Sunday, June 29, 2008

Landlords get the dope on tenants

A crime prevention group wants to teach landlords how to spot and deal with problem tenants.

Landlords aren't familiar with spotting addicts or don't know how to handle them, said Nancy Worsfold, executive director of Crime Prevention Ottawa, which released a six-month report Friday.

The group has focused some of its work in Vanier, identifying the problems with drugs and prostitution. They say Vanier offers cheap rent, which in turn lures tenants with addictions and mental health disease.

Safety and Security in Rental Buildings: An information guide for Ottawa's residential landlords acts as a step-by-step manual for landlords in dealing with problem tenants.

"A lot of residents in Vanier deal with problem addresses, which are often drug related," said Worsfold.

She said the manual is for landlords "who are willing to do the right thing or are scared or don't know what to do and need a little bit of help in how to act in situations."

The manual tells landlords how to avoid renting to tenants they suspect might cause problems for neighbours, other tenants or destruction to property. They can get tips on renting to students, immigrants and other first-time renters.


They are encouraged to screen potential tenants, welcoming them when they first move in which sends the signal that "you are keeping an eye on the property early on," said Worsfold.

The manual provides help on resolving situations.

"The people who are victims most of the times in these situations are the other tenants in the building," she said.

There are numbers to call to try to resolve mental health issues.

If all else fails, the manual instructs landlords how to evict tenants.

Crime Prevention Ottawa plans to distribute the manual to landlord associations and at the community and protective services committee on Thursday.


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