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Elevator repairs, mobility issues prompt trailer stay for couple

Couple resorted to living in a trailer while repairs are being done in their apartment building

With the elevator at their Waterloo Avenue apartment building out of commission for repairs, some residents with mobility issues have opted to spend the next few weeks living in a trailer rather than being stuck in their unit, saying stairs are not an option.

Vicki Shadlock explained both she and her partner have medial conditions for which they should not walk up and down stairs, including her partner waiting for surgery on his hip.

She said they provided a doctor’s note to Skyline, the building's owner, explaining the medical conditions. Without action, they feel they have no choice but to temporarily relocate to a trailer, which will be moved around several sites.

“I suggested that maybe they could do a chair lift,” said Shadlock. She had asked Skyline to address her concerns with the elevator repairs in writing but has not received anything.

“We fully understand that the elevator modernization will cause inconveniences; however, it is work that must be done to ensure the ongoing safety and comfort of our tenants,” said BJ Santavy, vice president of Skyline Living, in an email.

Before the repairs started on June 20, Shadlock understood there were tentative plans for Skyline to hold a meeting for tenants but the meeting didn’t end up happening.

In an email, a spokesperson for Tribunals Ontario  explained that in the Residential Tenancies Act “a landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex in a good state of repair, fit for habitation, and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. If something no longer works due to normal wear and tear or because it breaks or wears out, the landlord must repair it so that it works properly or replace it.

“The RTA does not require a landlord to provide specific accommodations or lower the rent while repairs or maintenance is being conducted in a residential complex,” continued the email.

“We have a lot of seniors in our building. We have a lot of seniors with medical problems and we have got people on oxygen, walkers and scooters,” said Shadlock.

The solution Skyline has is to have staff come and walk up the stairs to bring any deliveries, groceries or laundry to people who can’t use the stairs.

Friends and family had offered the couple to stay at their homes but there are stairs there too. Shadlock has reservations at Guelph Lake to park the trailer for a couple of nights. Afterwards they will park it in a friend’s driveway during their holiday. From there, they haven’t found anywhere else with spots available for reservations.

“Currently I feel like we’re homeless because we have no access to our home. But we’re not (without shelter). We can be thankful for that,” said Shadlock.