Somehow, don’t ask me how, the channel changer went numb, refusing to budge from the local city council meeting.
I saw this as a sign not just to change the device’s battery but also to stay tuned to our local government at work. The revisited issue was whether landlords, big and small, should be required to have a business license in the case of owning two or more rental suites.
Touted as not just a revenue-bearing vehicle for the City but also a “tool” to assist landlords in the event they need to remove troublesome tenants, mayor and council listened patiently as presenters took to the podium.
It was a long process, some presenters went on a long time, some made good points, some gave passionate speeches, others repeated themselves.
A few returned when invited to speak to new information but lapsed into merely having another “kick at the can” of their original argument. Those people were gently chided by Mayor Green for doing so.
Maybe because of all the chat about problem tenants and the length of the presentations, I began daydreaming about my own heady days as a landlord.
When I say heady, I should probably have said “headachy” but I’d have to check with our human thesaurus Allan Wishart to see if that’s a real word.
Anyway, I moved to the country so I could have my “back to the land, farmer in the dell” experience all in one, and decided to rent out my house in Quesnel. Big mistake. I did the interview, I checked the sources and decided to enter into a written contract (format approved by Residential Tenancy people) with two “gentlemen.”
I clearly had no idea that contract would mean he and his buddies could basically “squat” there in my house creating havoc, disturbing the neighbours by carrying on alleged illegal activities well into the night with large traffic volumes and hosting loud parties. When I and the neighbours protested, my tenants had the audacity to threaten me.
I made an application with the Residential Tenancy Branch to have them evicted, we had our phone interview and the result was the men – there were now six or seven living there – were told they could stay.
For as long as they wanted.
I had sworn affidavits from neighbours, records of complaints to police and a list of violations of our signed agreement. So I lost my case, my dreams of making money (I had to continue paying the hefty mortgage and taxes while all this was going on) and, along with it, my peace of mind.
So much for relaxing in the country.
Eventually the house went back to the bank and I went back to my former life of feeling like a victim in a “town without pity.” How did these “undesirable tenants” finally get evicted from my house? Not with the help of the RTB or the City or the RCMP.
It took something bigger.
Another drug dealer from a rival gang moved into the nice neighbourhood and when the turf wars ended and the dust settled, my house was quickly vacated with the tenants packing up in the middle of the night.
Good riddance to bad rubbish, as my grandpa used to say.
So back to the issue at the televised city council meeting and the outcome – the secondary suite fee is gone but just like my bad tenants, they are gone only after a lot of blood, sweat and tears.