Tenant’s responsibilities

Can I do any repairs to my unit?

You are permitted to do minor repairs, such as the changing of lightbulbs, appliance fuses and furnace filters.  If, however, in doing repairs you damage your unit or the appliances and it is necessary for WBHDC staff or contractors to complete the repair, you may be charged for that additional service.

Regulating the temperature

The thermostat in your unit should be set in the 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius) range, which is normal room temperature.

Geothermal systems

Our buildings that employ geothermal heating and cooling – Stony Mountain Plaza and the Delta and Creekside townhouses – operate somewhat differently.  The system provides heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

The geothermal system is, however, slower to respond than a gas-fired, forced-air system.  Therefore, increasing and decreasing the temperature in your unit must be done gradually.  We recommend you adjust the thermostat one (1) degree every 30 minutes.   Remember, the temperature response time will be slower because the adjustment is smaller.   If possible, leave your thermostat on a comfortable temperature for both day and night.

Adjusting the temperature gradually will also prevent the alternate heating system from “kicking in”.  The alternate heating source is an 8,000-watt heat element, which is equal to eighty (80) 100 watt light bulbs.  If the alternate heating system is engaged on a regular basis, you will see a large increase in your electrical bill.

The thermostat will have to be switched to an appropriate setting twice per year:

  • Fall/Winter – suggested temperature setting is 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius).
  • Spring/Summer – suggested temperature setting is 77 degrees Fahrenheit/25 degrees Celsius (fan)

Taking care of your furnace

furnace-filtersIf you live in a rental townhouse, you are responsible to change the air filter on your furnace on a regular basis.  The furnace in your home is a high-efficiency unit and air-tight.  A dirty air filter can significantly impede the movement of air through the furnace and make your home colder.  A dirty air filter can even damage the furnace and may result in failure.  Should a technician identify a clogged filter to be the cause of a furnace failure, you will be assessed the cost of the repair.

WBHDC recommends that you change the filter at least once a month during the winter months.

Immediately report any noise coming from the furnace or loss of heat to the Maintenance Office.

Maintenance Office
Phone: (587) 539-2964
Fax: (587) 539-1275
E-mail: maint-support@wbhdc.ca
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Geothermal systems and your furnace

Our Creekside and Delta townhouses operate on a geothermal system with an individual furnace in the unit.  The furnace filter must be in place for a geothermal furnace to operate.  The filter is permanent – not disposable – and requires cleaning with warm, soapy water every two (2) months.  You are responsible to wash the filter regularly.  The filter must be completely dry before it can be reinstalled.  A clean filter will improve furnace operation and provide cost savings that will be reflected on your energy bill.  It’s a good idea to put a reminder in the calendar on your phone and/or computer to remind you to clean the air filter regularly.

The switch located at the bottom of the air exchange unit must remain “ON” at all times.

If for some reason your furnace/air exchange unit does not appear to be working, you should contact the Property Administration Office immediately.   Possible causes for failure include the following:

Failed heat pump

If your heat pump has failed, you will notice the indicator light on the unit will flash and you will not hear the motor running. Contact your site office immediately.

Power outage

A power outage will result in a loss of heat. Check with your neighbours to confirm whether or not the power outage is a community problem or if it is restricted to your unit. If your unit is affected, contact your site office immediately.

Immediately report any noise coming from the furnace or loss of heat to the Maintenance Office.

Maintenance Office
Phone: (587) 539-2964
Fax: (587) 539-1275
E-mail: maint-support@wbhdc.ca
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Managing water temperature  

Gas-fired water heater units have a temperature dial that can be adjusted to meet your needs. Be careful: it is possible to set the dial so that water is hot enough to injure you or your children.

If you live in Stony Mountain Plaza or a Creekside or Delta townhouse, the water heater in your unit is electrical and does not have an accessible dial to adjust temperature.  If you have any questions, please contact the Property Administration Office.

Water must not be left running unless in actual use.  To prevent flooding, your shower curtain must be left inside the tub.

