Quinte region Landlords are seeking help to butt out problems caused by some tenants who smoke.
Fed up with the damage caused by some tenants smoking in their units, members of the Quinte Landlords Association brought in the Public Health Unit to educate them on how to outlaw smoking in their buildings.
Health Promoter Rebecca Mathers-Phillips from the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health gave an hour-long seminar on how to convert rental buildings to smoke-free. Local landlords learned that they have access to free signs, literature, and other resources to let tenants know smoking is not permitted.
“Our members have had enough of irresponsible smokers causing significant damage to their rental units through smoking” said association president Robert Gentile. “The smoke gets into the floors, carpets, appliances, everywhere, and it takes a lot of work to
remove the grime from the walls and ceilings” said one angry landlord and added “the clean up bill after a tenant moves out can add up to hundreds of dollars.”
He said going after the tenant in small claims court is an option, but not always practical which means landlords pay out of pocket for tenant negligence.
“We’ve warned tenants before, but this time we’re getting serious and will have the smoking ban enforced if we have to,” said Gentile. At the landlords’ request, the Health Unit has offered to send in uniformed enforcement officers to clamp down on tenants who don’t respect the smokefree designation.
“Our members are prepared to have the officers in their buildings issuing tickets if that’s what it takes,” warns Gentile.
Gentile said his members respect the rights of their tenants to smoke, just not when it causes damage to their buildings and upsets other tenants.
“All we ask is that tenants smoke outside away from doors and windows and clean up their butts. That’s not too unreasonable, is it?”
The association serves members in Belleville, Trenton, Prince Edward County, Brighton, Stirling, Tweed, Deseronto, Tyendinaga, and Napanee.
Experts on various landlord-related topics are invited to speak at the groups’ regular meetings. The association was also formed to network with other area landlords to share tips, information and ideas, and also warnings about known fraudulant tenants.
Gentile wants to get the word out about the association because it has been operated more like a “secret club” for more than 15 years.
“As the new president, I’m changing that. There are likely hundreds of small scale landlords across the region, including PEC, that are suffering financially and emotionally at the hands of fraudulent tenants not paying rent and damaging apartments. This is exacerbated by a broken rental tribunal system that is fraught with delays and loop holes.
“Every week I hear from landlords signing up as members and saying they could have used the help and support years ago but never knew we existed. They tell me about landlords who have quit and sold their units after taking a beating because they didn’t know of any local landlord group to turn to for help. Some of them have actually broke down and cried in frustration and exhaustion.”
Gentile said municipalities in the region have been reporting housing shortages and need private landlords to fill the gap.
“But many people are afraid to become landlords or are trying, failing, and getting out of it. This is where our association comes in. The more landlords who know we exist, they will have a resource to turn to for training and education on how to be a successful landlord, thereby providing more rental housing in our region.”
More information on The Quinte Landlord’s Association can be found at 613-707-3879 or
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