Posts Tagged ‘Welfare’

Gov’t Approved Tenant Destroys Calgary Rental Suite!

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

May 1st, 2013

 Alberta landlord tenant drywall damages

Calgary Landlord Kius Pahlavan describes his experience as ‘filthy, damaging and mortifying’ while cleaning a government approved teenage tenant’s mess in his rental suite

According to a report on CTV News in Calgary Pahlavan approved of renting his suite to the teenager through the government. When the tenant relentlessly damaged and trashed the suite, the government ignored this information and his request for help.

Pahlavan revealed that “the damage they did is like a horror movie.” The one bedroom suite looks appalling with holes on the drywall, a sharp knife stuck on the bedroom wall and vomit all over the sink.

Three months earlier, Pahlavan had an open house for the spotless suite, when a staff from social services persuaded him to rent the suite to an 18-year-old tenant. While our Mayor is pushing for more legal suites in Calgary, this government worker wasn’t on the landlords’ side and serves as a warning for Calgary landlords.

“He really kind of convinced me that most probably there will be no trouble,” Pahlavan said.

Although the social worker assured Pahlavan that he’d check on the kid on a regular basis and made a deposit of $775 in cash for damages, he did not sign the lease or leave any credentials to which agency he belonged.  Pahlavan said “The phone number, a cell phone number, that’s the only thing we’ve got.”

Pahlavan mentioned that the dilemma begun promptly as soon as the teenager moved in.  The tenant had social gatherings that include use of illegal drugs and fist fights.

The social worker paid the tenant’s rent continuously in cash, but the teenager’s rowdy behavior was unrelenting and the landlord finally evicted the tenant in March. 

Pahlavan requested the social worker to lend a hand in fixing the damages and the agency sent over a truck to haul the trash but did not agree to do the extra cleanups or repairs.

“That was the surprising part of the whole deal, that suddenly the unknown social agency said, sorry, we are gone, you go and deal with it,” Pahlvan said.

Out of frustration Pahlavan got in touch with Lea Williams-Doherty, a reporter for  CTV Calgary’s “Consumer Watch”.

The reporter figured that the social worker was from Hull Services, a Calgary agency that handles troubled young adults from ages 16 to 22 to support their transition to self-sufficiency, and was appointed by the provincial agency known as the Child & Family Services Authority.

Williams-Doherty  made contact with the Child & Family Services Authority to inquire if they would pay for the damages to Pahlavan’s one bedroom suite.

The agency’s spokesperson said the government wasn’t responsible since the damages were made by the tenant. The reporter put emphasis on the lease that was never signed by the social worker and the fact the landlord made the arrangement with the social worker alone but not with the 18-year-old tenant.

This lack of government accountability has been seen before, especially in provinces such as Ontario.

The spokesperson from the Child & Family Services Authority then referred Williams-Doherty to the Hull Services who took the task of fixing the damages in the suite.

 Alberta landlords knife in the drywall

John Dahl, the program director of Hull Services said “I’ve seen the apartment there last week and I’ve spoken to the landlord and we’re looking at covering the damages that were done to the apartment.”

Dahl explained that the “Youth Transitioning to Adulthood Program” of Hull Services was set to facilitate teenagers or young adults in pursuing their studies, get a job, find a suitable place to live and have a personal bank account.

The role of a social worker is to facilitate their clients and in some difficult cases, they may need to take a greater part of the task as the” kid takes full accountability along the way.”

In this incident, although it was the social worker who took the rental it should have been under the teenager’s name and not the government, consequently there was no documentation.

This led CTV to question the province and Hull Services “If this kid couldn’t do these things for himself, was he ready for you to go out and solicit private landlords on his behalf?” 

This is a wake-up call and a warning for Calgary landlords. Sometimes doing what you think is the right thing to do can come back to bite you.

To discuss this and other Calgary landlord and tenant issues go to the free Alberta Landlord Form

Do you agree with the Liberal Minister of Community and Social Services?

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Landlords have rights

By Hon. Madeleine Meilleur, Ottawa Citizen January 20, 2011

Re: The Public Citizen: New landlord discovers tenants have cards stacked in their favour, Jan. 16.

The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) was created to help people with disabilities to become more independent and live with dignity — something our government takes seriously. However we do not tolerate fraud or the misuse of funds for illegal purposes and I encourage everyone to report such a practice to the proper authorities.

