Landlord unable to evict tenants amid COVID-19 despite claims of property damage
REGINA -- A Regina landlord says he’s unable to evict his tenants despite claims of extensive property damage because of regulations introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Office of Residential Tenancies suspended evictions in March due to the pandemic. Evictions are only allowed if a situation is deemed dangerous.
“We sent an application to The Office of Residential Tenancies and we paid $50 and tried to have them evicted over urgent matter,” landlord Jory Cushion said. “I sent them the video, pictures and they said they evidence was insufficient and they denied our claim.”
Cushion said the tenants have damaged the house and there’s garbage piled in the yard.
“The yard looks like a junk yard,” Jory Cushion said. “We have had the City out, they cleaned the yard once and billed us $1,300 and it’s happening again and they are projecting $6,000 to $15,000 for this go around.”
Cushion and his wife decided to rent out their property after moving to Ontario. Cushion said the first months of renting went fine, but rent payments started coming late after four months in the home. After the late payments, Cushion said the tenants damaged the property and the yard.
“We’re going to have to give our house back to the bank,” Cushion said. “We can’t afford $50,000 to bring it back up to liveable.”
“The Office is conducting eviction hearings for urgent situations where there is a potential risk to health or safety resulting from violence or damage to property,” the Office and Residential Tenancies said in a news release. “Landlords with concerns related to these issues are urged to contact the Office of Residential Tenancies to provide a full account of their circumstances.”
Cushion isn’t sure what to do with the house.
“I would live to see the government step in and help some landlords out with this,” he said. “I’m not even in this for money, I don’t even make any income from having a rental property but I’m going to lose my house and then our credit is going to be effected because we’re going to have to forfeit this house.”
The Saskatchewan Landlord Association said it’s been urging the government to amend the eviction suspension.
“The eviction ban is putting landlord’s properties at risk,” Executive Officer Cameron Choquette said. “It doesn’t allow us to evict people who are not paying rent or who are seriously abusing housing in the province.”
The tenants living in Cushion’s home declined to comment.