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Outdoors 7c -- Apartment 21.7c -- Hallway 15.3c
So here I am sitting in a normally warm apartment, shivering in the ice cold draft from the hallway. As are several other tenants who have come to me about this.
The draft is caused by the two hallway pressure fans, at either end, blowing ice cold outdoor air into the unheated core of the building. This in turn forces it in around the door and through the mail slot. Also because the hallway walls are so cold my door itself is cold as are my side of the hallway walls. Of course all of this is leaching heat out of my apartment.
For at least 20 years, the way of dealing with this has been to simply turn off the hallway fans in cold weather. This stops the in pouring of cold air and allows the hallways to warm up quite nicely as heat is transferred from the apartment walls to the hallway.
I've written to Oliver Filip, about this a couple of times and he has flatly refused to turn off the fans.
The current St. Catharines Vital Services Bylaw is very clear on this when it says:
"adequate and suitable heat" means that the minimum temperature of the air in the accommodation which is available to the tenant or lessee is twenty (20) degrees Celsius at one and one-half (1.5) metres from above floor level and one (1) metre from exterior walls in all habitable space and in any area intended for normal use by tenants, including recreation rooms and laundry rooms but excluding locker rooms and garages;
I'm pretty sure the hallways are "intended for normal use by tenants". In fact we should all be rather surprised if they aren't!
Escalating this to Property Standards only got me a bunch of guff about how they won't enforce the bylaw based on hallways.
My question is: "Why not?" The bylaw obviously includes hallways. The test method is the same. You come into the area and take a temperature reading then write up the violation. How is that any different for a hallway than an apartment?
So this morning I took this to the Mayor's office asking them to reconsider the way Property Standards decides what they will and will not enforce, even when the bylaw says otherwise. I'm waiting for their response and will update this report when I get it.
In the mean time if you want to file Property Standards complaints about this you can use their Online Form. Enter the following information:
If you prefer, you can call Citizens First at 905-688-5600 and file your complaint over the phone using the information above.
This is ridiculous. There is no reason to put up with being cold all the time.
The hallway fans are now shut off, after speaking with one of the maintenance workers. The hallway temperature is 19.3c and my apartment is at a very comfortable 21.5c ... with no cold drafts. Hopefully that's the end of this problem.
Well that didn't last long. This morning the fans are back on, the cold draft is back and the hallways are reading 16.9c. A reading taken at the vent showed 9.5c air (outside temp. 8c) being pumped into the hallways. It won't be long before the hallway temperature will be under 15c.
When I contacted CLV about why the fans were back on, I got a real cock-an-bull story about tenants complaining of smells in the hallway... WTF?? ... 38 years in this building and this is the first time I've heard anything about smells in the hallway.
Yes, it's an apartment building, you're going to smell people cooking, burning incense and other things... But it seems CLV would they rather see their tenants freeze in their own beds.
In November of 2021, CLV first announced elevator renovations to begin in , in
Then in March 2022 it was moved to in May of 2022
Then in early June 2022, it was announced for late June of 2022, when the work finally started.
This last announcement said it would take 14 to 16 weeks to finish both cars. That would have put the completion date somewhere early in October 2022.
Well, it's now late October of 2022 and I've just received an email from CLV saying it will take until Mid-December to finish the First car. There was no estimate of when they would complete the second one but, at their current pace, it will likely be sometime late in 2023.
Pardon my Greek, here... but that is just fucking ridiculous!
Then they had the nerve to say: "...we look forward to continue making improvements to our community."
To CLV ...
This is OUR community, you are not part of it. We live here, you don't. This crap you are pulling affects all 300 people living in this building and so far you haven't shown even the first bit of consideration for any of us. So, ENOUGH already. We've already had 14 years of this reno-crap and you've just extended it to 15. Tenants are people too, we have lives to live and things to do that are no less important than yours. We are as entitled to a comfortable home as you are.
Finish what you've started... then No More!