Power failure

Power failures can be caused by two things.  Either a system failure causes a widespread power outage in your building or neighbourhood, or a circuit breaker has flipped due to a temporary demand for excessive electricity or a short circuit.  In the event of a system failure, the electricity supplier will do what is necessary.  If you have lost power in a single outlet, or a small area of your unit, it is likely that a circuit breaker has flipped off to prevent damage.

If you live in an apartment building, the circuit breaker electrical panel is located in your unit’s storage area; if you live in a townhouse, the circuit breaker electrical panel is located in either the storage area or basement of your unit.

circuit-breakerSome people are uncomfortable with re-setting breakers and fuse replacement.  Because all circuits are grounded, there is little or no danger to you to perform this minor maintenance.   If you are still uncomfortable or do not understand what to do, contact the Maintenance Office.

The breaker is a switch located in the main electrical panel.   On occasion, a fuse in the kitchen range may blow but actually the breaker has been tripped, too, which will interrupt the power flow.   Prior to calling your Site Office, the breaker should be checked.  See “kitchen range” below.

If the breaker trips, it must be reset like a light switch – flipped off and on.  Some breakers do not flip all the way over when they trip and it is difficult to determine whether they have tripped or not.   It is best to turn all breakers to “off” and then turn them all “on” again.  Remember that when you flip the other breakers to the “off” position, it will turn off the power in other circuits temporarily, too.

If a breaker will not reset, it may be the result of:

  • a power overload still on the lines within the larger electrical system;
  • a faulty kitchen appliance or other high-power use appliance that is still plugged in; is best to disconnect small appliances – hair dryers, curling irons – before trying to reset the breaker; or
  • a weak breaker: if this is the case and the breaker resists being reset, contact the Maintenance Office and initiate a maintenance request.

If, during the winter, your outside plug-in does not work, it may be because water (or melted ice) has entered the plug-in and tripped the breaker.  If the breaker has tripped, try resetting it and plugging your vehicle in again.   If the breaker continues to trip, contact the Maintenance Office.

It is a good idea to keep a battery-operated flashlight and/or candles available for periods of extended power outage or to help you find and reset a flipped circuit breaker in the dark.

Taking care of your kitchen range

As the daily user of the kitchen range, which is a standard model, WBHDC expects that you will give it appropriate care and attention.

  • Do not clean the appliance with steel wool or a strong scouring powder. This will scratch the surface enamel.
  • Do not over heat. Use only the temperature required for cooking your food.
  • Clean the oven on a regular basis.
  • Do not use tin foil or aluminum in the oven to protect it from grease. The heat balance will be disturbed and food will not cook properly.
  • Use caution when removing the burners to clean the pans. They can be damaged if treated roughly.
  • The range hood must be cleaned and the filter changed regularly.
  • IMPORTANT: The oven will not operate if the timer has been left on “automatic.” The timer must be turned off automatic before the oven will come on when turned to normal.   If a maintenance call is placed and the problem is due to the timer being set to automatic, you will be charged a $50.00 service fee.

If one or more of the burners on the stovetop or the elements in the oven are not working, it is likely that one of the appliance’s fuses has burned out. The kitchen range has a row of fuses built into it that, if burned out, will prevent electricity from flowing to the burners and oven elements.   These fuses are located in one of three locations depending on the make and model of your range.

  • Type 1: Fuses are located just above the rear burners and can be seen if the plate is removed. Remove the two screws at the bottom of the console (raised back).  If a fuse is blown, you will require a screw-type fuse.  A blown fuse – it will usually look burned – must be replaced with the identical type, e., 15 watt, 20 watt, etc.  If the fuse blows again within a short time, please notify the Property Administration Office.
  • Type 2: Fuses are located immediately above the pot-and-pan drawer.
  • Type 3: Fuses are located at the top of the console (raised back) and can be located by removing the chrome cover. These tend to be difficult to get at the first time.

