Suspected downtown drug house shut down

Provincial officials have closed a downtown home and ordered residents to vacate the premises for 60 days after labeling the house a "problem home."
This downtown Edmonton home was ordered vacated after police responded to 75 calls since the owner took possession in 2009. (Scott Fralick/CBC News)

Provincial officials have closed a downtown home and ordered residents to vacate the premises for 60 days after labeling the house a "problem home." 

"Police had been called out to this property over and over again," said Enio Perizzolo, acting manager of the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods initiative. "The community was starting to lose hope that the problem would ever be solved."

Officers were called to the home 75 times for suspected drug trafficking and prostitution activity since the current owner took ownership in August 2009, said police.

SCAN, which uses local legislation to target problem properties, began investigating the home at 11233-94 Street in November 2010.

Officers attempted to resolve the matter informally, including sending a warning letter to the property owner, to no avail, said police.

On Wednesday, SCAN obtained a community safety order that evicts the owner of the property for 60 days and bans visitors for another 30 days.

"We hold the property owners accountable for the activities that occur on their property," said Perizzolo. "In this occasion, the home owner was living at the property, but was allowing prostitutes and drug users to rent suites in the residence."

The homeowner tried to evict some of the people, but ended up allowing them to return, said Perizzolo.

"It was causing a major strain in the neighbourhood," he said. "Everyone...should be able to enjoy their property."

The order will remain in effect for one year, during which time the owner must receive approval from police before renting out any room in the property.

Any prospective tenant must then complete a written application, provide references, and enter into a written tenancy agreement.