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Enough is enough, tenants of slum landlords say

ACORN hosts town hall meeting to discuss tenant rights in Halifax

by Kashmala Fida

Dozens of people gathered at a town hall meeting to learn about tenant rights in Halifax
Dozens of people gathered at a town hall meeting to learn about tenant rights in Halifax

A recent town hall meeting about tenant rights revealed that many lower and middle class citizens are concerned over housing issues in Halifax. 

A panel discussion that included tenants from different housing companies and members of ACORN (Association Community Organization for Reform Now) as well as the manager of the department of municipal compliance, Jim Donovan, addressed the many complaints. 

The town hall was held after many tenant groups, including members of Halifax chapter of ACORN, voiced their concerns over improper living conditions and slum landlords. 

Speakers also provided legal advice on what action unhappy tenants can take against landlords who won't listen. 

Storm Paradise, a tenant at Harbour View Towers discussed some of the issues that people living in her building were facing. She mentioned bed bugs, large scale infestations of mice and cockroaches, and a host of other maintenance problems, ranging from “fridges that aren’t cold enough to radiators that aren’t hot enough”. She said she tried to lead a campaign in her building as member of ACORN to get the management to solve these problems, but not much has changed. 

Lisa Fairn, a tenant from Metcap Living, explained how her landlords would hide or cover up problems in her building units instead of actually finding the root of the problem. She also mentioned the rude behaviour of some landlords when she would voice her concerns. 

"The way they spoke to me, it was uncalled for. They turned it around on me and made me feel little, made me feel small. That shouldn’t be that way,” said Fairn.

Besides the two representatives on the panel, people in the audience also discussed their own housing problems, which included plumbing and mould.  

Donovan seemed to sympathize with the crowd and acknowledging that slum lanlords were a problem, he discussed the role of his department and the different action tenants can take. 

He encouraged people to contact his department by calling 311, which would make it easier for the city to intervene. 

 "We agree on at least to disseminate information as we are going door to door. To tell people that they can call the by-law people and tell them what the process is like. That is something that we haven’t been doing,” Paradise said afterwards. 

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