City of Greater Sudbury writes off $500K in unpaid rent and damages
SUDBURY -- From not paying rent to causing damages, Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation says it has identified 183 former tenant accounts valued at $502,240 that have to be written off.
Last week, city council approved the total cost to be written off, but many are wondering why the cost is so high.
The city’s director of housing operations, Barb Dubois, says tenants are moving out while still owing rent and there are significant delays in getting evictions through the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Both of these things are factors as to why the write off amount is up over $100,000 for the last year.
"For example, we filed in December for some hearings, got hearing dates at the end of January because of a lack of adjudicators. Those dates were cancelled then, now they are being heard in March," said Dubois. "So, that’s three months, between December and March, where we’re waiting just to get in front of an adjudicator, when they were already in arrears to start with. That puts them four to five months in arrears.”
Dubois says the lack of adjudicators is something that the Ontario Ombudsman is looking into.
Greater Sudbury City Councillor Mark Signoretti says it’s unfortunate that the process takes so long.
He feels there is a long list of people who could be using the services that would pay on time, adding “it seems like it’s a little bit of cat-and-mouse game that’s going on with some of these situations."
Signotetti calls it "unfortunate" and he hopes "the Ombudsman can find a solution."
Dubois tells CTV News unpaid rent was the biggest chunk of the half-million dollar write off," but adds "damages also cost the city over $174,000. So, the question remains, why are tenants not paying their bills?"
“You can’t definitively say what’s causing the issue, but there are more mental health and addictions and other issues that residents are choosing how to spend their money and where to spend it,” said Dubois.
The housing corporation is partnering with Ontario Works on an eviction prevention pilot project.
The Social Service pilot will try to protect tenants and avoid eviction for non-payment of rent and loss of subsidy.