A Winnipeg woman is furious over being stuck with a whopping repair bill, after police raided an apartment that she owns.
Sherri Vanderstel had been renting out a luxury suite on Ashland Avenue to another woman when she got a call from the building manager, telling her that water was leaking into the suite below hers.
When she went to check it out, she found the door busted open, trash everywhere and the dishwasher ripped completely out of the wall, leaking water.
“I’m looking around and I see the warrant on the stove in her name, and it saying, you know, cocaine trafficking and possession of drugs, and I’m like ‘What the heck?’” said Vanderstel.
Police officers had raided the apartment a full two weeks earlier — and no one had been in touch with Vanderstel to let her know.
That meant water from the ripped-out dishwasher had been leaking the entire time.
Not only did it damage the suite below, but it also ruined brand new bamboo floors Vanderstel had just installed in the unit.
Repairing all the damage will cost Vanderstel $2,500.
Vanderstel said she thought her tenant was in finance.
"She was a well-put-together young lady and we had no suspicions that anything like this was happening,” she said.
At first, Vanderstel said police assured her the thousands of dollars in damage would be covered.
But when she filed a claim with the city, she got a letter back that said, “Please be advised that if our investigation reveals that Winnipeg Police Services were in attendance in response to any illegal activity at the premises, your claim may be turned down.”
Now, she said she’s stuck going after the tenant, who has been in custody, for the bill.
“We’re now told that we’re supposed to go after this person who has three aliases and no fixed address and is in jail for the damages to our place,” she said. “Well, that doesn’t really sit right with us.”
Vanderstel said she did get a damage deposit but “she didn’t do the damages. The police did the damages and then didn’t contact us, so the damages continued to occur.”
Vanderstel said police should have called her right after the raid.
A representative for Winnipeg police said officers will attempt to locate a keyholder if a property is not considered to be properly secured.
"I don't understand the process. It doesn't seem to make sense to me that they would bust into someone's condo and not say, 'Oh, by the way, we just did a drug raid on your place, and you should probably go check out the damages that we just did,’” said Vanderstel.
Winnipeg lawyer Martin Pollack said Vanderstel could file a complaint with the Law Enforcement Review Agency to try and recoup the costs or she could sue the police for the damages.
“It’s easy for the police to say, ‘It’s the cost of doing business when you’re a landlord,’ because they’re fobbing it off,” said Pollack. “The City of Winnipeg, when you deal with them, my experience as a lawyer, they are always going to deny.”
At the very least, Vanderstel wants the city to review its policy on notifying homeowners about raids. She said if she knew about the incident she couldn’t repaired the damage to the dishwasher before it caused thousands of dollars in damage.