In this building the strategy for heating during the fall has always been to have the main heating come on in the late evening, at a low level, to counter heat loss overnight. At the same time they were turning off the hallway pressure fans to prevent blowing outdoor temperature air into the halls.
During the winter, of course the heat would be on all the time and the hallway fans would be off.
So far this year, night time temperatures have gotten down to 10c and less quite frequently. The baseboard heaters do not come on and the halls are almost at outdoor temperatures. That is... it's freaking cold in here.
The Local Bylaw requires that CLV is to maintain a temperature of at least 20c for all parts of the building used by tenants, except parking and storage areas from September 15th until the June 1 each year.
After repeatedly writing to Oliver Filip, our building manager and getting no results, I have just filed a complaint with Property Standards about this. You can do the same by clicking the links, or you can call Citizens First at 905-688-5600 and file your complaint over the phone.
There is no reason to put up with being cold all the time.
UPDATE: Oct 4, 2022:
The furnaces are now running. You should feel warmth from your radiators when the outdoor temperature is below 14c. However; the hallway fans are still running so you may feel a cold draft. Complaints can still be filed from the links above.
Online buyers beware! Of late I've heard a number of reports of parcels going missing from the lobby where most couriers were dropping them. I even interrupted one guy "window shopping" on the pile.
Signs have been posted in the lobby and I got on the phone and raised cane with Amazon about it. Parcels should now be delivered to your door. Hopefully that will solve the problem.
If you are buying online make certain your Unit Number and Lobby Code are on the shipping instructions, so that delivery people can get in the building.
Then, when an item is flagged as delivered, don't leave it in the lobby or hallway any longer than you have to.
Thought you might like to see CLV's latest bright idea. They are enclosing the stairwell at the back lobby entrance. The finished walls will be 8 feet high with some kind of roof on top.
If you thought the pigeons were a problem back there already, just wait until they move onto that new roof.
Apartments 205 and 207 will end up with a wonderful view of a wall less than 4 feet from their window.
Winds tend to concentrate in that part of the building. These new walls will affect the airflow and it is likely that rather than keeping snow and rain out they will end up concentrating them into that stairwell and against the back door. That remains to be seen this winter.
Overall... not a good idea and totally unnecessary!
Fortunately the walkway through there is no smaller than before.
Caught the workers out in the side parking lot, cleaning up the accumulated garbage. Thanks guys!
I've been in touch with CLV management and have offered some suggestions about making sure this never happens again. I do hope they will decide to continue the dialog to a successful solution. It's not the first time we've had overflow problems but it needs to be the last.
As tenants we can help in this problem by minimizing our household garbage, crushing cans and plastic bottles, using the recycle bins and disposing of furniture via a take-away company rather than stacking it in the parking lot.
Nice to see it all finally cleaned up.
The garbage problems continue today. The word is that on Friday the 2nd the garbage truck came by but could not get to the bins so they were moved to the old postion (See #15 below) but with the long weekend they did not come by on Monday and have not come by today either. CLV is telling me it will be fixed soon. But clearly they need to start thinking ahead for situations like this.
This is totally unacceptable.
The garbage problem continues. This time no pickup over the long weekend.
CLV needs to work on a better solution than the three small bins they are using now. Pile-ups like this are happening more frequently all the time. This is totally unacceptable.
You can make your complaints to Oliver Filip, our building manager.
I see the new Garbage Disposal Plan is working out about as I expected.
The main bins are back in the original position because they couldn't get the garbage truck to the new location and now thanks to the smaller bins garbage is accumulating everywhere on our side parking lot.
They really need to clean this up before we have a fire out there.
Update 3:30pm: The original report was at 11:00am. I wrote to the building manager and most of it was cleared up late this afternoon.
This building has one route in and one route out for disabled people and they're the same route, so it shouldn't be that hard to remember.
But, on a regular basis I am forced to write to the building manager (Oliver Filip) asking him to please keep that area and the delivery spot under the balcony next to it clear.
