1 Columbia dispute returns to Landlord and Tenant Board
Nearly six months after the school year began with the 1 Columbia high-rise not ready for its tenants, a legal battle from some students who had planned to live in the building remains ongoing.
Tuesday, Schembri Property Management – the company at the centre of the dispute – was back in front of the Landlord and Tenant Board, arguing against frustrated tenant Tyler McFall.
McFall wants his tenancy agreement for 1 Columbia to be terminated, and his deposit to be refunded.
He says he never moved into the building, and was never provided alternative accommodations previously promised by the property manager.
Hundreds of students were unable to move into 1 Columbia at the start of the school year due to the building not being ready.
Gordon Schembri, the president of Schembri Property Management, testified that the delays were unexpected and caused by issues with the building’s fire system and windows.
He said he went above and beyond in trying to help affected students, providing them with hotel rooms, breakfasts, shuttles, other accommodations and pro-rated rent.
He declined an interview with CTV News.
Since September, some tenants have moved into 1 Columbia.
At a previous hearing, Schembri Property Management was ordered to pay one student $1,500. That decision is being appealed by the company.
Before Tuesday’s hearing, the paralegal representing Schembri asked for a publication ban on the proceedings.
The adjudicator found no grounds for the request, and denied it.
Other 1 Columbia-related cases were also scheduled to be heard Tuesday, but were pushed to a later date due to the volume and length of the cases heard.
One of those students was the daughter of Abbie Chin – who has flown in from California twice to deal with her daughter’s case.
“In terms of expenditures, we’re already hitting $10,000,” she told CTV News, “but it’s not even about that anymore. It’s about making sure a landlord treats their tenants properly.”