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Letters  

Tenant rights

This letter is regards to the housing crisis Kelowna .My husband and I moved here six years ago first time renters, found residency in Lake country for five years. The landlord moved back leaving us having to find a new home in June 2017.

Just two weeks before we had to move out we still could not find a home, we were contacted by potential landlords in regards to a house for rent at $2600 a month in Rutland. Foolishly my husband and I jumped on it  we were feeling like we were being taken advantage of as the home was a 1972 mobile and very run down. It came down to this home or homeless. I managed to negotiate the home for $2250 a month, at first we thought the smell in the house was the owners foreign home cooking the smell of young children and lack of cleanliness. Upon Moving in, we put some TLC and a lot of elbow grease all at our expense but the smell wouldn’t go away and many more problems arose. Broken appliances, doors lights, fans, fence, rotten deck. When all windows and doors were closed for the winter we began to notice the poor circulation and air flow in the house as all the windows doors were covered in mold the bathroom was getting mold seeping from the cocking and around the floor and wall.

I began to have health issues, of course we addressed this with a list of 12 other major deficiencies, like locks being broken on all windows with landlord. We asked for a home health inspection done, they agreed but later backed out. The owner claimed they didn’t understand and hired a property manager to manage the home. For three weeks they did nothing so my husband and I took matters into our own hands and hired a home inspector, who discovered that yes we did have mold but worse than that there was a crack in the plumbing and we had raw sewage not just leaking but pouring into our crawlspace right next to the room in which my son slept in. As well as many more issues with the home which all made this home inhabitable.

Again immediate attention was requested from the property manager with no response, no direction or help. My husband and I found a new home and were able to move out within two weeks. No compensation was made to us for all the expenses that we had to go through, no apologies were made, no contact was ever made form owner or the property manager. Three weeks later, I have been informed the home is ready to be rented again. I would almost certainly guarantee the recommended repairs that need to be done in that home have not been completed as a homeowners and/or the property manager have not asked and/or paid for the home inspection report that my husband and I paid to have done.

I have spoken to the city of Kelowna, I have spoken to interior health and I have also spoken to residential tenancy and nobody is going to check up on this house to see if it’s livable for a new family to move into and yet they get away with charging $2250 a month for a home that is not habitable. The tenants get stuck in a fixed term lease. This province seems to protect the landlords, if the landlord refuses to do anything, there is nothing the tenants can do. If we want any sort of compensation, we have to pay to take them to arbitration and wait months, again at our expense! If we win, we hope to get our money or again small claims court.  It is such a long, costly, tedious and stressful process which makes anyone not want to pursue.

Why to we have to fight for what is our legal right, why is there no one overseeing these slumlords?

Vanessa Evans



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