Sunday, 9 October 2011


Landlords beware. The state may seize your rental house if your tenants are operating a grow-up. Actually it doesn’t have to be full scale grow-up; a few marijuana plants in the kitchen window is sufficient. 

A Vancouver landlord recently had two of his three rental houses forfeited. He was renting them for $800.00 per month each which in Vancouver terms must be a very modest rent. He stayed well away from them - he had an agent collect the rent. His evidence was that he did not know that they were being used as grow-ups. There was no evidence that he had a direct or indirect interest in the grow-ups. He didn’t care whether he had ideal tenants because they were tear downs anyway.

Judge Arne Silverman (his name pops up in other forfeiture proceedings) concluded it didn’t matter. The judgement implies that there was a lack of diligence on the part of the landlord; he should have been inspecting his properties. His meagre $800.00 per month rent was profit from crime.

The B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act is about preserving a tenant’s privacy. This Act makes it impossible for a landlord to do quickie inspections of a rented premise. Section 29 of the Act sets out the provisions for a property inspection. The landlord must give at least 24 hours notice of an inspection; the purpose for entering, which must be reasonable; inspections can be no more frequent than monthly.

Compare the government’s Residential Tenancy Act and Civil Forfeiture websites. While our erstwhile Provincial Government is lauding itself for its forfeiture proceedings on one, it is trumpeting its protection of tenant privacy on another.

The final irony is that violation of section 29 of the Provincial Tenancy Act is an offence. In other words if the Landlord does not give thirty days notice but show ups unexpectedly and catches a grow-up in full operation, he is committing an offence under a Provincial Act; i.e. he is engaging in unlawful activity for the purpose of the Civil Forfeiture Act. Provided that this unlawful activity MAY cause bodily harm to a person, this particular unlawful activity could form the basis of guess what: a FORFEITURE.

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