986 3rd Ave E Photos Dec 21 2018.095

- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Last week the Owen Sound Property Standards By-law Committee heard an appeal of “orders to comply” by the owner of a local 12-unit apartment building.

986 3rd Ave E Photos Dec 21 2018In 2015 the out-of-town owner bought the building  for an estimated $200,000.  There were outstanding work orders on it dating back years. Since then he has been charging an average of $700 per month for each 1 bedroom apartment.

He was charged and convicted for property standards violations but nevertheless was requesting a 7 month extension on the still-outstanding work orders. It took the committee less than five minutes to agree that there would be no extension granted.

The agenda, property owner's name, applicable by-laws, orders and photos are fully available to the public here.

I was inspired to attend the meeting by an article in the 1951 Owen Sound Herald with the headline above. In all caps above it was EXPOSE OF RENTAL RACKETEERS PENDING!!

The article includes inspection reports on at least nine dwellings in Owen Sound – no addresses or names of owners or tenants are given. Reports include details such as “a stream of water flows beneath the building, into which the sink effluent is discharged”, “lot is saturated and contaminated” and “outdoor privy in bad state of repair.” Ultimately some had been declared “not fit for human habitation.”

It concludes with a call for readers to help the Herald “bring to light any unjust practices”. I am beginning to see where the Herald and the Hub may have something in common.

Here is the September 6, 1951 article.

As fast as clean and suitable housing accommodation is provided, clearance of slum conditions similar to those shown on this page is now underway.

The condemning of housing portrayed here is long overdue by order of the City Council, and the Board of Health's Sanitary Inspector, Keith Montgomery, is wielding the big stick whenever and wherever possible.

condemnedhouseFor many years many of Owen Sound's so-called respectable citizens have been reaping large profits from the underprivileged people who are forced to live in slums conditions we now show you.

No mercy is being shown owners of such real estate who take advantage of economic conditions to force the tenants to live in such rot and filth. The Herald has the names and assessments, rental rates being received by these real estate racketeers but only a strict code of ethics which we will adhere to, prevents us from naming this type of profiteer.

The Owen Sound Herald will cooperate with authorities and citizens in all walks of life to bring to light any unjust practices on the part of the landlord owning this type of accommodation, one who will not plough back some of his profits into the bettering of the living conditions of his tenants. We know of many barns in our neighborhood which provide better accommodations for horses, pigs and cows then some of our citizens now receive.

The Herald repeats, we would welcome any news or information whereby unjust rents are paid and the habitat is not fit for accommodation. On the other hand, we commend the actions of the Board of Health and especially the Sanitary Inspector, Keith Montgomery, for their efforts to rid Owen Sound of its slum conditions.


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