Tenants returning to 260 Wellesley after power outage face rent increase

Residents at 260 Wellesley St. E. were outraged when management notified them of a rent increase only a week after a power outage left many of them paying for hotels. Kamil Karamali reports.

Residents of 260 Wellesley St E say they’re just getting back on their feet after spending four days without heat, water and power — but they’re floored by a rent increase notice only a week after the incident.

“It’s horse-s—,” said Amanda Brown, who has lived in the 33-storey building for six years.

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“They slipped it through the door and it just said there was going to be a $26 dollar increase. But there are still fire alarms going off and security is still here,” said Brown, implying that not all is back to normal since the power outage.

Building management confirmed to Global News that many of the building’s residents have been notified of a 1.8-per-cent increase to their rent per month.

The notice comes more than a week after a pipe burst in the building’s electrical room, knocking out water, heat and power in the St. James Town apartment building.

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READ MORE: Burst pipe, flooding knocks out utilities at Toronto highrise

Many families said they felt forced to find another place to stay — or freeze inside their units — for the nearly four days while crews worked to fix the issue.

Some tenants said they paid money out of their own pockets for hotel rooms and other accomodations and were hoping to be reimbursed. Instead, they’re now facing a rent hike.

“They should have done something for the period of time we suffered,” said Soumya Mohanti, who said she paid more than $700 to rent a room elsewhere during the power outage.

READ MORE: Power, water slowly being restored to Toronto highrise after 3-day outage

“Yet, we did not get anything from them — so its not a good thing that they’re increasing the rent.”

“I think we should be getting rental rebates for everything,” added Brown. “A lot of people had to go to hotels and lost food because of the freezer and fridge [not working] so a lot of people have a lot of debt to deal with.”

In response, WPSQ property managers said they had prepared to send out the notices prior to the power outage incident and that the 1.8 per cent rent increase is a standard year-over-year increase.

It adds that the notice went out to a handful of tenants whose rental agreement started in May.

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