Affordable Liveable Housing

ACORN Canada members are fighting for affordable and livable housing at all levels of government across Canada.

CBC: Residents protest slum housing in Cape Breton

Dozens of people rallied in Sydney on Wednesday to call for a crackdown on slum landlords.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now [Canada], known as ACORN Canada, wants the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to do more inspections of rental properties to make sure they're fit to live in.

Lucy Gouthro and her elderly mother were among the 40 people who joined the rally at the Civic Centre, clutching photos of her last apartment in North Sydney.

"The ceilings were falling down and the doors were falling off," Gouthro said of her mother's one-bedroom apartment, where she paid $500 a month. 

"There was mice in there and rats, and I had to plug them up."

CTV: Renters rally to raise awareness of slumlords in Sydney

The organizers of a "renter's rage" rally are urging tenants who live in substandard housing to take to the streets of Sydney to express their rage over what they say is a growing number of slum landlords.

It is a landlord's market in the Sydney area, where the demand for rentals far outstrips the supply. Vacancy rates have dipped to two per cent and many low-income tenants who don't qualify for public housing simply have to take what they can get.

"If you are a renter in a place that is owned by a slumlord, and your place is not fit for habitation, you are probably not going to complain about that," says rally organizer Rhonda MacDougall. 

Cape Breton Post: ‘This isn’t just a problem of tenants’

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now planning rally

SYDNEY — An association targeting slum landlords in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is planning a demonstration Wednesday to rally support for the cause.

Evan Coole, organizing committee member for Cape Breton Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said the event grew out of the response the group has been getting on the doorstep as they attempt to raise awareness of the problem of substandard housing in the region.

“This isn’t just a problem of tenants, it’s a community problem and it requires a community response,” he said.

Coole said the group was disappointed in a recent meeting they had with CBRM Mayor John Morgan.

“He took it almost personally that we were raising issue with the CBRM and deflected attention to the province,” he said. 

Time for action on slumlords

Below is a statement from Sue Collard, ACORN Canada leader & plaintiff in landmark case that has led to $115,000 fine against Surrey Slumlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota.

Friends, yesterday in a precedent setting decision, my landlord - one of the most notorious slumlords in BC - was fined $115,000 for failing to comply with orders of the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) to properly maintain and repair my building.

This is the first time the RTB has ever exercised its power to lay a fine against any landlord.

This victory was only possible because of the support and hard work of ACORN Canada members across the Lower Mainland, the heroic efforts of Scott Bernstein from PIVOT Legal Society, and the incredible hard work and dedication of advocate Kirsty MacKenzie from First United Church. 

Surrey Now: First to be fined, landlord must pay $115k

A Surrey landlord has been fined $115,000 under the Residential Tenancy Act for failing to repair rental property at Whalley's 31-unit Kwantlen Park Manor apartment building, despite repeated orders from the Residential Tenancy Branch to do so.

Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company, Waterford Developments, has until May 15 to pay the fine.

It's the first-ever administrative penalty to be levied under the act.

Besides a flat fine of $5,000, the landlord was also fined $500 each day for each of the 220 days he failed to comply with the branch's order to repair tenant Sue Collard's leaky ceiling and do other repairs to the building.

Collard used to be a manager at Kwantlen Park Manor, where she has lived for the past seven years in a second-storey suite. She's also the chairwoman of Surrey City Centre's chapter of ACORN, a group that fights for tenants' rights. 

"Sue's case started when she was pushing her landlord to make repairs, he got fed up with it and tried to evict her," said lawyer Scott Bernstein, of Pivot Legal Society.

Bernstein called the fine a "landmark decision" and a "good step forward." 

The Province: Vancouver city councillor wants slumlords to face criminal charges as well as fines

New provincial fines for delinquent landlords are great, says Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, but for best results charge them criminally.

Jang was pleased with a $115,000 fine imposed Tuesday on notorious landlord Gurdyal Singh Sahota, a slumlord millionaire who has been the target over the years of a number of Vancouver city crackdowns.

Sahota, who owns tens of millions of dollars worth of properties, was singled out for the first administrative penalty handed out by the provincial Residential Tenancy Branch.

“From our perspective, it’s about time,” said Jang. “I’m glad to see that the Residential Tenancy Branch is stepping forward. But we used to just impose a fine – that didn’t work.”

Jang said the city has found it’s most persuasive to get a court order enforcing the city’s standards of maintenance bylaw.

“If they fail to comply, it’s essentially contempt of court,” said Jang. “It’s a criminal offence – it’s not just a fine. 

The Province: Surrey landlord slapped with $115,000 penalty

Rotting walls, a collapsed ceiling and decayed deck railings at a Surrey residential building have earned a notorious B.C. land-lord the first administrative penalty under the Residential Tenancy Act.

Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company, Waterford Developments, have been handed a $115,000 penalty for deliberately failing to abide by a May 2011 agreement to address a chronically unattended leaking roof that affected up to six units at Kwantlen Park Manor in North Surrey.

The penalty includes a maximum one-time fine of $5,000, plus $500 for each of the 220 days of non-compliance since a June 2011 deadline.

Sue Collard, a one-time building manager at Kwantlen Park, still lives in the dilapidated three-storey building and said Tuesday's penalty "was warranted." 

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