More must be done to protect tenants’ rights

Government needs to do more to prevent potential abuse by landlords

When it comes to public safety, tenants are treated as scapegoats and face incredible hardship if they complain to landlords or arbitrators.  The false sense of security surrounding landlord tenancy legislation I feel directly supports harassment from landlords, affecting policing, bylaw enforcement and government staff.

A public safety crisis arose where a landlord was allowed to exceed occupancy, turning a four-unit house into a six-unit house, illegally without a permit. The crisis escalated when the landlord rented to tenants planning to traffic illegal drugs. When the city stopped work on additional renovations in the basement problems escalated. The landlord was furious about written complaints signed by house occupants and found ways to violate tenant rights, such as refusing to buy oil for the furnace, mice infestation, overgrown grass, disturbances day and night, and allowing tenants to bring in people off the street to threaten other tenants while creating a toxic environment via second-hand smoke, etc. Workers were ordered to paint and keep doors and windows closed – eliminating clean air.

The government forces tenants to write letters, building evidence.  In some cases that may be OK, but for landlords who know how to abuse the system it can start an unfair process. It exposes the tenant complaining, then retaliation can begin.  I tried to get help via federal and provincial offices and was surprised nobody seemed to care about public safety.

The process of arbitration seems to have no concern about abuse of process, threats to arbitrators and advocates, lying or perjury, an arbitrator can even refuse evidence submissions and interfere with retrieving damage deposits.

Not everyone has access to the justice system. Advocates cannot meet the demand when government is at war with children and tenants. I am the only tenant in my building without any rights.  Complaints of disturbances through the night don’t matter.

T. Hamelin

 

Victoria

 

 

Saanich News

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