B.C. needs more checks on housing assistance: Victoria council

Province, city both appear to play role in displacement of subsidized tenants

Landlords are benefiting from government money – directly or indirectly – by illegally housing tenants who receive rental or income assistance.

It’s a situation that leaves the City of Victoria in the position of having to boot vulnerable tenants out of their homes.

On Thursday, Victoria city council voted unanimously to write a letter to the provincial government, requesting that it take more precautions to ensure recipients of rental assistance or other income assistance are living housing that is properly zoned and permitted.

“A property will come forward, where the city has become aware, via a complaint, that there may be illegal occupancy or work done without a permit,” Coun. Pam Madoff said. “What happens is we’re the ones that are put into an enforcement role. (That) can result in people being displaced from their accommodation, when many of them are actually having their rent paid or subsidized through the provincial government.”

It’s happened several times in the last few months, she said.

For instance, this spring bylaw officers discovered an illegal rooming house at 830-832 Queens Ave., containing 10 to 12 unrelated adults. The landlord was living in an illegal suite located inside the duplex.

“We feel that there should be some due diligence on the part of the provincial government to make sure that when they are putting folks in accommodation, that the accommodation is legal for the use,” Madoff said. “It’s just been really difficult for us on the planning committee, because we feel like we’re the ones displacing folks.”

A spokesperson with the Ministry of Social Development, which is responsible for housing, said responsibility lies with the landlord and the municipality.

“Under the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords must comply with health, safety and housing standards required by law,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to the ***News. “This includes local government bylaws.

“If the city is having zoning issues with privately owned buildings, then that is a municipal responsibility; the province has no jurisdiction. Local government has the responsibility and the authority to enforce their own bylaws.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read