Healthy Homes - Habitation saine

 
 
Every person deserves affordable, livable housing. In many low income neighbourhoods, tenants live with mold, pests, broken elevators, and other challenges because landlords will not do the repairs needed. ACORN Canada members fight for landlord licensing, building inspections, and stronger enforcement of maintenance rules and by-laws.
 
See our Healthy Homes demands here.
 

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.”

Group protests rental conditions at St. Clarens Avenue Apartments

Tenants of a Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue area tower say they're suffering with rental conditions they are unable to live in.

A dozen residents of 730 St. Clarens Avenue Apartments rallied outside their building this week to bring attention to the issue. They claim they're dealing with poor maintenance, safety hazards and an insect infestation, including cockroaches and bedbugs.

Ana Dinar and her sister Mary Francisco began renting an apartment there in 2008 and said the longer they lived in the building, the more maintenance issues arose. Their shower ran continuously for months, they said.

"There's mold and mildew growing because of the constant running water," said Dinar at Wednesday's rally.

Fellow tenant Ahmed Rahman, who has lived at 730 St. Clarens for six years, said he waited for months to get his toilet repaired.

"Yes, it got fixed, but it took three months," said Rahman, who along with fellow tenants held signs that read, 'Honk for Better Housing.'

Heather Kilgour, the building's office manager, said she couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

"I don't know what people were trying to prove," she said. "We take care of our tenants. We do repairs. We fix what needs to be done."

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."

People Power Blocks Mayor Fords Cuts

Last night, following an intensive grassroots campaign, City Councillors from across Toronto voted 23-21 to defeat the majority of the cuts proposed by Mayor Rob Ford in his 2011 Budget.  The campaign was organized by labour and community groups, including many Toronto ACORN members in wards across in the City who called on their councillors to oppose the budget and its cuts to vital services across Toronto.

When it came time for a vote on the budget, nearly 50 Toronto ACORN members helped pack the chambers of City Hall to remind their elected officials that Toronto opposes these cuts.

Council debated various items on the agenda from 4:00 - 5:30, when we moved outside to join a massive rally put on by the Respect Toronto Coalition.  Members carried signs and chanted to protect TTC services, subsidized child care, and affordable housing.

Members were overjoyed to see that after months of intense organizing and active engagement, over $20 million in proposed cuts were rejected by council.

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