FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A resident of Totem II apartment complex in Fort St. John says, after weeks without a working boiler to heat units and a particularly cold Christmas, she’s getting little help from the property manager.
Lori Beech says she started to notice her unit was cool on December 3rd, and by December 4th, there was no heat coming from her radiator.
She asked some neighbours on other floors if they were cold, and they had the same problem.
“That was the Sunday, and I called Action Property and said, I’m cold,” said Beech. “I never received a phone call back. On Monday, I get home from work and there’s a note on the door saying the boiler went out. It’s not that you don’t have heat, you have some heat.”
Beech says residents on other floors started noticing their balcony doors were frosted over, something she says is dangerous.
“If there was a fire in the hallway, they’re not getting out because the balconies don’t open.”
When it got down to near minus 40, Beech says tenants were tempted to use their ovens to heat their units or buy additional space heaters at their own expense.
“I phoned and asked if they would give us a break on the rent because heat is included in our rent. I was flat out told no. Then I asked, what about our hydro bills because I have to keep my oven running and run these heaters.”
Beech says the property manager told her if her heat or electricity bill went up, she could bring it in and Action would see what they could do in January.
“None of us are rolling in money. There’s a lot of foreign people that don’t want to say anything because they’re scared of getting evicted. I ask if they’re cold, and they say yes, but they can’t afford a heater and don’t want to say anything.”
Beech says she saw the maintenance person at the building the other day, and when she asked when the new boiler would arrive, the maintenance person said it’s already arrived.
“He’s like, it’s here, but they just don’t have anyone to put it in. He said the timeframe looks like sometime next week.”
Beech says it’s frustrating that the boiler is there, but no preparations were made to get it installed promptly.
“In the last letter, they’re like, as soon as it gets here, someone will put it in. I’m thinking, it’s Christmas now. The boiler’s here, they should have been on it and organized and had someone, even though it’s December 23rd, ready and waiting there.”
“I don’t make lots of money, but I work. I could just go somewhere else, but the point is, I shouldn’t have to move from this apartment.”
Energeticcity reached out to Action Property Management near the beginning of December after hearing reports of boiler problems in the building. The company has yet to respond.