Legal Action Against Building Owner And Manager For Health Risks To Tenants

Following the discovery that several units were unfit for human habitation, the manager and owner of a low-cost apartment building downtown face 377 charges under the Housing Regulation and Public Health Act. Last Monday, Alberta Health Services had to resort to legal action against the manager of owner of MacDonald Lofts after undertaking 100 health inspections, after sending four compliance letters and after several meetings with the property manager.

The lack of responsive action from the management of the property created an avoidable and direct health risk to the tenants of the building. In August 2016, inspectors ordered some units in the apartment complex on 105 Avenue to be vacated after discovering cockroaches, bedbugs and poor living conditions on the units.

The order to vacate some units came after tents spoke of their fears over the notices that they have received weeks earlier that their rents will be increased by almost 50%. According to property manager Dave Martyshuk, rents have to be increased from $562 to $825 to cover the upkeep of the apartment building. A week after the health order was issued, rent hikes were cancelled.

It was also found out that the units are mostly inhabited by tenants who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues which were assumed to be the cause for the deterioration of the building. One of the orders issued by Alberta Health Services noted the accumulated toilet paper and human waste next to a toilet. There were water damages and mould infestations which are hazardous to health.

The remaining tenants on the building are expected to move out in the coming year because the Katz Group is planning to buy the property. However, since the sale has not been finalized, the existing tenants are given a year to move out according to Alberta laws.

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