The various people working in this building seem to think it's vacant. The tenants get no consideration whatsoever, unless we scream at them. I don't even want to guess how often I've reminded them that everything they do and every decision the make affects all 300 people living in this building.
I've asked repeatedly to have those spots marked and they just won't do it. I'm guessing that's because a tenant asked.
This is about a bathroom disaster that just keeps getting worse. It probably deserves it's own page but I'll try to keep it short.
Way back in late 2019, we discovered my bath tub was leaking after the tenant downstairs from me noted some water dripping into his own bathtub. This, of course, started a conversation with Northview about replacing the tub and they volunteered to re-do the whole bathroom.
In early 2020 they started the renovation project and replaced the sink, counter and cabinets on one half of the room. But unfortunately they were doing such a bad job I asked them to stop, while I talked to the management about the problems.
Then came the virus, in March. All work in occupied units was suspended for the initial "flattening the curve" period, that managed to stretch out to over 2 years.
In the midst of this the building was sold to CLV, our current landlord. They, of course, had no record of the ongoing problem with my bathtub and the poor quality renovations. So, I started negotiating with them to get the problem solved as soon as it was safe to resume work.
Then shortly after they took over the building I started having a problem with loud pipe noises in the bathroom. This was new, I'd never heard anything like it before. The sounds didn't correlate with anything I was doing, they were the result of something happening outside my apartment.
Of course this became part of the conversation. It made sense to fix that before they redid my bathroom and then had to break back into the walls again, to fix it later. So a year and 4 months go by with them promising the whole time that they would solve the pipe noise problem before they authorized the work in my apartment.
On the last day of June, I got a Notice Of Entry for them to come and start doing the repairs on July 6th. Finally, the end of the problem!
They replaced the bathtub, put in all new plumbing and started closing the walls back up...
So, I'm thinking I'm just a couple of days from finally having my bathroom back to rights. But, as it turns out that was not to be the case.
The evening after they finished tiling the walls, before the painter arrived to finish the rest of the room the next morning, that horrific banging noise came back, this time with a vengeance.
Just by dumb luck, I finally got the chance to record The Noise it was making. In case you're wondering how loud it is, check the image to the right. I don't turn my stereo up that loud.
So the next morning when the painters arrived I told them what had happened. Of course, that being a Saturday, the whole project is stalled until Monday when, no doubt, contentious words will fly about them not fixing the noise problem first ... as promised.
But it's not quite that simple. I tried the shower just to see how much water I would be getting and it made the noise again!
Up to this point I've never heard that hammering noise in conjunction with anything I was doing in my apartment. It always came from somewhere else. I would hear someone's shower running then the noise would start. This was completely new.
After some experimentation I discovered I can make it bang and rattle pretty much any time I want, simply by putting the water on full hot and flushing my toilet. The valve they used mixes hot and cold water nicely, but does not allow any control over the amount of water. It always runs at maximum flow, with the shower head being the only limiter.
This is new, since they installed the new shower setup only a couple of days ago. So, I'm thinking this is a problem with the fancy temperature control valve they installed. Unfortunately this means they're likely to have to tear down their brand new walls to replace it and I do have to wonder how many others they've put into the building!
There is one final thing that's not likely to be obvious here: My old tub started leaking in 2019, this is 2022. It's been 2 1/2 years since I've had the use of my bathtub.
One has to wonder how any reasonable landlord could let a situation like this drag on for so long.
And it just got worse, I woke up to this...
Yep, the newly repaired walls are separating at the corners.
Well we now understand the hammering pipes problem. It turns out there is a rather nasty design flaw in the Moen #1222 cartridges used in the single handle shower setup they used. When at maximum temperature they can become unstable if there is a pressure drop in the cold water stream, causing the internal plunger to oscillate and make that horrible hammering noise. This is a known issue and the Instruction Sheet that comes with the kit even explains how to deal with it in steps 11 and 12 of the installation instructions. (By limiting the maximum temperature)
The upshot of this whole thing is that neither CLV nor their plumbers even bothered to read the instructions and caused me no end of grief.
