Residents of Iqaluit apartment building have gone almost 2 weeks with no running water

Sewage backup sends stench throughout Iqaluit House; Northview REIT not answering questions, say tenants

Staff at Iqaluit Dental Clinic, located at Building 622, posted a sign on its front doors that says the business is closed until water issues have been resolved. The business declined to comment in this article. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Residents of an Iqaluit apartment building have gone almost two weeks without running water while coping with a sewage backup in their shared laundry room.

The laundry room is cleaned a few times a day in Building 622, dependent on residents complaining, sources say. (Photo by David Venn)

They say their landlord, Northview REIT, has not given word on when these issues will be fixed.

Northview rents apartments and leases office space at Iqaluit House, where the water has been off since Feb. 4. The stench of sewage permeates the entire building, thanks to a backup that started Feb. 12.

Jen Hayward, chief executive of Outcrop Group, rents one of the commercial units on the building’s ground floor and one residential unit for staff housing. She said the situation has been frustrating.

“I wholeheartedly recognize how challenging building and infrastructure issues are in the North,” she said. “From that perspective, this is not on [Northview].

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“What has been challenging though is the communication and getting any kind of updates and getting any kind of response.”

Nunatsiaq News contacted Northview for an interview. A manager, who did not give his name, said the director, who’s name was also not given, is out of town and no one else is able to speak on the matter. He said to call back next week.

The City of Iqaluit shut down its entire water system on Feb. 4 to fix a major leak near the Tammaativvik boarding home.

The following day, the city said the water was running again and if any rental unit didn’t have water, it was up to residents to contact their landlord.

Laundry machines were moved into the first-floor hallway in Building 622 after cleaners attended to the backed-up sewage. (Photo by David Venn)

Hayward’s employees have been using buckets of water to flush toilets and wash dishes, while showering at the gym or Hayward’s house.

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She said she’s heard Northview has given out some vouchers to shower at the Aquatic Centre, although neither Hayward nor her staff who live in the building have received one.

After the sewage started backing up, Hayward said a Northview worker in the hallway told her not to flush anything.

“You can’t stay like that,” Hayward said. “You can’t even use the washroom when you wake up in the morning.”

Right now, the business is operating out of a client’s office. Hayward relocated one of her staff members to another unit and found a friend to house another staff member for the time being.

Hayward asked Northview for different housing options and called Capital Suites, which Northview also owns, but to no avail. She hasn’t asked for a rent reduction yet, as she wants to wait for the situation to be resolved.

“They’re certainly apologetic. And that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m just looking for answers and a solution,” she said. “How much longer am I going to have to camp out in a client’s office?”

Nunatsiaq News visited the building and spoke to several other residents, who declined to identify themselves. One man described filling buckets at his place of work in order to flush his toilet and shower, while another resident said Northview has provided some potable water.

They all said Northview has been extremely difficult to contact for clear answers about when the situation will be fixed.

City spokesperson Kent Driscoll said the problem with Building 622 is with a service pipe.

“The service pipes are the responsibility of the landlord. The city is aware of the problem, but service pipes are a landlord issue,” Driscoll wrote to Nunatsiaq News in an email.

He said Northview has hired a contractor to dig and find the broken pipe to repair it, which is happening in the parking lot outside of CIBC on Sivumugiaq Street.

A worker in an excavator digs outside of the CIBC on Sivumugiaq Street to try to find a service pipe break. (Photo by David Venn)

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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by shippy on

    Northview REIT have gotten away with being the slumlords of the North for years, making investors down south a crap ton of money. Things like this are a perfect examples of how they view the people they rent to with contempt and disrespect. Some of their buildings are huge. Even smaller apartment buildings often have a superintendent living on-site to care for it, look after cleaning, small repairs and arrange for large repairs, or just to make sure someone is looking after issues like drunks breaking in and passing out. Not Northview! They hire a couple of maintenance guys for the whole town and contract out the cleaning so that no one is available to help when something happens. They are terrible, and they are one of the only options for housing, and they know it and that’s how they treat people.

    • Posted by shippy on

      ” Even smaller apartment buildings often have a superintendent living on-site to care for it, look after cleaning, small repairs and arrange for large repairs, or just to make sure someone is looking after issues like drunks breaking in and passing out.”

      My apologies….***Edit…Even smaller apartment buildings down south often have a superintendent on-site….***

  2. Posted by Northview on

    Northview cannot keep up with all the request, repairs, replacements and I wonder why. No staff is surely true but not an excuse. Treat your staff better and maybe you’ll get some keepers.
    Just sitting around, enjoying the monopoly and collecting the checks from the GN just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to take on some responsibilities, but I doubt that this ever will happen.

  3. Posted by Slumlords? on

    Nunatsiaq really should do an in-depth investigative story on Northview in general – so much of what I hear about them and what I’ve experienced myself indicates they are by far the worst corporate landlord in Iqaluit. A lot of horribly maintained unit. The word slumlord even comes to mind…

  4. Posted by Truestory on

    Seems like the Northview needs a complete overhaul. Poorly run properties.

    • Posted by Jim on

      With their headquarters in Alberta the number one thing for Northview is the bottom line, profits, nothing else matters for them.
      Spend as less as possible and make as much money as possible.

      • Posted by another screw tennant on

        I Agree they are the worse , Northview recently was looking for workers, they might be short staff ? but one thing is for shure, when pipe burst its a serious issue & Big Job for any human being to fix, and lately its allways been under Brrr Minus -30 each darn day, Ground so frozen it must be hard to dig

  5. Posted by so tired…. on

    Alas, why people continue to leave this dump….

