New Brunswick

Moncton landlord apologizes for telling tenants homeless people 'chose' the streets

A Moncton property owner who told tenants not to help homeless people on or around the property is apologizing, calling her choice of words in a rental document a mistake that doesn't reflect her views today.

Property owner says she didn’t realize government wasn’t helping enough, calls wording ‘a mistake’

Screen capture of a woman with long blonde hair and glasses.
Anick Dadson, who owns A&A Real Estate Investors with her husband, Art Dadson, says she takes 'full responsibility' for the wording of a document that's drawn lot of negative reaction. (CBC)

A Moncton property owner who told tenants not to help homeless people on or around the property is apologizing, calling her words in a rental document a mistake that don't reflect her views today.

Anick Dadson, who owns A&A Real Estate Investors with her husband, Art Dadson, says she takes "full responsibility" for the document that claimed "all" homeless people have food and a place to sleep provided by the government.

She says that wording — and a claim that anyone living on the street "chose" to be there —  has now been removed from the 15-page "welcome letter" that laid out rules for tenants.

"I wish all of this didn't happen," she said in an interview. "I take responsibility that it did happen. I apologize for that opinion that I had, that I definitely do not share nowadays.

"I honesty thought back then that some of the homeless people were choosing not to utilize those services … I know now for a lot of people, it's not an option for them. It's not available for them."

Dadson said she approved the original document to send a message to tenants in the buildings she and her husband bought in 2021.

Three identical three-storey brick buildings.
The owner of these Savoie Drive apartments has apologized for the content of lease documents that prohibited residents from helping homeless people around the property. (Google Street View)

The building wasn't secure, and in some cases residents would find homeless people sleeping in the hallways of the building in the morning, Dadson said. Needles were another common sight. 

"We had to put a stop to it, and we had to establish those rules," she said. 

Tenants were upset and felt helpless, she added, and the document was written in the way it was "to give them a sense of release" from feeling guilty.

But she said she realized over time that the suggestion that homeless people were choosing the street was wrong. 

When news organizations began reporting on the document, she changed it, removing those lines.

"That was an opinion that I had that I don't share anymore, so I changed it right away," she said. "I was happy to change it."

New version encourages helping

Dadson said her husband, a realtor, had "absolutely nothing to do" with the letter.

The assertion that all homeless people have a place to sleep and that they "chose" to be on the streets is not in the new version Dadson sent to CBC News.

While the original version encouraged tenants to contact the city to find out how to help "outside of the premises," the new version includes an additional sentence:

"Please keep in mind that we do not discourage you from helping homeless people as we believe that it is more important than ever to help one another in these difficult times of crises," it says. 

Dadson contacted CBC News on Tuesday afternoon after a story about the rental document was published.

She and her husband turned down an interview request last Friday and did not respond to a subsequent email asking for factual clarifications or to an additional phone call Monday.

In an Instragam post Tuesday, Art Dadson wrote that he'd been called "greedy" as a result of the CBC story. 

But he said friends tease him about being an "angel" because he always goes "above and beyond to help as many people as I can in this life." 

The Instagram post says 25 of the 29 units in the three Moncton buildings are covered by a government affordable housing program "to ensure that rental prices are fair." 

Anick Dadson said the company receives no government funding in return for keeping rents affordable for a decade.

The province said Friday that restricting tenants from helping homeless people at a rental property does not violate the Residential Tenancies Act.


Jacques Poitras

Provincial Affairs reporter

Jacques Poitras has been CBC's provincial affairs reporter in New Brunswick since 2000. He grew up in Moncton and covered Parliament in Ottawa for the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. He has reported on every New Brunswick election since 1995 and won awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, the National Newspaper Awards and Amnesty International. He is also the author of five non-fiction books about New Brunswick politics and history.

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