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Saskatoon landlord expects family of man killed in apartment to clean up his blood

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Thirty-seven-year-old Adam Willett was found dead in his apartment on 7th Street East in December, and his family says they are now on the hook for cleaning the suite.

His dad Bryan says the Saskatoon police and victim services told him not to enter the suite to claim Adam’s belongings until after it had been cleaned.

In an email, SPS says “once the scene of a major crime has been documented and cleared by police, it is the responsibility of the property owner to arrange for biohazard clean-up; this is sometimes facilitated through insurance”.

Willett says it was traumatizing to enter the suite to find that the walls and carpets were still covered in his son’s blood.

“Just saw the condition of the apartment and his blood in various locations, Adam's mother was visibly shaking and trembling,” he said.

Willet says the landlord, Menke Holdings LTD. told him the expectation is that it’s up to the family to clean up what was the scene of his son’s death.

“I provided him with notice to vacate early on Adams behalf,” he said.

“He rejected it and said that we're responsible for the rent until the end of the lease, and I've been given an email with cleaning instructions for the apartment, but I'm not qualified to do that.”

CTV News reached out to Menke Holdings LTD. but did not receive a response.

Willet says the landlord, Menke Holdings LTD. told him the expectation is that it’s up to the family to clean up what was the scene of his son’s death. (Pat McKay / CTV News)

CEO of the Saskatchewan Landlords Association Cameron Choquette says it’s the first time he’s heard of a situation like this, and he finds it to be “tremendously frustrating”.

“We know that the estate of the deceased individual is responsible for the unit after some after a tenant dies in a rental unit,” he said.

“But in this situation, it's really incumbent upon the rental housing provider to meet this family halfway to get the unit cleaned, so that they don't have to enter the suite when it's in disrepair, and to really bring this to a close so that the family can move on, so that the suite can be rented and so that we can find a happy medium here.”

Choquette says most landlords are comfortable ending a lease if a tenant dies in a rental unit.

“I think there is a solution here to get the suite cleaned by a third party and to have both parties come together on who will ultimately pay those costs,” he said.

“But really, it's about providing some closure for this family, ending the tenancy legally and getting both parties to move on constructively from this really unfortunate situation.”

Willet says he’s not going to clean up his son’s blood, and will be discontinuing payment on the lease.

He says it will be up to the landlord to take the matter to the Office of Residential Tenancies.

“It's been extremely frustrating for every member of our family,” he said.

“Anybody who has been involved in this, they just can't understand why.”

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