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“Somebody had to stand up to them. It might as well be me.”

North Dartmouth Tenants Town Hall hears litany of complaints

by Robert Devet

ACORN member and MetCap tenant Lisa Farin speaks on Healty Homes Campaign. Photo Robert Devet
ACORN member and MetCap tenant Lisa Farin speaks on Healty Homes Campaign. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Sparks were flying at last night's town hall meeting on tenants rights at the Dartmouth North Community Centre.

The meeting was organized by ACORN Nova Scotia, an organization that advocates on behalf of low income Nova Scotians.

People at the community meeting were mostly from North Dartmouth, where typically the landlord is MetCap Living. The way MetCap Living treats tenants had become a recurring theme in our reporting. It's never good.

This evening two tenants talked about their superintendents reign of intimidation.

The supers threaten tenants, they yell, curse and swear, and call police or welfare workers without reason, they said.

When they complained to management they were told that the company doesn't discuss personnel matters with tenants. And management was not interested in seeing the petition signed by many residents of the building in question.

Many more complaints were raised by the twenty of so people who attended the meeting.

People talked about issues like snow not being cleared in time, damage deposits not being returned, and mould not being removed.

One older woman shared how, after trying for years to get her window fixed, she took MetCap to the Tenancy Board and won.

“Boy, did I ever get a response,” she said. “One day after papers were served, Terry (the manager responsible for MetCap properties in Dartmouth) showed up to take measurements of the window.”

She persisted, and was awarded damages because it took MetCap such a long time to take action.

“I got my window,” she told the group triumphantly. “It looks lovely. I just got tired watching them walk all over people. Somebody had to stand up to them. It might as well be me.”

Bruce Baillie also took a landlord to court.

Baillie is a tenant at Killam Properties’ Mountainview Estates in Lake Echo. The trailer park, which has more than 300 homes, was without clean water for well over a year.

Last year he successfully sued for compensation for having to put up with that situation for so long. Now he wants changes made to the Tenancy Board legislation, enabling class action suits.

There is power in numbers, he argued.

That is something ACORN Nova Scotia can relate to. The organization has shown steady growth over the last years, and has very active chapters in both Halifax and Dartmouth.

The group organizes community meetings such as this one, rallies, and even the odd occupation, to ensure people on low income are not forgotten.

It is also providing input while the city looks at implementing some sort of landlord licensing system.

There was some progress to report on that front, although things tend to move very slowly, said Jonethan Brigley, chair of the ACORN Dartmouth chapter.

City Hall is currently working on a staff report to explore the implementation of landlord licensing here in Halifax. Halifax is also streamlining jurisdiction for bylaw complaints so that the fire department will no longer be inspecting for bedbugs and mold.

As well, the city is planning to develop a public access website where tenants and residents can look up previous and current bylaw violations by address.

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter    @DevetRobert

 

 

 


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