete. Sadly they do not move from apartment to apartment, but ALL similar systems are done at the same time. That means all the framing happens (in all 3 apartments and basement), then all the electrical, then all the plumbing etc... in series. Only after the WHOLE job is complete will the hallway painting and new carpets be completed, and then the apartments be reoccupied.

At this point, we're getting a little desperate. As we are no longer able to stay with family, we're paying for an AirBnB using the remainder of our insurance living expenses. Our cats are no longer able to stay at the kennel, and the continued expenses for that are higher than we can afford. Leaving the city to stay with other family is currently not an option due to job constraints.

Our short term plans include:

Looking for a less-expensive AirBnB or short-term stay. It's difficult to judge how long we'll need it for, given the history of delays.
Getting in touch with the Toronto Tenants association
Contacting a lawyer for advice (no idea where to start with this)

Long term plans:

We're not sure if we're being "renovicted" out of our home, or if there's anything we can do to get back in more quickly. We're in the process of looking for another apartment to rent long-term.

Is there anything else I should be doing at this point? Or any additional resources or advice that people recommend?


  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Make sure you aren’t being charged rent for this period of time.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User regular
    Contact a tenants association and a lawyer. The tenants association may be able to let you know how to get a lawyer referral.

    In America I'd say there may be a state law about landlords paying for you to live somewhere else while an apartment is "unlivable". No idea on Canada law. Talk to a lawyer to see if they can help you point out the law to the landlord and either get them to put you up somewhere else or move you into a different unit/building that doesn't have this issue.

    VishNubCambiatatynicLostNinjaElvenshaeceresShadowfireFuzzy Cumulonimbus Clouddispatch.okimeCelloMoridin889BouwsTNightDragon
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    It sounds like you're being renovicted, yes. They're dragging their feet (key points: the landlord is doing the gas work themselves instead of hiring a specialist to come out and do it quickly, and the sheer point of them dragging this out as long as fucking possible), and they're going to keep dragging it until your money or your patience runs out and you go elsewhere.

    Is there any way you can contact Winmar yourselves and confirm this with them? Make a copy of any communication you've had with your landlord, and show it to them and see if the landlord is trying the renoviction route, and they might not be so happy if the landlord is trying to use them for a reason to chuck everyone under the bus.

    I also found this article on Toronto and renoviction, maybe some of the phone numbers and groups in it might be great places to start looking for ways to fight back?


  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    at least in the us, this would fall under a nonhabitable clause and give y ou the right to break your lease withouth penalty

    spool32EncKetarKruiteShadowfireSo It GoesMoridin889NightDragon
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    A similar thing happened with us. Sometimes damage is much more than one realizes. Our landlord tried to offer some different places but when we didn’t want any of them was content to let us break the lease.

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    Quid wrote: »
    A similar thing happened with us. Sometimes damage is much more than one realizes. Our landlord tried to offer some different places but when we didn’t want any of them was content to let us break the lease.


    You shouldn't be paying rent while you wait for your home to be available again, but depending on the landlords insurance companies, weather, and availability of a cleanup crew smoke damage can be a HUGE pain in the ass to deal with.

    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I had water damage occur when an upstairs neighbor moved out and left a drain plugged with the tap running on a holiday weekend just to be an asshole.

    The company got a moving company to switch our unit and reimbursed the connection fee to get cable transferred. They didn't do it because they were nice, they did it because they were terrified of a lawsuit. So while I am not a lawyer, I'm pretty sure you have rights to a livable space if you're paying.

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