  6. Posted by No retention on

    The GN uses staff housing as a recruitment and retention tool… but then stick a lot of staff in Northview’s substandard, inadequately maintained buildings. It’s no wonder that the best staff leave, whether to a job in town that comes with better housing, or leaving the territory altogether. Northview housing is the opposite of a retention tool. Some of course buy their own place, but even that is unreachable for many with the current interest rates and crazy real estate prices in Iqaluit.

  7. Posted by 867 on

    Some first nation reserves down south havent had running water in decades. count your blessing!

    • Posted by ikajuqtau on

      Hmmm, so just because ‘First Nations Reserves’ down south have had it worse, we should? So paternalistic, colonialist thinking you are. Aside from that crazy comment, there has to be repercussions for landlords up here who do not look after their tenants. This affects the rest of the town. Services. Does the city have a long-term strategy for infrastructure development that the pre-Nunavut mayor(s) and councils including the GNWT did not take into account? Growing pains yes but, it’s 2023. As Iqalummiut, we have had a horrendous couple of years dealing with water issues, now this. It is amazing the patience and resilience of all Iqalummiut who get affected including the city workers and service providers (water, sewage, those working on the utilidor, etc.) Some of us have relatives who have been affected by this 2 week and over utilidor problem during the coldest winter we have had in a while. The stress that affects them. I hope we get our water problem fixed this summer. Mr. Mayor et al, please, please ask for help if needed from the GN and Feds. Help!!!!!

    • Posted by Wrong Thread on

      The mismanagement of the water funds on so many First Nations is a conversation for a different thread ,I think. This is about Iqaluit’s issues.

  8. Posted by Expectation on

    The residents of Iqaluit house need to demand a discount on their rent. Iqaluit Dental shut their doors because of this and lost profits. Their staff cannot work. I wonder if they are even being paid.

    • Posted by Tired of Wasting Money on

      There is a provision in the Residential Tenancies Act that allows tenants to pay their rent to the Residential Tenancies Officer until the required repairs are made.

      Section 33, I think.

  9. Posted by Government Rental Market on

    First we need to address the Federal and Territorial Governments for allowing these rents to get so high, while providing substandard conditions. The GN and Feds are willing to pay these ridiculously high rental prices that their staff only pay a small fraction of. This creates an artificial market for everyone else in the city, inflating private rents and home prices. We hardly see this in the other communities outside of the hubs.

    Second as the largest tenants of these landlords the GN and Feds need to mandate and enforce contractual obligations to maintain these units.

    What are the solutions:
    1. GN & Feds puts a cap on what it is willing to pay on rent to help cool this crazy housing market. While it they big slumlords may first threaten a big game, as the main revenue source they will take what they are given.

    2. The introduction of rent control legislation in Nunavut. It seems it is the only jurisdiction where there is no rental control or freezing of market rents that is fair and reasonable to landlords to provide a modest rate of return. One bedroom apartments should not be renting out at $2,400 a month!

    3. Staff up properly the Residential Tenancies Office and give it some actual power. They Residential Tenancies Act is weak and hardly provides authority to change the behaviour of these slum lords. It also fails to address staff housing or public housing units as the “tenant” is often the GN or housing corp, not the individual in the unit. A tougher act like that found in Ontario, and one that provides rights to the occupant of the unit if they are in public or staff housing.

  10. Posted by John K on

    In My Apartment:
    Two windows
    Two doorknobs
    One light fixture
    One twisted doorframe
    Leaking dishwasher
    Stinking pipes
    Dryer getting louder

    In My Building:
    Backdoor installed wrong (leads to break-ins and pulled fire alarms)
    Interior front door doesn’t close
    Elevator is currently out
    Globs of spit ground into the carpet
    Holes everywhere
    Something that might be blood on some walls

    By all means … come “investigate” my Starlink dish. But you better come with tools and no small amount of ambition. May as well bring Willis Allurut with you too; I’d be calling him anyway.

    • Posted by John K on

      Oh! We also aren’t connected to the fire department so when the alarm goes off we have to call.

      I almost forgot about that one bc it’s been the case for so long.

  11. Posted by 180 on

    Northview REIT is the definition of a slumlord and they are the slumlords of the North. They have maybe 8-10 people hired (office staff included) to look after about 20 buildings in Iqaluit and the 8-10 people they have aren’t qualified. It’s a sin how they are robbing the people of their money for extremely high rent and the GN for office space. They truly are getting away with robbing the North, when is it going to stop? The Federal Government has to step in and do something about this.

  12. Posted by Ms. Peter on

    This may have changed over the years, but the last time, I heard, the whole Northview had 3 maintenance workers. 1, if not all, all retiree’s.

    If they charge that much for commercial and residential units, they should have more than 3 maintenance workers.

  13. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    I lived in Northview unit for 10 years. They don’t build anything to last, just get by to haul in the rent. Our unit had constant sewage backups from day one when it was built. Frozen pipes all the time from lack of insulation in the walls. The main water line would constantly freeze, and it would stay frozen for weeks. The city would blame northview, northview blamed the city.

    We left Iqaluit in 2021 and our unit was full of mold, water damage and all kind of issues that never were addressed in 10 years of our tenancy. Northview treats apartments like disposable units. They wait for them to get trashed, or burn, and then rebuild them. Repeat the cycle. The GN and federal government rent the units, often before they are even finished. Northview shareholders enjoy the benefits.

  14. Posted by local Nunavut man on

    im surprised that no one has taken legal action. As a Canadian its your right to have clean drinking water. so the fact city and landlords have no consequence, well go figure why they would take sweet time.

    class action lawsuit them and band together for damages .

    • Posted by John K on

      File away.

      The courthouse is across from the Aquatic Centre.

      $200 to open the file; Originating Notice is at the end of the rules of court.

  15. Posted by away from home on

    The GN hire me after graduated from East Java Sea College. I wait 3 years for staff housing then get place here. I love it. Reminds me of home.

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