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Landlords may have another reason to fear bad tenants

Bad tenants could become very expensive for their landlords if a proposed bylaw is passed in Whitehorse.

Bad tenants could become very expensive for their landlords if a proposed bylaw is passed in Whitehorse.

The Controlled Substance Properties Bylaw would work in conjunction with the Yukon Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Legislation.

After a tenant has been evicted using the SCAN act, bylaw officers would be notified and enter the house to ensure that it’s safe for habitation.

If not, the house will be labeled uninhabitable and the landlord would be forced to make repairs or be fined.

And they are not small fines.

Failure to bring premises into compliance with bylaws would carry a penalty as large as $5,000.

A landlord could choose to pay these “voluntary” fines or take the matter before the court.

“The fines are not the big thing,” said city bylaw manager John Taylor.

“The big thing is that the premise has to be rehabilitated.”

The proposed bylaw was created after six houses in Whitehorse were found to be involved in illegal grow operations in 2005.

Four of the homes were located in Copper Ridge — at 23 Black Bear Lane, 22 Tigereye Crescent, 86 Falcon Drive and 208 Falcon Drive.

 The two remaining homes were located at 41 Grouse Crescent in Arkell and 16 Sitka Crescent in Spruce Hill.

“Buildings that have been used for grow operations absorb chemical residues and fertilizers (used to manufacture amphetamines and grow controlled substances) and retain moulds or fungi,” Taylor told city council this week.

“These risks persist afterwards when the home is placed back on the market for resale.

“We’re not after the owners, we just want them to be very cautious with who they rent their property to.” 

Owners are responsible for what happens on their property, he told council.

“If you’re checking your property once a month, you’ll probably be able to spot it,”

Councillor Doug Graham was opposed to the bylaw when it was first brought forward earlier this year.

“Quite a few things have been changed,” said Graham.

“It’s alleviated some of my concerns — not all, but a heck of a lot.”

Some landlords may not be able to check on their properties, said Graham, who knows of people who lived in the city for years and choose to rent out their home when they retire Outside.

“Many aren’t able to check on their rental all the time or aren’t aware that these problems exist.”

Council plans to give the bylaw a lot of publicity to ensure landlords are aware of its consequences, said Graham.

“We don’t know what we’ll do about informing people who are living Outside.”

Similar legislation has passed in Kamloops and Chilliwack. “It’s becoming quite common,” said Taylor.

The bylaw manager hopes that this bylaw will act as a deterrent against drug dealers in the future as he believes that criminals are looking for the area of least resistance.

They go where they can’t get caught, and won’t want to move into a city filled with concerned, nosy landlords.

The bylaw is not retroactive, said Taylor.

“If we never have to use it then we’ll know that the bylaw has been a success.”