Affordable Liveable Housing

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

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." 

CTV: Landlord Sahota fined $115K for failing to fix roof

A high-profile B.C. landlord has been handed a $115,000 penalty for refusing to fix the leaky roof on a Surrey apartment complex, despite numerous orders to do so.

According to the provincial government, the punishment handed to Gurdyal Singh Sahota and his company Waterford Developments is the first ever administrative penalty given out by the Residential Tenancy Branch.

Tenants at Kwantlen Park Manor in North Surrey have complained about moisture and mould in their suites for years and the RTB has issued several orders for Sahota to fix the roof, but to no avail.

Sahota's fine for failing to do so includes a $5,000 one-time penalty plus $500 for each of the 220 days that the roof was left unrepaired since the latest order. The RTB has had the legal right to fine irresponsible landlords a maximum of $5,000 per day since 2008.

Official complaints about the building came from resident Sue Collard, who told ctvbc.ca that the penalty is a testament to the hard work of housing advocates in Surrey.

Cape Breton Post: Association Taking Aim at Slum Landlords

SYDNEY — An association determined to rid the Cape Breton Regional Municipality of slum landlords held its first meeting Wednesday to organize and elect an executive.

A dozen people met at St. Andrew’s United Church Hall on Bentinck Street to show support for the Cape Breton Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

It’s the first branch of the group organized east of Ottawa, said organizing committee member Evan Coole.

He said the group is intent on placing pressure on the CBRM to enforce the municipality’s minimum standards bylaw, which establishes standards governing the condition of occupancy and maintenance of residential properties and provides safeguards to protect health and safety.

“The problem is (the bylaw) isn’t being enforced. It’s CBRM’s bylaw and it’s up to the CBRM to figure out how to enforce it,” Coole said.

“What we’re here to do is to let (CBRM) know we’re not going to stop having meetings like this, and we’re not going to stop building a community organization that will make them do their jobs and enforce the laws that they passed.”

CBC: Sydney tenants in slum rentals urged to speak out

A group that represents low-income residents in Cape Breton says dozens of people in the Sydney area are living in slum rentals.

Evan Coole, a member of ACORN [Canada] or the Cape Breton Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, [Canada] has been going door-to-door looking for tenants with complaints.

"It's a fairly big problem," said Coole.

"One out of every three doors we knock on, someone has something that is of grave concern for health, safety, security — and that makes their apartment unlivable."

Coole said most tenants are too afraid to speak out for fear of being evicted, which is one of the reasons ACORN [Canada] members decided to go door-to-door.

"Getting people in their home, they're more comfortable and feel more safe talking about what they're going through," he said.

"Mould, mice, rats, severe water damage, just conditions that are absolutely unfit to live in and people should not be paying to live in."

Ottawa Metro: Tenants’ cries heard via Ottawa ACORN

Landlord has agreed to increase trash collection to twice per week. Regular meetings begin next month.
Anti-poverty activist group Ottawa ACORN is optimistic there will be progress on alleged maintenance and garbage-collection problems at the  Heron Gate rental complex.

The property manager of the complex, TransGlobe Property Management Services, has vowed to meet with Ottawa ACORN and a representative from the city on a monthly basis to report tenants’ concerns.

The planned meetings, which start on October 19, follow a private meeting on Sept. 12 between Mayor Jim Watson, Coun. Peter Hume, Ottawa ACORN, a TransGlobe representative, representatives from Dalton McGuinty’s office and bylaw enforcement.

The meeting was called after Ottawa ACORN made a public plea to the mayor to enforce bylaws they said TransGlobe was violating.

“The only reason I’m optimistic is because it was clear that the mayor and the councillor were so behind us,” Marx said.

TransGlobe regional manager Murray Osterer said the meeting was “very productive” and that they will happen. “We’re going to work closely with resident representatives and strengthen the lines of communication here,” he said.

 

 

Ottawa tenants celebrate Herongate progress

Last week Herongate tenants - lead by Chapter Co-Chair Erica Marx - met with Mayor Jim Watson, City Councillor Peter Humea, the CEO of Transglobe REIT and Starlight Properties (both formally Trangslobe Properties), representatives from Premier McGuinty’s office and municipal bylaw enforcement as part of an ongoing campaign to see pressure managment to perform repairs to the dilapidated complex.

With support from the Mayor and the City, Ottawa ACORN won a commitment from Transglobe to improve staffing, including sensitivity training, improved multi-lingual communication, and major new investments in maintenance.

The city answered our call for improved garbage collection in the community by increasing garbage pick up to twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays). The city has also asked Transglobe & Starlight to increase dumpster bin size and fix garbage chutes in buildings.

Bylaw enforcement and Ottawa ACORN will meet with the Management once a month to follow up on progress and to report tenant concerns.

 
 

580 CFRA: Bylaw Enforcing Laws at Heron Gate Residence: Mayor

Mayor Jim Watson says Bylaw Services is now "proactively" monitoring and enforcing property standards at Heron Gate residence.

Members of the [Ottawa] ACORN Heron Gate tenant group called on the Mayor to get involved to ensure property standard bylaws are enforced at the Alta Vista property.

The group cites rotting wood, mould and pest infestation as among the issues that are ignored by Transglobe Property management.

In a statement to CFRA News, Watson says Bylaw will take a "zero tolerance approach" and will conduct monthly meetings with all stakeholders to ensure units are repaired as required.

Watson has contacted the Mississauga company and indicated he expects them to maintain the building to property standards.

Original article available at: http://www.cfra.com/?cat=1&nid=81052

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