Maple Ridge landlord to get tab for apartment fixes
Published Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:44PM PDT
For months, a Maple Ridge landlord has refused to address conditions at an apartment complex that residents and fire officials have deemed unsafe.
Now, district officials say they are going to fix the problems -- and bill the landlord for the work.
Grace Boudreau, 67, a resident at the Northumberland Court complex, does her dishes in an upstairs bathtub because the kitchen sink hasn't worked for six months.
"I've been bugging him and bugging him," she said.
Bugging him to fix the power, too.
"None of the electricity works in the kitchen, the hallway or the downstairs bathroom."
Rats have also managed to creep into the apartment, she says.
District and fire officials say they have told landlord Jack Athwal to fix the problems - even gave him a 90 day warning.
"Certainly, he didn't do it voluntarily. Let's put it that way," said Brock McDonald, the district's bylaws director.
So the district says it will do the work and then send the bill to Athwal.
Athwal, the owner of 15 suites, said Tuesday that the complex is old and acknowledged the building needs work.
Asked whether he would live in the suites, he said, "If I fix them, why not?"
But he added: "It depends how much your budget is. If you can afford it you can live in a better house. But if you're on social assistance, and you're on a fixed income, then you have to live in it."
Athwal, who owns several properties in Metro Vancouver, said he eventually wants to tear down the complex. Spending money on repairs would be wasteful, he said.
He added that tenants take advantage of him, owing him thousands in unpaid rent.
Boudreau said she always pays her $884-a-month rent on time.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander