Property managers Ashley and Shane Neil stand in front of a rooming house at 522 Hecate St., which received a nuisance property designation from the city Monday after they were denied a request for a 60-day extension so they could evict a problem tenant.

Property managers Ashley and Shane Neil stand in front of a rooming house at 522 Hecate St., which received a nuisance property designation from the city Monday after they were denied a request for a 60-day extension so they could evict a problem tenant.

Nanaimo properties slapped with nuisance designation

NANAIMO – City labels King Arthur Court and Hecate Street house as a drain on emergency services.

Problematic properties were back on city council’s agenda Monday when it gave two rental residences nuisance designations.

The two addresses named are 564 Fifth St., also known as King Arthur Court – previously designated a nuisance property in 2010 – and 522 Hecate St., which received its first nuisance property designation.

Ashley and Shane Neil manage the rooming house at 522 Hecate St. and a building at 690 Albert St. for owner Lisa Barry, who lives in Vancouver and Mexico.

“We’ve always had issues in these places,” Ashley Neil said. “I mean, that’s what’s going to happen when you have low-income housing for people who are at-risk and high risk for homelessness and other problems, too.”

She said most tenants live quietly and comfortably, but a few ruin it for everyone.

Properties get a nuisance designation for repeated calls for emergency services for drug activity, violence, noise and other disturbances.

Rob Davidson, the city’s acting manager for bylaw regulations and security, said once a property gets a nuisance designation, its owner is billed the city’s costs for emergency personnel, services and the time on scene in 15-minute increments for each new call. The designation can be removed after nuisance calls stop for several months.

Neil said the nuisance designation is unfair when another rental property nearby “has crack deals going right out the window.”

“Here our tenants, you know, they get in fights or they have an issue or somebody sets off a smoke alarm and we’re a nuisance,” Neil said.

Davidson said police were called to 522 Hecate St. 10 times in 2015 for fights, a male waving a sword at another person, assaults, domestic disputes, a noisy party, public disturbances from intoxication and a passerby shot with an air gun.

“In 2016, to date, we’ve had eight calls already, so it seems it’s ramping itself up,” Davidson said.

He said the number and severity of calls to King Arthur Court were on the rise, too, and the city was writing its nuisance property report for the complex when two children pricked their fingers on syringes discarded in a stump on the property in late March.

Fred Williams, King Arthur Court manager, who was hired to clean up the complex last summer, also said conditions are better now, but a few bad tenants ruin it for everyone.

“Once we get the two really bad ones out – and that’s hard. I know one of them is afraid of the police coming and kicking their door in, so they’re going to leave,” Williams said.

Nanaimo News Bulletin