Replacement of the fuses is your responsibility.

For failures that you cannot fix yourself, you may download, complete and submit the Maintenance Request form to the Maintenance Office. The Maintenance Request form can be downloaded from the link below.

Maintenance Request form

Maintenance Office
Phone: (587) 539-2964
Fax: (587) 539-1275
E-mail: maint-support@wbhdc.ca
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Taking care of your refrigerator

All WBHDC refrigerators are a standard frost-free model.  As the daily user of the refrigerator, WBHDC expects that you will give it appropriate care and attention.

  • You do not need to defrost the unit.
  • Never chip the ice out of the freezer compartment with a sharp object. A punctured evaporator is expensive and the cost is charged back to the tenant.
  • The dials should be set at (4) and (3) which are normal settings to keep food appropriately cold.
  • Never use steel wool or strong scouring powders to clean the exterior or interior surfaces.
  • Do not use force to close the freezer compartment door. If it does not close easily, rearrange the items in the freezer until it does.
  • Never leave the refrigerator doors closed when the refrigerator is turned off.
  • Do not overload the refrigerator. It needs proper air circulation to work effectively.
  • Do not place hot items in the refrigerator. Let food cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
  • Do not load the refrigerator with a lot of items and expect them to cool immediately. The refrigerator cannot handle large loads suddenly.
  • The refrigerator must be pulled out from the wall and the coils on the back thoroughly vacuumed on a regular basis.

Maintaining your refrigerator in good working order is important.  Report any problems beyond your control to the Maintenance Office.  If necessary, you may download the Maintenance Request form by clicking the link below.  Complete the form and submit it by e-mail or fax to the Maintenance Office.

Maintenance Request form

Maintenance Office
Phone: (587) 539-2964
Fax: (587) 539-1275
E-mail: maint-support@wbhdc.ca
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Plugged toilet

You are responsible to unplug your toilet.  You should have a good toilet plunger for your use if your toilet becomes plugged or backs up. If, after repeated attempts, you are unable to restore unobstructed water flow, our maintenance staff can snake the toilet or make other required repairs but such a plug is usually an indication that something has been flushed down the toilet that should not have been, and you may be charged for a service call.

Even if they are labeled “flushable,” don’t toss feminine hygiene products, personal cleaning wipes, toilet scrubbers, make-up remover pads or cat litter into the toilet; these products don’t disintegrate quickly enough and can ultimately block the drain pipe.

Tenants will also be charged the full cost of the service call if a plumber is called out and only needs to plunge the toilet to clear it.

Painting your unit

You may paint your unit if you obtain the express written consent of WBHDC.  WBHDC will not withhold its permission for all reasonable requests.

Remember, however, that when you move out, your unit must be restored to the same condition it was in when you moved in.  Either you will have to restore the original wall colour – and WBHDC can supply the appropriate paint for a modest charge – or you will be charged to have your unit repainted.

Wallpaper

When you move out, your unit must be restored to the same condition it was in before you moved in.  Wallpaper removal is especially difficult and can easily damage the wall.  Therefore, it is not allowed.

Taking care of your floors

To maintain the floors in your unit to an acceptable standard, use the following as a guide:

  • Normal daily cleaning is recommended. Sweep the floor daily and mop up spills as they happen.
  • Never use harsh detergents, dyes or solvents — hot (not boiling) water and dishwshing liquid works great.
  • Never use scouring pads – they will damage tiles and vinyl.
  • Never use excessive amounts of water or let water sit on the floor for long periods of time. A damp mop is usually sufficient to clean the floor.
  • Periodically use a good quality floor finish or wax following the directions on the container. Suppliers of flooring products can help you choose the best product to use.
  • Use casters or coasters under heavy furniture.

If you have tiles that are lifting or need repair, please contact the Property Administration Office to initiate a Maintenance Request.  You may download the Maintenance Request form by clicking the link below.  Complete the form and submit it by e-mail or fax to the Maintenance Office.

