Posted December 15, 2020
KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Tenants of Harbour View Towers rallied outside the lobby of the large apartment complex on Brunswick Street in Halifax. They were there to draw attention to a lack of heat and several other issues that their landlord CAPREIT has so far not addressed.
Some tenants say that they haven’t been able to turn the heat on since last winter.
“I don’t have heat, it’s pretty cold. We’ve been complaining for a while. What happens is that a plumber comes in, they fiddle with the heat register, and they move some things around. But at the end we still don’t have heat,” says Becca, who moved into the building in September.
Becca mentions that tenants have issues with cockroaches and mice as well. She pays around $1100 a month. That’s not cheap, but given the low vacancy rate in the city it isn’t easy to find another place, she says.
Bill is another tenant who lives with his partner in a two-bedroom apartment. He too has no heat at the moment.
“I love this place, I live quite comfortably here,” he says. “But if you go in my apartment right now, the only heat is a little thing I bought from Canadian Tire. You can put your hand on the heat register and it’ll be the coldest thing in the apartment.”
Bill also mentions ants and cockroaches and mentions that the landlord is slow to deal with any issue in the apartment.
The meeting and rally outside the building was called by ACORN Nova Scotia, an organization of low and moderate income people fighting for healthy homes, a living wage and better communities across the province.
When I was there tenants were signing up to join a recently formed CAPREIT chapter.
CAPREIT is a huge company. They own 285 apartment buildings in Canada with a total of 45,120 units, 72 land lease sites (trailer parks) with a total of 11,683 lots for manufactured homes, and even own 131 apartments in the Netherlands.
An analysis by ACORN Canada suggests that in 2019, CAPREIT’s net operating income was $508 million, an increase of 15.3% over 2018.
“But it is the incredibly high profit margins that truly illustrates how much money they are making. In 2019, their net operating income margin was a stunning 65.3%,” their analysis states. That boil down to a sweet $1000 profit every minute of the day.
As well, they take CAPREIT to task for business practices that decrease the affordable housing stock.
We asked CAPREIT to respond to the complaint of the tenants of Harbour View Towers, and we will update this article when we receive their reply.
Article by Robert Devet for the Nova Scotia Advocate