Toronto tenant stuck with no heat, water in apartment amid bitter cold temperatures

Click to play video 'Cold outside, freezing inside Toronto apartment' Cold outside, freezing inside Toronto apartment
WATCH ABOVE: The cold snap in Ontario has left some people without heat in their homes, including a Toronto woman who was told to make do with electric space heaters. As Seán O’Shea reports, she called Global News after being told it could take months to find a permanent fix – Jan 21, 2019

For six of the last ten days, Amélie Matte says the heat hasn’t been working normally in her Toronto apartment for which she pays about $2,000 in monthly rent.

It wasn’t so uncomfortable when the temperature outside was hovering around 0 C, but she said it’s been unbearable since the outside temperature in Toronto plummeted to around -20 C.

“It’s so cold, the pipes are freezing,” she said.

“This is not a comfortable way to live.”

On Monday, Matte spoke with Global News and relayed her frustration over the landlord’s response to her complaint.

She showed a block of butter sitting frozen in a holder on her kitchen counter. She said it had been there all day, reflecting the cold temperature in the apartment.

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“The butter is hard: that tells you something about the temperature in the air,” Matte said.

Nearby, the kitchen faucet wasn’t working either. Global News observed the water in her bathroom tub was not draining.

READ MORE: Residents of East York apartment calling for landlord to boost heat

Problems with the radiator system in the two-floor building above a pizza restaurant near Church Street and Wellesley Street East left Matte without heat.

After complaining to her landlord, Triovest, she said the company brought electric space heaters to be used to warm up the apartment.

She read an email from a service report indicating it might be best to wait until summer to flush and repair the system properly.

Global News contacted Triovest to ask about plans to repair the heating. An employee asked for an email explaining the issue, which was provided, but the email was not immediately returned.

READ MORE: Residents of a Toronto building without heat or hot water for 11 days; no end in sight

However, when Matte pushed the issue and after Global News contacted the company, service technicians were in her apartment attempting to find the sources of the heating issues.

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In Toronto, municipal bylaws require that tenants be guaranteed a minimum temperature of 21 C in their rental units.

A temperature reading in Matte’s apartment, crudely taken with a kitchen thermometer, showed the temperature at about 10 C.

“The City of Toronto’s heat bylaw requires landlords to supply heat to all residential units. We encourage the tenant to contact 311 with their concern, so that an officer with Municipal Licensing and Standards can investigate,” said Lyne Kyle, a policy adviser with the City of Toronto, who contacted Global News after hearing about Matte’s predicament.

Matte said the temporary solution using space heaters is not sustainable. She worked from home on Monday after being instructed not to leave the heaters turned on without supervision or overnight.