Now the ball is in their court... how many of these shower valve kits have they installed and how many are incorrectly installed??
Well it's finally done. The bathroom looks pretty good and everything is working as you would expect. But there is no getting around 2 days turning into 2 years and the final 2 day post-virus stretch turning into 3 weeks.
Tenants need to beware. If you are staying in the building while they're running jackhammers on balconies you could easily be exposed to noise levels that will cause permanent hearing damage.
The Sound Pressure reading on the right was taken inside my apartment on the far side of the hall from the main sources of noise. It will be considerably higher in the units that are being worked on. At these levels short periods of exposure could result in some hearing loss, longer just makes it worse.
I've checked with just about everyone you can check with and, no, we are not covered under the same workplace safety rules as the workers even though we live in the workplace! Thus, no safety equipment for us.
I strongly recommend tenants and those visiting the building use hearing protection. The orange coloured earplugs you can get at department and drug stores will being the in-ear level down to a safe point for you and they're not very expensive.
DO NOT turn up your TV or Stereo trying to drown this out! You are only creating a higher sound pressure level for yourself and your neighbours that will bring on hearing damage even more quickly.
We now have paid visitor parking.. for all 5 of our above ground parking spots.
I have to wonder what luxurious use they will make of the $60.00 per day that will bring them.
Will it be worth the bad will with the tenants and the community when their health care workers, personal assistants, families and friends have to pay when they come calling?
Yet another dumb idea by a landlord who can't think past his own bank account.
Residential Tenancies Act
is pretty explicit on the subject of pre-authorized or automated payments:
108 Neither a landlord nor a tenancy agreement shall require a tenant or
prospective tenant to,
(a) provide post-dated cheques or other negotiable instruments for payment
of rent; or
(b) permit automatic debiting of the tenant's or prospective tenant's
account at a financial institution, automatic charging of a credit
card or any other form of automatic payment for the payment of rent.
2006, c. 17, s. 108; 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 11 (3, 4).
This provision is in place because of multiple abuses of direct access to customer/tenant bank accounts and credit cards.
It doesn't take a whole lot of thinking to realize this is going to be deeply problematic for seniors and disabled people who don't use computers or cellphones. Those who've been paying by cash, cheque or using bank cards will no longer be able to pay their rent.
CLV should take note that in refusing offered payments made by legal forms of tender, their tenant has not broken the chain of "offer - acceptance - compliance - compensation" that forms all basic contracts. By refusing compensation they are giving their tenants free rent.
Just another bad idea from a company that doesn't think things through.
When the renovations began we received an undated Notice that we were not to use the side parking lot. Apparently they meant it, even after working hours.
This went on at 11:30 last night. That is a tow truck clearing 2 of the spots in the side parking lot of the building. Yes, those are tenant/guest vehicles being towed out. It's gonna cost the owners about $150 to get their cars back and on top of that they will likely have to foot the bill for any damages.
I contacted Oliver Filip to get an explanation and his response was that he knew nothing of the incident but really should consider policing that side parking lot and it's fire lane more thoroughly.
It sure does look like someone had those cars towed out so that he could park his pickup truck.
Traditionally, in this building, the parking spot at the base of the 02 rise of apartments has been a short-stay space for unloading groceries, luggage, etc. It was also used for meeting delivery people, taxis and special services vehicles such as Paratrans and Red Cross. Keeping it open most of the time also provided a clear path for those using wheelchairs, walkers or baby strollers who need to use the building's only level access at the back lobby door.
When CLV took over the building they issued an Undated Notice prohibiting us from using the side parking lot and reserving it for their contractors and staff.
While they were working on the 02 rise of balconies, I made a short term arrangement with the Renaissance Salon next door to allow us to meet our deliveries and pickups in their lot, with the understanding that it would be very short stay parking; 15 minutes or less. (Many thanks to Tina Casiato for that!)
