Update – May 31st Community Meeting on Rental Housing

On May 31st, 2016, I hosted another community update on the rental housing issue (the third meeting since being elected). Much progress on this issue occurred over the winter months, and is summarized here.  I was also pleased to see that the many meetings and discussions held with the University of Manitoba is now resulting in a greater commitment to work together on the issue.

The two presentations below were provided at the meeting, and summarize the updates well – as do the news articles by the Sou’Wester, CBC News and CJOB 680.  My thanks to them for reporting on this important issue.


Efforts to tackle rental property problem progressing

Councillor takes aim at student rooming houses near University of Manitoba

Coun. Janice Lukes continues fight against landlords in Fort Richmond area

CBC News Posted: May 31, 2016 9:16 PM CT


City Coun. Janice Lukes is continuing her crusade to crack down on rooming houses near the University of Manitoba with a new website to make reporting bylaw infractions easier.

On Tuesday, about 100 people showed up to a meeting Lukes ran on how neighbours can help tackle the rooming house issue.

“The community loves the fact that there are students in the community,” she said. “We are just frustrated with the landlords that are not taking care of the properties and are putting the tenants’ lives in jeopardy.”

She says houses that are zoned as family homes are being converted into rooming houses, and landlords are cramming students into unsafe quarters and letting the properties fall into disrepair.

Beyond safety issues, she said the homes often have neglected yards and are noisy.

Lukes has spent more than a year trying to get the city to do something about the issue in the area.

Now, a new website from the Fort Richmond University Heights Neighbourhood Association helps neighbours report by-law infractions at the houses.

“It’s a simplified explanation of the common bylaw infractions that we have out here. It identifies how to properly report them and what to expect,” said Lukes. “We have also put neighbourhood responsibilities and standards on what the responsibilities are for landlords and for tenants.”

The site is also recruiting people to monitor online rental sites like Kijiji and volunteer “street captains” to monitor their neighbourhoods.

She hopes that with enough complaints, the city will do something about the properties.

“The number one problem with reporting a bylaw infraction is how to report it. The number two problem is not reporting it,” said Lukes. “Everyone can sit in their house and stew about an issue, but you have to pick up the phone or email.”

Lukes said enforcement is difficult if bylaw officers don’t know about the problems in the first place.

“If I see there is one or two [infractions] on a property, ah, you know, but if I see there is 15, 20, 25 or a bylaw officer sees that, you know there is an issue there, and they need to be going and investigating and following up,” Lukes said.

Lukes also recommends people email their complaints to 311 for the fastest response.

Renewed Push To Crackdown On Stuffed Rental Homes Near U of M

CJOB Team Coverage    Posted: June 01, 2016 10:54 am

Homeowners who live near the University of Manitoba want to make sure everyone knows the rules.

Some are buying up single family homes and renting out all the rooms to students.

Now, a new group called the Fort Richmond-University Heights Residents Association has been formed.

Jackie Field is part of it and tells 680 CJOB they held an information session last night.

“Educate, not only the students and the residents, the homeowners in the neighbourhood, but, the landlords as well on what are their rights and their responsibilities,”says Fields.

Field says a big concern is the up-keep of properties.

Councillor Janice Lukes says it can also be dangerous to have a lot of people living in a home not designed for it.  Some rental homes have up to nine students living inside.

“It’s a fire hazard. Then you’ve got hot plates, and you know, I don’t know what all. Kids come, go, whatever, it’s great. But, it’s just a tragedy waiting to happen,” Lukes tells 680 CJOB.

The councillor says the city is actively taking an informal census of the areas around the university, trying to figure out how big the problem is.



Twitter link:  https://janicelukes.ca/?p=6155