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Kelowna  

New initiative hits homeowner with fines due to problem tenants

Fined over problem tenants

The owner of a home in the 3000 block Springfield Road in Rutland has been slapped with several fines totalling more than $2,500 resulting from the actions of his tenants.

The home near Neptune Road, which has been the source of numerous complaints from neighbours for years, was raided by police two weeks ago. RCMP recovered about $10,000 in stolen goods, drugs and cash.

In all, nine people were arrested.

Police also responded to a sudden death at the home nearly a month ago.

City communications supervisor Tom Wilson says city bylaw, building inspector and the Kelowna Fire Department also joined in the raid - part of a new team formed two months ago to assess what is going on inside particular "problem homes."

Wilson says these types of raids have been going on for years on a more informal basis.

"The difference now," he says, "is it's a little more co-ordinated and planned.

"The other difference is we're putting the onus on the property owner with fines, rather than just trying to evict tenants."

In addition to arrests and seizures made at the home last month, Wilson says the owner of the home, Hyung Ja Eo, was slapped with six fines from the city valued at $2,500.

Tickets include, more than five occupants not related, illegally occupied bedroom in a furnace room, illegally occupied utility trailer, illegally occupied shed, illegal room in carriage home attic and building without a permit in the attic.

Neighbours have alleged there may have been upwards of 20 people living on the property at any given time over the past several years.

One neighbour, who wanted to stay anonymous, told Castanet living next to the home has been "constant calling the cops, watching your back and not feeling comfortable in your own house."

"People with mental health problems, fully involved in street life, heroin use, crystal meth use, stolen goods, prostitution, underage minors, scabbed up faces. When you talk to them, half of them are always high," the neighbour added. "When somebody's weed-wacking the back yard for three hours at 2 a.m. on a regular basis, it's crazy behaviour."

The owner of the home has also been at odds with city hall for several years over construction of a carriage home at the back of the property.

Signs went up on the property following the July raid indicating the tenants had until today to leave the premises.

Castanet viewed what appeared to be occupants of the property packing up earlier in the day and neighbours report seeing RCMP in the area frequently monitoring the situation.

with files from Miriam Halpenny



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