On the first day of her lease at the new Le Mildoré apartment complex, McGill student Setareh Setayesh was dismayed to find most of the building still under construction. The unit she and her roommates had signed for was not ready yet, and they were placed in a temporary unit without some of the promised amenities. Setayesh told The McGill Tribune that there was also dust, debris, and construction equipment throughout the building.
Owned by University Apartments Canada and located on Peel, the building was supposed to be completed in May 2022, but construction was delayed and was unfinished come Sept. 1, when many residents’ leases started.
Setayesh, U2 Science, explained that despite anticipating a delay in the completion of the building, the management team had reassured her that her unit would be ready on time.
“Three days before our allotted move-in date, my roommates and I received an email stating that our unit was, in fact, not ready, and that we would be placed in a temporary unit until Sept. 18 at the latest,” Setayesh wrote in an email to the Tribune. “The morning of [Sept.] 18, my roommate obtained a number from some construction workers to contact the building management, and he informed us that the room had not yet been inspected or cleaned and so our move-in would be delayed to [Sept.] 23.”
During construction, Le Mildoré was heavily advertised to McGill and Concordia students, with Concordia renting 22 apartments to use as student residences. Madelyne Mackintosh, U2 Science and a Mildoré resident, feels the owners took advantage of the relative lack of resources and knowledge students have of their housing rights.
“Lease terms began on Sept. 1 and the building is [still] wrought with issues, from the minor to the dangerously severe,” Mackintosh wrote in an email to the Tribune. “Yet, the corporation is now failing to meet their legal obligations, leaving those students in unethical and sometimes dangerous living situations, because they know we lack the time, money, and resources to ensure that they are penalized for their behaviour.”
Andrew Barker, leasing manager at the complex, expressed that the company was upset at the inconvenience that the construction delays had posed to the tenants. Yet, as they did not want students to be left without a home at the start of the semester, they decided to have students move into the completed units but to restrict floors and areas that remained unfinished.
“The building has been certified safe by the architects and engineers who have signed and stamped the occupancy permit,” Barker wrote in an email to the Tribune. “It is very important for us that our tenants live in a building that lives up to their expectations, and we’re getting there. The contractor, for example, has a full-time team of four people triaging and assigning issues to the right tradespeople.”
Mackintosh and Setayesh, however, do not believe the building was safe when tenants began moving in. Mackintosh pointed to an instance where an electrical outlet allegedly shocked a resident, and despite immediately reporting the incident to management, they did not hear back until a week later.Both are part of a group of students living in the building who went to the Régie du logement to learn how to file notices; they hope that taking formal action will pressure the building management to take residents’ concerns more seriously and to address issues swiftly.