SIMON NATTRASS: Landlords up to the same old tricks

By now, many of you have heard about the 60 or so tenants being illegally evicted from a former Traveller’s Inn at 3025 Douglas.

By now, many of you have heard about the 60 or so tenants being illegally evicted from a former Traveller’s Inn at 3025 Douglas. It’s been reported elsewhere that, despite having none of the permits required by the law, owner Mike Kelly has served notice to his tenants claiming that the building is destined for renovation.

Does the story end there? Of course not. Adding insult to injury, conditions at the property — conditions which residents with nowhere else to go are nonetheless willing to fight to live in — would make most tenants jump at the chance to move out.

Last week, I got to know two other Victoria properties currently rotting under the care of another of our region’s less charming landlords (more on that in weeks to come). While further down the path of decay being travelled by 3025 Douglas, together these properties reveal a time-honoured tradition among landlords in The Capital and beyond. Local authorities not caving to your demands? Let your properties collapse until the city has no choice but to acquiesce.

This strategy doesn’t have to be so effective. Alone amongst the region’s 13 municipalities, Esquimalt council has approved a Standards of Maintenance Bylaw to ensure that renters are protected from neglectful property owners. Under this bylaw, conditions described by 3025 Douglas resident Hal Hannon would warrant a fine of up to $10,000.

Broken windows still lined with shards of glass and old TVs and mattresses packed into hallways — both currently featured at Kelly’s property — are direct contraventions of Esquimalt’s bylaw. The common areas at 3025 Douglas littered with used condoms and old syringes were probably in mind when someone wrote the bylaw prohibiting the presence of “rubbish or noxious, offensive or unwholesome matter”.

This situation reveals one of the many pitfalls of our region’s piecemeal approach to legislation. That the quality of a rental unit or the enforceability of the Residential Tenancy Act should vary from block to block for the sake of our invisible borders is almost as outrageous as the fact that only one regional authority has thought to codify the need for clean, safe, affordable housing.

For now, let’s hope the residents of 3025 Douglas St. Find new housing in Esquimalt. M

Just Posted

International, Disney and Hallmark films set to be filmed in Victoria in 2019

Local and international production companies working out film locations in town

MATHIEU POIRIER: Exciting changes in store for Great Canadian Beer Fest

Annual celebration of craft beer expands to include more breweries from around the country

BEHIND BARS: Tag team ‘tenders driving the Barts’ bar

Matt Chaffe and Curtis Kidd keep locals and tourists cool during the summer season downtown

Roller skating fever taking over Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Learn about a life of luxury at Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House

New political exhibit part of grand reopening at the House this weekend, July 20-21

WATCH: Hot rods flock to Victoria for Northwest Deuce Days

RECAP: Crowds roll out for four-day festival

Local drag artists take over Caffe Fantastico every month

Novice and experienced performers alike take to the stage for an accessible, all-ages show

Esquimalt Ribfest in need of volunteers for September weekend

The three-day celebration of barbecue, music and more happens Sept. 6 to 8

Fashionable ode to the sea goes Friday at Fort Common

Local sustainable fashion retailers to strut their latest as part of ocean conservation fundraiser

Brentwood Bay brings $5 concerts every Wednesday evening

Variety of music on offer: picnics, good vibes and family friendly

Schitt’s Creek and its stars among Canadians with Emmy nominations

Co-creator Eugene Levy thought they had chance for one nomination, ‘then they kept rolling in’

Most Read