Homeowners Near U of M Seek Out Illegal Rooming Houses

For Rent

I would like to thank the Winnipeg Free Press for their assistance in helping to build awareness of this very complex issue related to neighbourhood livability and student safety in the South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward.


 

Homeowners near U of M Seek out Illegal Rooming Houses – Complain Tenants Park Vehicles in Poorly Maintained Front Yards

Winnipeg Free Press   By: Aldo Santin  Posted: 04/6/2016 2:00 PM 

Residents in the Fort Richmond and University Heights neighbourhoods are going door-to-door to compile an inventory of illegal rooming houses and unsafe rental homes that have sprung up around the University of Manitoba campus.

The university’s growing student enrolment is creating a problem for area residents, who said absentee landlords have been buying single-family homes and squeezing as many student tenants into them that they can get away with and not maintaining the properties.

“We’re doing an inventory of the neighbourhood and we’ve got a checklist,” said Pasadena Avenue resident Jacquie Field. “We’re knocking on doors, talking to the neighbours, asking if they are owners or renters, do they know their landlord. We just want to see how extensive the rental situation is.”

The concerns from residents in the neighbourhoods surrounding the U of M have been escalating over the last few years and most of them involved rental properties: landlords are allowing tenants to park in backyards and renting parking spots to students on front lawns and rear yards; illegally converted homes that have become fire hazards; stories of many single-family homes being converted to accommodate anywhere from six to 10 tenants.

“There are lots of rental properties in our neighbourhoods that are legal but there are some that are not and they’re causing problems,” Field said.”If we get the information and know what we’re talking about, we can work with the landlord.

“Next door to me there was a house that was converted when it was sold,” she said. “They put seven bedrooms in there. There are seven young people in there who don’t take care of the place.”

The residents’ efforts have been encouraged and supported by the ward councillor, Janice Lukes, who said some of the rental conversions are not complying with building code requirements and pose a threat to the tenants and neighbours.

“When you live on a street and you have six, seven, eight absentee landlords — there’s a lot of activity going on on that street that is not desirable,” Luke (South Winnipeg-St. Norbert) said.

Residents said they’ve become frustrated with the city’s inability to deal with many of the problem homes. Compiling an inventory, they said, will help identify problem properties.

“The end goal is to build a better community so people moving in know what’s expected of them,” said Julian Nedohin-Macek, who lives on Celtic Bay in Fort Richmond. “We want to make sure that our neighbours’s houses are maintained.”

Nedohin-Macek said of the 50 homes on his bay, at least six of them are rental properties.

“The big issues for me are parking on the lawn and not taking care of the yard, allowing the house to look dilapidated,” Nedohin-Macek said. “Those are really big issues because they cause property values to go down.”

Lukes said the residents are organizing themselves and learning how to deal with these concerns. She said she’ll be helping them create a website where they can find requirements under the city’s livability bylaw as to standards property owners are expected to maintain, adding that will make it easier for residents to identify problems for bylaw enforcement.

“This is sending a message to landlords, ‘look, people are out there looking for bylaw infractions,'” Lukes said.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca
Read more by Aldo Santin.

 

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