As the work on the 02 rise was winding down I negotiated with Oliver Filip to have that parking spot kept open for our usual uses. He agreed and on several occasions he asked his contractors to move their vans and trailers out of there.
However; as you can see from the photo (taken 2022-02-16) we have now lost that spot as well. This is the result of a rather horrific conversation with Maggie Kilts of the local admin office in which she flatly refused to keep it clear because "We need that space for our contractors".
Well, no they don't! The contractors can park, on the right angle, alongside the grass just a couple of feet from that spot, and have even more space for longer or larger trailers with only a couple of extra steps to the door.
But, we do... it's the only remaining above ground parking spot tenants can use!
We live here ... they don't!
I suggest we all write to
Oliver Filip and demand that space be kept open for short-stay use by tenants.
(Click the name link, fill in your comments, and hit send.)
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I've been in a constant struggle with our landlords (first Northview and now CLV) about workers trotting around inside the building without masks on.
Of late this has worsened considerably and seldom a day goes by that one of our neighbours does not tell me about someone working in the lobby or elswhere inside the building without a mask on.
Although Ontario is relaxing some restrictions, the mask mandate remains in full force, until March 21st.
In the mean time, I've opened a file with Bylaw Enforcement (Property Standards) to catch as many of these complaints as I can. If you see CLV employees or contractors in this building without a proper mask on, please call 905-688-5600, press 0 for "Citizens First" and explain the circumstance to them and ask for it to be added to file #2022101514.
Don't let these guys put our health at risk!
The lobby intercom system has now been out of service since January 26th, 10 days and counting.
I've asked CLV, several times, when that machine will be fixed. The've told me it was "electrical" and they had to get specialists in to fix it, then they said there was a problem with the phone line and, as of this morning (2022-02-05), it is still not fixed.
I went downstairs and tested the machine. It can open the door, in that the key which uses that machine to unlock the door still works. It displays the building roster, like normal and it accepts and processes my entry code, just like normal, so the CPU is running. But when it tries to dial out the screen displays the message "Line not connected". That is to say, the machine itself is working just fine; the phone line is disconnected. Then, from upstairs, I called the system (905-684-5710) from my home phone and received the voice message "Unallocated number, please try again".
Next I called into Bell Canada's repair line and asked them to check the status on that number. It is listed as "Disconnected".
When asked, their service tech explained that the status word is very specific. If the line was malfunctioning it would say "Service". If they were not paying the bill it would say "Suspended" for at least a month then switch to "Available". But "Disconnected" means the customer called and cancelled service on that line.
I also discovered the phone line (905-684-5710) the lobby machine uses to contact tenants was disconnected on January 26th by instructions from Karine Burtschler who is employed by InterRent REIT, CLV Group's sister company. It doesn't seem to be any coincidence that is the day after they told us to make sure our email and phone information was up to date.
So, the machine itself is working normally, it just can't call out.
This was not a mistake or an oversight... it was deliberate.
I am also told, by a Bell technician, that line could be reconnected in 24 hours by a simple phone call but according to Bell's records there is no current order to have the line reconnected as of 2022-02-12.
The intercom system is considered a vital service and shutting it down is a clear violation of the St Catharines Property Standards Bylaw (2014-248) part 5.15.3 which says:
5.15.3 In Multiple Dwellings where there is a voice communication unit working in conjunction with a security locking and release system which controls a particular entrance door and is installed between individual Dwelling Units and a secured entrance area (such as is commonly found in the public entrance to apartment buildings), the said system shall be maintained in good working order at all times.Complaints can be filed online, for free, using the Property Standards Complaint Form on the City of St Catharines website.
This is clearly not the kind of behaviour one would expect from a responsible landlord. Once again, there is no good reason to disconnect that line. Even if they are putting in a new lobby system, that line will be needed by the new system. Disconnecting it was very simply an act of complete disregard for the safety, lifestyle and convenience of the 300 people who live here.
