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Tenants set to swelter after NDG building bans A/C, blocks balconies for repairs

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Some tenants in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood are bracing for a sweltering summer.

Their building on Monkland Avenue is not allowing them to turn on air conditioning because of repairs to their balconies. The repair work is expected to last all summer.

The owners, GWL Realty, sent out a letter in May, telling residents: 'It is important that the air conditioning units not be operated and possibly for the duration of the project to ensure the safety of the workers.'

The letter also stated that if they are used, residents could be charged for any possible damage.

Not only is the air conditioner off limits but balcony doors have been bolted shut, too.

"It's inhumane, to be honest, because they're shutting down the air conditioning unit and they're restricting the capacity in which you can open windows," said tenant Lisa Chretien.

Chretien managed to get a portable air conditioner on Monday, which may be against the building's rules, but she said it's to keep her and her dogs cool.

At an eighth-floor unit with no cooling CTV visited, the temperature in the afternoon reached 27 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.  

A thermometer shows the apartment reached 27 degrees Celsius (CTV News)

The building's owners told CTV News, "We understand these restrictions may cause some inconvenience and discomfort, especially during the summer season. To mitigate the impact, we have provided an air-conditioned space in the building, available 24/7, with free internet access."     

According to tenants' rights advocate Arnold Bennett, tenants could fight for a rent reduction, but air conditioning rules are still a grey zone.

"The rules for air conditioning are not as clear. There was a tendency to regard air conditioning as more of a luxury in this climate. It's not a luxury anymore, it's a health issue," said Bennett.

Tenant Raul Rodriguez said without A/C, his apartment is like an oven.

"Well, you feel like you're in boiling water, something like that. You feel like a [poached] egg," he said.

He and his wife Jenny Duno Rodriguez decided to turn their unit on anyway, as she is currently undergoing treatment for brain cancer. She said she can't live in the heat and is struggling with the stress.

"Now I'm going to have another treatment of chemotherapy. And I feel overwhelmed about this situation, to be honest," she said.

She said with a housing crisis, she doesn't have the heart or the energy to move.

Jenny Duno Rodriguez is undergoing cancer therapy and said the situation is causing her stress (CTV News)Work on the balconies is only expected to be completed in September. Residents are now considering a class action lawsuit. 
 

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