Landlords need protection from confiscation rules

Landlords could be in for a rough ride if they don’t regulate who they allow as tenants as a recent case where a landlord lost her 12-unit building is highlighting concerns about the confiscation of property.

For Brandon Sage, a real estate investment consultant with the Landlord Property & Rental Management Inc., has learned this firsthand when he was managing a Toronto-area building.

“I started my career deeply involved in the management of a 401 & Weston high-rise that was replete with problems and it was there I learned first-hand what effective property management could do to improve living conditions,” Sage told CREW.

“My team turned that building around but had to do so while daily running-up against regulations and a Board which applies them which almost always sided with the tenants causing the problems.”

His remarks highlight a troublesome period over the last decade where landlords have been under an increasing amount of pressure to regulate and weed out bad tenants while suffering the consequences for not doing so, much like Marlowe and Patricia Van Dusen of Chatham, Ont.

The duo bought a 12-unit residential apartment in 1995 and four of the 12 units has bad tenants who were dealing drugs, trafficking stolen goods, prostitution among other things, according to an article from the National Post.

Over a 12-year period, the police were called 392 times and from 2002 to 2007, police executed 21 search warrants, arrested 49 people and laid 199 charges. Despite their involvement, police couldn’t keep the criminals in long enough and the building grew a stigma over time that eventually forced the court to confiscate the building in 2012.

“Why did the province expect Van Dusen, at his own time and expense, to take eviction proceedings against the very individuals that the police themselves, with the courts and the laws and vast resources at their disposal, couldn’t manage to convict?” Karen Selick, litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, said in the National Post article.

“The judge allowed the province to confiscate the building — worth about $400,000 and mortgage-free. The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada refused leave to appeal further… The building was sold a few weeks ago, and the money will go into the pot of forfeited funds that the attorney general’s office keeps under the Civil Remedies Act.”

Sage called the move ‘unfair’ while point to an interesting ironic fact.

“As with most things in life there are a lot of shades of grey, but I must admit the irony of it all is that of the government confiscating the building when in my experience it is government-owned residences which rank among the worst places for criminal activity.”

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  • by AL 2015-07-10 12:32:17 PM

    It is high time Landlords got together and launched a class action law suit against the Government bodies that unashamedly side with criminal tenants!
    It is entirely unjust that law abiding tax paying landlords have little or no defense or recourse - when the Landlord Tenant rules are so unfairly one sided & stacked against them, it is a situation of pure class discrimination at its worst, and all for the sake of self serving politicians wanting to win the tenants vote at the ballot box !

  • by Northey 2015-07-10 1:13:20 PM

    This is height of injustice. I can't imagine there are people fighting to keep criminals and drug dealers safe and away from law enforcement, and confiscating someone else's property to house them. It might be their victory but shame on them for fighting for the bad guys.

  • by Suzanne Bielak 2015-07-10 1:35:23 PM

    I agree whole heartedly!
    Some tenants use their tenant status to hide from being responsible citizens, avoiding payments of rent and utilities while depreciating property value. Landlords are providing a place to live to those who chose to rent - they agree with the Tenant on matters such as rent and conduct, in writing, which is then a 'contract' between two consenting parties. I have yet to see a lease which says "pay your rent if and when you feel in the mood, " and "carry on with any illegal activities which you feel will adversely affect the quiet enjoyment of your neighbours and the neighbourhood and depreciate property value for your Landlord and others who are trying to build equity in their homes."
    Contracts are prepared and honoured for the order which terms and conditions of that contract spell out. Some tenants sign these agreements never intending to honour the terms and conditions - they have become "professional tenants" knowing how they can use the legislation to their benefit.
    If they are unwilling to respect that contract, there are supposed to be consequences, just as there are consequences if a Landlord stops paying the monthly mortgage and tax payments. Use of their status to hide from civil and criminal law is another step towards allowing tenants to be classified as "unable to be responsible" - and this is being condoned by the courts?
    Some tenants are being classified as "not responsible for their actions" when in reality they are using the law to protect their total lack of conscience toward their fellow man. When will the judges and courts recognize they are being used? Landlords do need to take this ridiculous protectionism by the courts to task and stop the lunacy. Tenants are people - Landlords are people - let's have a reality check! Laws are put in place for "individuals" to follow with respect - be they Land owners or those who chose not to own property.

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