You can make your displeasure known either by calling 905-646-0861 or by writing to Oliver Filip at Oliver.Filip@rentclv.com
Please note that the number you see on your call display will have changed. It now identifies as Interrent REIT and
Today's email brought a Notice that CLV is going to be replacing our lobby entrance system. This will be our 4th one. But this time it's different. Now they are putting in a fully connected and remotely monitored system.
The new system is the "1 Valet" system. You can view their website here: 1valet.com
Pay close attention to the features pages. Among other things this new system will:
It is a fully data mined system and it is likely to reveal things about us tenants that are quite frankly none of our landlord's business.
The entire system is smartphone based so I don't know what consideration they've given to people who don't want/need/use smartphones.
Like so many of this company's other decisions, this one smacks of the oh so typical tendency to get a bright idea, then immediately turn their brains off, without thinking it through at all. But mostly, this is just another totally unnecessary upgrade that will almost certainly end up on an above guideline increase (AGI) in our rents.
To CLV: Honestly guys, there's nothing wrong with the current system and there is no reason to change everything just because you can.
CLV has just distributed a letter to the tenants, with a 10 item list of Major Renovations planned for 2022. This list will now take us right up to July of next year with noise and filth throughout the building.
Oh Joy ... More Jackhammers.
CLV has scheduled a 2 hour meet and greet event for this date 4:00pm to 6:00pm to be held in the lobby.
They plan on serving hot chocolate and treats, which will require tenants to remove masks. This could go very badly if any of us are infected but without symptoms. SARS-COV-2 is an airborne virus that spreads on our breath.
I've written to Oliver Filip and the St. Catharines admin office expressing my concern that holding an event like this could result in an outbreak in the building and they have responded reassuring me they will be enforcing masking and distance the whole time... while drinking hot chocolate?
It's pretty clear they didn't think this one through at all...
If you do attend, please do the smart thing and get your cocoa and treats for "take home".
Also note the fine print at the bottom of the Notice which says: "By attending the event, residents consent for CLV Group and Interrent REIT to use event photos, which may include photos of themselves during the event, on social media and websites". It's an advertising ploy, not a party.
This afternoon at 3:15 I took an hour long meeting with Oliver Filip who is the regional manager for CLV Group. I don't mind telling you that I was not meek about this. I quite assertively told him that, as a landlord, CLV plainly sucks and I tried to make him aware of how badly the company's decisions are affecting the tenants in this building. I even suggested he sell the building so that we might get a real landlord.
In particular I pointed out that while tenants in other buildings that have not had large scale renovations in a number of years might welcome the renovations, we, as victims of 13 years of non-stop noise and filth, cannot be expected to welcome more of the same. He seemed genuinely bewildered at the idea that we were not happy to have them fixing things that were fixed a year ago. It's actually very simple: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I tried to drive home the point that, after all that has gone on here, the noise and dust amounts to torture for us and demanded they try to minimize the problem in future. The solution could be as simple as wetting down the work area with water before chiselling or grinding, to keep the dust down, and scheduling work so that we don't have multiple noise sources in the building at one time.
I also pointed out that every decision they make affects all 300 tenants in this building and sometimes innocent things like windowed doors or air conditioner rules can have huge financial impacts on us all. I've asked them to deliberately think past their bright ideas and also consider the impacts they will have on us; because it is very apparent they don't.
With that, I sincerely hope they got the message.
A couple of promises were made as a result of this meeting.
When this new information becomes available I will update the "CLV Notices" page to incorporate it.
Now that the cards are on the table and strong points were made on both sides, I sincerely hope we can move into a new phase where common sense prevails and hopefully we can see the end of this horrible 13 year cycle of needless renovations.
CLV has announced a new Community Room for tenant use during renovations. The room is on the first floor next to the laundry room and is supposed to be open 8:00am to 5:00pm. A television set and seating for 6 people are provided.
At one time this room was our "party room" with a half dozen card tables, folding chairs, a wet bar and provision to set up a sound system. We could rent it for special occasions or use it to gather and play cards or hold meetings when it wasn't reserved.