Edmonton Journal

Landlord fined $250K for failing to fix building

- PAIGE PARSONS pparsons@edmontonjo­urnal.com Twitter.com/paigeepars­ons

The landlord of an Edmonton apartment building described as a “war zone” has been fined $250,000 for failing to fix a litany of dangerous and unsanitary conditions.

Mainstreet Equity Corp. was sentenced in Edmonton court Friday, after being earlier convicted of 129 counts under the Public Health Act.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Mainstreet acquired the threestore­y, 23-suite building at 10630 105 Street in May 2012, but the property, Called Rosa Manor had a history of violations dating to 2005.

When Alberta Health Services inspectors visited the property in July 2012, they found the hallways strewn with clothes, shoes and garbage. In the laundry room, a hole in the floor was filled with garbage, condoms and possibly fecal matter. There were also broken doors, windows, and problems with the stairs.

A later search inside the suites uncovered numerous other issues with mice, bedbug and cockroach infestatio­ns.

Of the 23 suites, 10 were infested with cockroache­s.

There were also leaks and broken fixtures in bathrooms, unfinished ceilings and walls and mould.

In the following months, AHS repeatedly ordered Mainstreet to clean up and do repairs, but found the company’s efforts unsatisfac­tory.

In October 2012, Edmonton police described the property as a “war zone” because the majority of the windows were smashed, there was no heat in the common areas and a squatter was staying in one of the suites.

In November 2012, AHS ordered all tenants to vacate the building.

Ivan Bernardo, prosecutor for Alberta Health Services, said though Mainstreet’s efforts to consult with AHS should be taken into account during sentencing, the fact that the situation came to prosecutio­n and Mainstreet’s refusal to take responsibi­lity were also important considerat­ions.

“Guilt was contested until the end,” Bernardo said.

The prosecutio­n and defence both argued that the total fines should amount to $250,000.

“It sends an appropriat­e and strong message to landlords in Alberta,” Bernardo said.

Mainstreet offers apartment rentals across Edmonton, including housing for students of Grant MacEwan, NAIT and Norquest College. The company has properties in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchew­an. Its corporate headquarte­rs are in Calgary.

In May, the company was a “Top Pick” on Business News Network’s Market Call Tonight show. The segment highlighte­d Mainstreet Equity Corp. for its cheap stock price and potential for growth.

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