LETTER:Tenants have to clean up their mess

Re: the Human warehouse problem.

Several articles in the Sunday Leader dealt with the “human warehouse” problem, but I am pleased that you showed one of these warehouse rooms in a photo on November 25.

Actually, the photo is quite mild. I have seen far worse than that, in rooms where you had to wade through two feet of garbage and clothing on the floor to step inside.

However, your picture gives a taste of the garbage that is molding in this room.

When this room was rented, it was disinfected, painted and cleaned, had a chair, table, clean bed and working TV.

All the rest of what you see in the picture was imported by the tenant, especially the boom box that can be heard down the block and annoys the entire neighbourhood – not to mention the other people living in that “warehouse.” Also, the bike is missing. It is usually in the room when the tenant is home.

Now, your articles quote the mayor and MLA Bruce Ralston saying that unscrupulous landlords are responsible for providing this kind of accommodation, but let me ask: How much of the garbage visible in our picture has been placed in that room by the “unscrupulous” landlord?

Is it the landlord’s responsibility to clean it up, or is that the tenant’s responsibility?

Since a landlord cannot enter a tenant’s premises (as per Landlord and Tenant Act), then who is supposed to clean this mess? The mayor says, “If the goal of the respective ministries is to protect these people, they’re falling short.”

What exactly is to be protected if a tenant does not clean up his/her mess?

Send the police over to have them evicted and close the “warehouse”? This has been Surrey and Vancouver’s answer to this problem so far. If Surrey is serious about building shelters for these people, go for it and find out for yourself what it is like to make all that rental income.

But be forewarned: some people simply like to live in dumps, and will reduce the nicest looking room to a dump to suit their preferences.

How many trashed beds, tables, chairs and TVs can you replace every four weeks when you collect $325 in rent, and also have to pay for heat, water, mortgage, taxes, fire insurance, business licence, garbage collection, etc., and want a little left over for working there full time to make the place look nice?

Well, one bankruptcy was enough for me to never try that again.

I want to congratulate Surrey and the MLA for wanting to fight “bad” landlords: Please, please, put them out of their misery. As for myself, I am a much happier person since Vancouver put me out of my misery with closing down my building and forcing me to give up landlording.

Peter Braun


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