Our government also takes tenant safety seriously, which is why we changed the Residential Tenancies Act to make it easier to evict persons whose actions pose a serious threat. Under the Act, grounds for eviction based on the behaviour or actions of a tenant include damage to a unit and involvement in illegal activity.

Every tenant in Ontario is subject to the same rules regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or whether the tenant is a social-assistance recipient. I would imagine this case is indeed following those rules set out by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur,

Minister of Community and Social Services

Read more:

Landlords get a bad deal when it comes to bad tenants

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

By Hugh Adami, Ottawa Citizen December 19, 2010

Why would anyone want to be a small landlord when there is little protection in Ontario from bad tenants?

Take Mike and Cathy Clarmo, who live in the Osgoode community of Edwards. The only way they could get a tenant to leave their rental property was with a cash payout of $3,000. And that was after 4½ years of watching the house’s resale value plummet because of their tenants’ neglect.

Their problems all started because the Clarmos couldn’t say no to an acquaintance who wanted to rent the three-bedroom bungalow they purchased in 2004. The Clarmos had just finished renovating the house when the man — a childhood friend of one of their sons — showed up at their doorstep in the spring of 2005. The couple had been planning to sell the property, which was just down the street from their home, and hoping for a $20,000-to-$25,000 profit to put toward retirement. Mike explained their plans, but the man persisted. He needed a place for his wife and children.

Mike said OK, figuring he would make some of the investment back in rent, and sell later, when the house was sure to be worth more.

Instead, cracks started appearing in their nest egg soon after the family moved in. “It broke our hearts to see the condition of the house deteriorate as it did,” says Cathy.

Probably the worst thing was that the house constantly reeked of animal urine.

The family had a dog, cat and rabbit. Drywall and floors were damaged. The garage was so cluttered that the couple was sure there was a fire risk.

Photos they took also show the front yard of the home littered with junk, including car parts such as engines and tires. The woman, who drove a school bus, damaged the eavestroughing after backing the vehicle into the house, Mike says. Rent was often late.

The Clarmos decided to sell the property after a business deal went sour. In April 2009, they gave the tenants more than two months of notice to vacate.

The tenants offered to buy the house “as is” for a reduced price. The Clarmos agreed. But the tenants couldn’t get a mortgage. The Clarmos abandoned their plan to sell after the husband approached Mike and tearfully told him he couldn’t find another house to rent.

A year later, they planned again to sell the house. But the husband, whose wife was no longer living with him, told Mike he was now well versed in tenants’ rights. He wasn’t going to move, and if Mike wanted to terminate the tenancy, he would have to go before the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Mike did so twice. He says he came away convinced that as the landlord, he was considered the bad guy.

At the first hearing, Mike spoke with a mediator, who suggested he allow his tenant to stay at the house rent-free for five months with the condition that he move by the end of this month. The man’s lawyer suggested that Mike could get him out by the end of October if he gave him a few thousand dollars on top of free rent for three months. Mike refused. He recalls the lawyer telling him that he would regret his decision as he was bound to lose the case.

Mike produced photos that he had taken of the house at the first hearing. The adjudicator joked about the one of the cluttered garage. “‘It looks like my garage,'” Mike recalls him saying. In his written decision, adjudicator Greg Joy dismisses or challenges every complaint made by the landlord.

The Clarmos found a prospective buyer for the home soon after and again applied to have the tenancy agreement terminated by Nov. 1, which was also the closing date of the sale.

The adjudicator in the second hearing reserved his decision, which allowed the tenant to stay put for at least the time being.

Mike’s lawyer suggested they give the tenant $2,000 to get out of the house. The tenant’s lawyer then came back with another figure — $3,000 — plus the demand that his client be allowed to stay until Nov. 15. Worried the board could rule in favour of the tenant and that the prospective buyers of the house would pull out of the deal, Mike agreed.

The former tenant would not return my calls.

The $3,000, which the couple feels was extortion, plus $1,400 in legal fees and $1,000 to refill the home’s oil tank are the smaller losses. The Clarmos did sell the house for $240,000 — about $25,000 more than what it cost them to buy and renovate the property in 2004. But the selling price was still a far cry from the $290,000 to $300,000 a real estate broker had told them the house would have been worth.

The Clarmos don’t know if they should be angrier with their tenants or the board.

They realize the board exists primarily to protect tenants, and with children, their tenant was bound to get even more sympathy. But, they say, their case illustrates the need for rules to protect the good landlords.