Tenants of The Marq petition for right to invite guests

Photo by Luke Sarazin

Student tenants living at The Marq, a student housing community  operated by Centurion property and houses a large number of Wilfrid Laurier University students, started the petition due to their building implementing a new policy for only 35 guests in each building for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Residents were initially told in February that one guest per tenant was permitted, which was changed to a 35 guests policy for the whole building on March 7 to reduce fire code issues and potential overcrowding of the building. Since the petition and The Marq tenant complaints, the policy was changed back to one guest per tenant on the Thursday before St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Paris Kiani, a fourth-year WLU student started the petition with the support of other tenants on March 13. The petition has since surpassed 1,000 signatures online.

According to the new guest policy for the weekend, guests were expected to wear wristbands and both guests and tenants had to show ID to permit entry into the buildings. Security had a list at the doors of those who lived in the building that was permitted, although the list did not have names of tenants who were temporarily subletting which caused problems with entry.

Kiani contacted a lawyer prior to the petition and found out that The Marq was violating Section 22 of the Tenancy Act and the Landlord and Tenant Act of Ontario.

“When I went to go speak to them and told them they were violating the Tenancy Act; they didn’t respond the way I wanted them to. I wanted to basically spread awareness and get people’s opinions about what they think about this situation,” Kiani said.

An email response from the centre of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), explains that the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) “does not prohibit a tenant from having a guest or the number of guests.”

“Building safety and tenant safety is important, I want to be safe and I want the place I live to be clean but you have to keep the building safe within the parameters of the RTA,” Emma Chapelle, a third-year WLU student, and resident of The Marq, said. “You can’t use our safety as a way to justify infringing on our rights as tenants. The first line of our lease is that we follow the RTA.”

Chapelle contacted the Waterloo Fire Rescue and learned that all buildings are safely built to hold two people per room. “The bare minimum should be one guest each because that’s the amount of people we could have living with us [in a unit]” Chapelle said.

“I’ve spoken with some tenants and they’re satisfied with the one guest per tenant because all they wanted was the one but other people that I’ve spoken to said they wanted more guest passes,” Kiani said. “We should have the right to bring in however many guests we want regardless of what day it is.”

The Marq owns three buildings at Laurier, two of which are located just off of Ezra Ave.

Tenants responded to the alleged fire code issue and overcrowding by questioning why the Marq chose to only implement the policy only on one weekend of the year.

“They’re trying to keep the building secure but if the tenants are responsible for all of their guests then there should be no financial liability on the Marq if anything happens to the building,” Chapelle said. “The way they went about it, their lack of explanation, their lack of transparency, it’s all really bad.” Other situations with The Marq building have also arisen this year, including the recent cockroach infestation at 173 King.

“What I have learned from being in this situation is that the students and tenants especially, we have been taken advantage of,” Kiani said. “They think it’s okay because we don’t know much about the law and that we won’t find out about it and stand up for ourselves. I definitely think that student advocacy is very important especially in situations such as these.”

Chapelle filed a T2 application with the LTB and hopes to have a hearing in regards to the situation in a month.

“My hope is that there would be some kind of an injunction that they would give us in writing saying the Marq has no legal authority to intervene with tenants having guests,” Chapelle said.

“I would hope that next year they would basically implement a policy like a list, hold people accountable and have security.”

“I would like an apology from The Marq because so many students have gone down there and tried to talk to them to get answers,” Chapelle said.

“Just because we’re students doesn’t mean you can take advantage, we do know our rights and we are going to stand up for them.”

The Cord reached out to The Marq but did not receive a statement at the time of publishing.

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