53 students have filed a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board against Schembri Property Management. They are seeking nearly $100,000 in unreturned deposits and other costs.

The students were supposed to move into the building at the corner of King and Columbia Streets in Waterloo the first weekend of September, but five weeks later the building remains unfinished. 

The group say Schembri Property Management broke the agreed lease to One Columbia.

“In this situation it was the actions of a single landlord breaching the tenancy agreements,” said Rachel Lake with Waterloo Region Community Legal Services.

The students are asking for $98,000. They say they each paid between $1500 and $3000 in deposits and the money hasn’t been returned. They are also seeking compensation for extra expenses such as having to buy meals or a bus pass.

“All that stuff they can claim for because it’s a result of construction not being ready and units not being ready,” explained Alex Diceanu of Waterloo Public Interest Group.

Schembri provided accommodation for the students at two hotels at their expense.

In an email to CTV Schembri says “We are anticipating to have occupancy in a matter of days. There may be a staggered entry, but we should be able to house all the remaining students within a week. We are in the final stages of gaining occupancy, if we didn’t encounter technical difficulties in the verification process we would have already achieved occupancy.”

The student group is also asking for $25,000 for harassment. They say Schembri Property Management wasn’t honest about when the building would be finished.

“It’s not criminal harassment, but if is an acknowledgement that the landlord is purposefully jerking the students around,” Lake said.

There are other claims against Schembri Property Management. Some students opted not to be part of the group claim, and instead are going individually to the Landlord and Tenant Board. CTV asked Schembri Property Management about the student’s action, Schembri said they have no comment, as they have not received anything about it yet.