Maintenance Request form

Maintenance Office
Phone: (587) 539-2964
Fax: (587) 539-1275
E-mail: maint-support@wbhdc.ca
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon; 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Taking care of your carpets

You are expected to vacuum your carpet on a regular basis.  When moving out, you must have the carpet professionally steam-cleaned.  If you do not, WBHDC will deduct from your security deposit the funds necessary to your carpet professionally steam-cleaned.

The carpets are part of the unit and so are the responsibility of the landlord so you may not change the existing carpet.  You may add area rugs if you wish to match your décor.  Any damage to carpets discovered at move out will be charged to you.

Other alterations that are prohibited

As a renter, you are not allowed to undertake extensive redecoration or renovations, finish an unfinished basement, add additional fencing, or install a storage shed without the express written consent of WBHDC.  WBHDC will not withhold its permission for all reasonable requests but those that materially alter the condition of its rental units will not be allowed.

The cost to perform any repairs required as a direct result of alterations made by you to return the unit to its original condition at check-in will be charged to you.  All repairs will be done by certified professionals and costs could include parts, labour, material and any contractor fees. Any administrative costs associated with the repair may also be charged to you at WBHDC’s discretion.

Waste management

You are responsible to dispose of your garbage properly in the collection bins provided on the corner of the building parking lot.  All garbage must be bagged before it is placed in the bin.  Please pick up overflow refuse.  Townhouse tenants must place their garbage appropriately for weekly municipal garbage collection.

If children take the garbage out, they must be shown where to place the bags.  They should not leave the bags on the ground beside the garbage bin.  Garbage bags found in common areas or outside the collection bins will be searched and a $50.00 fee will be charged to the owner.

Do not depend on the municipal garbage collection to dispose of large items such as mattresses, couches, batteries, tires and miscellaneous car parts. Removal of these items is your responsibility and they must be taken directly to the municipal landfill.

Do not store garbage in your unit for prolonged periods of time.  This will result in unpleasant odors.  Garbage may not be left on the balcony, around the doors or patio, in your yard or in your parking stall.  Please remember, Wood Buffalo is a northerly municipality in the middle of the boreal forest.  Improperly handled garbage attracts animals, including bears, and could result in injury or even death in a bear encounter.  Problem bears are put down by wildlife officials.

For more information on the Province’s BearSmart program, click here.

Bed bugs

Increased international travel and insect resistance to chemicals has made bed bugs a more frequent problem than might have been the case a decade ago. Several buildings in Fort McMurray have had to deal with an infestation of bedbugs.

Click the link below to download a brief pamphlet on how to recognize bed bugs and what to do if you find them in your unit. If you do find bed bugs in your unit, contact your site Property Administrator immediately. The problem will only worsen over time; prompt action is imperative.

Click on the link to download Bed bug information.

Yard maintenance

If you are a townhouse resident, you are responsible to maintain your front and back yards to an acceptable standard.  They should be clean and tidy.  Laundry, rugs, mats, clothing and bedding must not be hung from the fence.  During summer, tenants must cut and water their lawns.  Flowers, hanging plants, or other objects may not be hung on the fence.  You are allowed to plant annuals and perennials in flower beds.

Precautions for winter

Fort McMurray winters can be harsh and sub-zero temperatures are common. Leaving windows and balcony doors open, even slightly, to cool your unit over long periods can lead to frozen pipes, which may affect not just you but your neighbours and the building in general. A frozen pipe will flood your unit and those below you and could cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Tenants are responsible for any costs associated with repairs to frozen pipes and damage cause to their own, as well as affected neighbouring units.

Please adjust the heat in your unit by using the thermostat correctly. If you require assistance, contact your site Property Administrator.

Hazardous conditions

Tenants must notify their site Property Administration office immediately if they know of or find any hazardous or dangerous conditions on or in the vicinity of the rental property. This might include abandoned garbage, especially large items, a build-up of ice and snow, damage to a building or landscaping, or any other condition that could lead to personal injury.