Even Toronto's worst condos not as bad as Saskatoon building: landlord association
SASKATOON -- The current state of the Prairie Heights condo in Saskatoon is the result of condo owners not properly screening renters, according to the Saskatchewan Landlord Association CEO.
“We’ve all seen pictures of the state of this property and it’s deplorable and something needs to be done,” said Cameron Choquette. “You don’t see this in bigger cities like Toronto.”
Over the weekend, two stabbings occurred at Prairie Heights, located on 20th Street West in the city's Pleasant Hill neighbourhood.
Donovan Shepherd, 23, was found dead on the sidewalk in front of the condo. T’Na Htoo, 31, has been charged with second degree murder.
A 40-year-old man was the victim in a second stabbing. No arrests have been made.
According to the Saskatoon Police Service, officers were called to the condo 410 times last year while the fire department attended the condo 91 times.
Supt. Cameron McBride said there’s only so much police can do when dealing with private property owners.
“That building has been a hot spot for us, calls for service are unusually high in that location,” McBride said. “It feels like we’ve tried everything and I know that’s not the case because there’s always going to be another strategy to investigate.”
McBride said the most effective way to turn things around at Prairie Heights is for condo owners to do a better job managing tenants and their activities.
“I believe the hope lies in the property owners and there needs to be a commitment to secure the building, to clean up the building and take responsible ownership of those suites,” he said.
Most calls arise from illegal activity by people who do not live in the building, he said.
Choquette said the condo board has some powers to help try and improve the living conditions at the condo. He suggested the condo board impose a levy on condo owners who decide to rent out their units, and have a fund to help repair damage caused by tenants and their guests.
“They’re pretty much letting anybody in, whether they are dangerous criminals or young families,” he said. “We need landlords to step up their game and do their part in terms of finding tenants that are suitable and aren’t simply destroying it.”
In a report obtained by CTV News the previous condo board recorded 401 criminal incidents ranging from drug-use, assaults, break and enter, graffiti and vandalism.
Two weeks ago the Saskatoon Fire Department repaired the condo’s sprinkler and fire alarm system. According to one of the tenants of the 44 units at Prairie Heights, 38 are rental units.