Tenants complain landlords are forcing them to remove window air conditioners
TORONTO -- Some landlords are banning the use of window air conditioners following the death of a toddler in Toronto a year and a half ago.
But some tenants say without window air conditioning their apartments can be unbearably hot in the summer and they feel they should have the right to use one.
“Right now I am so very hot. I'm inside all day during the pandemic and I have had a stroke and I use a walker and I cannot go out," said Maria De Lourdes Morales, a tenant in an Etobicoke apartment building.
Morales said she can usually keep cool with a window air conditioner, but this year her landlord told her she was no longer allowed to use one.
Morales said she has health issues and fans won't keep her cool.
“It’s been so hot I don’t know how I will survive,” said Morales.
Her building is a Minto Apartment property.
When CTV News Toronto reached out to the company George Van Noten, Chief Operating Officer of Minto Properties issued this statement.
“Minto informed tenants late last year that only AC units placed within suite designed sleeves or floor units, vented to exterior would be permitted,” a statement said.
“This followed a tragic accident involving a window AC unit at a City of Toronto housing complex and subsequent changes to Toronto’s municipal code. Tenants are permitted to install window AC units in their apartments, and the building in question has sleeves installed safely so residents can do so.”
An air conditioner toppled out of a window in a Scarborough apartment building killing two-year-old Crystal Mirgho in November 2019.
Minto said in a letter to tenants that no window units are allowed unless they're over a balcony. They recommend tenants buy floor standing air conditioning units that retail for about $400 each.
Geordie Dent, the Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, said his group is getting many complaints from tenants who are being told they can’t use window air conditioners.
“Landlords are sending out thousands of notices to tenants telling them they can't have air conditioning units or window air conditioning units and that's not true," said Dent.
Dent said there is no Toronto by-law that says tenants cannot use window air conditioners and he says as long as they are safely installed and maintained tenants should be allowed to use them.
“It's incredibly dangerous right now, you've got millions of people sitting at home and it's brutally hot and if you tell people they can't have air conditioning people are going to die," said Dent.
Van Noten also told CTV News Toronto “Our tenant does have AC in her living room, however we understand her concerns and have one spare floor mount unit available. We are currently working with her to install it in her bedroom as a courtesy. As always, the health and safety of our tenants is top priority.”
Morales said she won’t be able to get through the summer without some type of air conditioning.
"i need somebody's help to do the air conditioning, to do something. It's so hot now and we are not allowed to go anywhere" said Morales.
CTV News also contacted Toronto 311 which provides information to Toronto residents and we were told you are allowed to have a window air conditioner as long as it's installed in a safe and secure manner.
Anyone who is told they cannot have a window unit is advised to check the details of their lease.