Saskatoon lawyer says Prairie Heights condo owners must band together to get building up to code

Saskatoon lawyer says Prairie Heights condo owners must band together to get building up to code

A Saskatoon attorney says it is difficult to control the next steps when it comes to the closure of a troubled condominium in Pleasant Hill.

“I feel bad for all residents and owners of the building. It is a very difficult situation to be kicked out of your home, ”said Jamie Herle, who works as a condo attorney for Cuelenaere LLP.

The Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) closed the building at 1416 20th Street West Thursday after inspectors discovered a water leak that seeped through drywall and entered the elevator and pooled in the elevator shaft.

Deputy director Yvonne Raymer said the building’s water had to be turned off to prevent further damage.

“It could not be determined exactly what was leaking, whether it was a sand pipe, a sprinkler system, water and a sewer or whether more copper pipes were actually broken. At this point, due to the number of residents affected, it is no longer possible to continue the work and then issue the bill as the owner of the condominium, ”said Raymer at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Raymer added that if the water protection system fails, power to the building must also be turned off to reduce the risk of fire. She said that this means the fire alarm goes into battery backup and eventually drains and leaves the building with no fire alarm system.

Herle said it was a difficult situation because the owners still have to pay their bills and mortgages but cannot live in the building.

She said the next step would be for all condo owners in the building to take control and do their part to pay to get the building back up to scratch.

“As for the owners, they have to step up and be their own voice and take control. Look at what’s there, go into the books and the management and the board of directors to do what needs to be done. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, there won’t be one here, ”said Herle.

The building is a condominium split into multiple individual owners and has no organization such as a condominium agency working on their behalf. One person owns or controls 15 – approximately one third – of the suites in the building. Another person’s property has 11 suites.

“Just as I own my house and am responsible for the maintenance of my house, these are all the owners, divided by their respective stakes in the building, who need to make this possible,” Herle said.

Herle said the owners could also get together and decide to sell the entire building or come to an agreement with the bank and move away from their property.

Last month, the fire department issued a bill to property owners who collectively owe nearly $ 58,000 for necessary life-saving repairs carried out by various companies.

Of the 44 units in the building, 14 were affected by the closure on Thursday. Three of these units are condominiums. The remaining 30 units were already vacated and boarded up.

The Ministry of Social Services and other community facilities were on hand on Thursday to connect residents with housing and income support.

Two displaced residents are temporarily staying with the Salvation Army.

“We are always looking for more permanent accommodation. In this situation, unless they own the apartment, they may be looking for new accommodation. We will work with them to find out what they want, to see if they want to move to another location or if they wait for this opportunity to arise, ”said Salvation Army Area Commander Mike Hoft.

“We are here to serve, and when there is a crisis we do everything we can to serve the church. So we were happy to be separated from it and to be there for the people on a very difficult day.”

On Thursday, CTV News spoke to two longtime Prairie Heights owners and residents seeking compensation from the city of Saskatoon, and Mayor Charlie Clark to intervene in person.

In a statement, the mayor said: “The eviction of people is and must be the last resort. This is a dire situation for these tenants and Saskatoon Fire has been working to prevent this from happening for months. The city intervened extensively to find solutions for a safe life in this building. Ultimately, however, we cannot allow people to stay in buildings where security risks remain. “

One of these residents told CTV News that he had no choice but to sleep in his truck outside the building Thursday night as he was still waiting to find accommodation.

The other resident says he takes it “day after day” and stays with relatives.