More concerns raised about Winnipeg landlords

Another former tenant of two Winnipeg landlords is speaking out about what she described as poor conditions in the inner-city rental property where she used to live.

Another former tenant of two Winnipeg landlords is speaking out about what she described as poor conditions in the inner-city rental property where she used to live.

Joan Ross said she had rented a house at 270 Tecumseh St. from Kulijinder and Navdeep Randhawa, who both own and manage more than 40 Winnipeg properties.

Ross told CBC News the property had electrical, plumbing and structural problems, and even bedbugs.

However, repeated calls to Kulijinder Randhawa were ignored, Ross alleged.

"I used to call her five and six times to get something fixed or something done, and she never did anything," Ross said Monday.

"Living in a reserve would be better than living in that house," she added.

Another rental home belonging to Kulijinder and Navdeep Randhawa, 495 Dufferin St., was deemed uninhabitable following an inspection Friday by city and provincial authorities.

The former tenant of the Dufferin Street home, Rodrick Pelletier, told CBC News last week that the building had rotting floor boards, a broken furnace and unreliable hot water.

Manitoba's chief public health inspector, Mike LeBlanc, said the findings from Friday's inspection will lead to a formal process that would prevent anyone from living in the Dufferin Street home until repairs are made.

The house at 270 Tecumseh burned to the ground in December. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Ross, whose daughter was still living in the Tecumseh Street house at the time of the fire, said she and her daughter have yet to get back their damage deposit or lost rent money.

'Slum landlord'

Ross, who has since moved into a housing co-operative unit, said she is angry to see her former landlady is still in business.

"I call her a slum landlord," she said. "She's taking advantage of people living on disability or on welfare."

Christina Maes, a policy and program analyst with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, said she has heard plenty of similar stories from tenants about other landlords in the city.

"One woman told us about how at first, water was included in the rent. The next month, the landlord said the water wasn't included," Maes said.

"The next month, there was no water, and the landlord actually told her to get a hose and run it from her neighbour's house into hers."

Maes said the City of Winnipeg needs to do more to monitor questionable landlords.

"We definitely need more bylaw enforcement," she said.

"Just because people don't have other options, [it] doesn't mean these landlords should be allowed to continue to exist."

Winnipeg bylaw officer John Lorbis said the city is trying to be more proactive.

"Our officers will walk up and down the street together and try to identity obvious violations of the neighbourhood livability bylaw," he said.