1 Columbia: Landlord-tenant hearing held with one party absent
The legal battle between students hoping to live in a Waterloo high-rise and the building’s property manager took another turn Tuesday.
A Landlord and Tenant Board hearing was held in the case of Connor Ruest, who is seeking a rebate of the deposit she paid to live in 1 Columbia.
“We are asking (for) that full $1,485 deposit, as well as damages,” Ruest’s father, Caesar Ruest, told CTV News outside the hearing.
“There’s been no response from Schembri to get our money back, even though we’ve asked several times in writing to forgo the trial, forgo the hearing, and have our money back.”
Originally expected to be ready for the start of the school year, 1 Columbia remains under construction.
Other students have also asked for their deposits back, but it’s not clear if any aside from Ruest have taken their case to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Tuesday’s hearing took place despite the absence of Schembri Property Management or anybody representing the company.
Contacted by CTV News, Schembri’s paralegal declined to explain his absence.
It was noted that the paralegal attempted to get the date of the hearing changed, but Ruest said he couldn’t do that due to work obligations.
In the landlord’s absence, the adjudicator ruled to move forward with the hearing because nobody was there on Schembri’s behalf to explain why it should be adjourned.
Following that ruling, the Ruests offered their side of the story – that Connor Ruest has found another place to live, and therefore no longer needs to move into 1 Columbia.
In a statement to CTV News, Schembri Property Management says the paralegal representing them was already booked for another hearing in Toronto today. The paralegal tried to reschedule the Waterloo hearing, and was advised by the board that a new date should be granted today, but what happened today contradicted what the paralegal had been told.
In the past, the company has said the move-in was delayed by issues with subcontracts, and affected students have been provided with hotel rooms.
A decision about Tuesday’s hearing will be sent to Ruest and Schembri Property Management via mail.