KELOWNA – First they were evicted from their homes on short notice. Now the tenants are fighting to get some of their rent money back.
“Very ripped off. I personally have paid for a whole year of rent,” says Ian Freeman.
Freeman is one of the 10 tenants who lived in a building on Mayer Road until June 22. He and the other lower income residents were given a short-notice eviction when the property was sold in a foreclosure sale. With his rent pre-paid until the end of September, Freeman is now out about $2,300.
“I believe all of our damage deposit should be paid back, and I believe he should compensate the rest of the rent he has,” says Freeman.
Alex Markus is another former tenant, having moved in only a week before being evicted. He also feels ripped off, suggesting the former owner took his money knowing he would be kicked out within days.
“I just moved in a week ago, gave the landlord a $322 security deposit, $300 dollars rent and a week later I’m getting evicted,” he says.
Making matters worse, there wasn’t even an occupancy permit for the property, meaning the tenants were technically squatters. Global News tracked down Heinz Strege, the former owner and landlord of the property.
When asked why he rented out the house on Mayer Road without an occupancy permit, he denied not having one in place.
“I already have partial occupancy,” says Heinz Strege.
While Strege maintains he had the proper permits, the city of Kelowna confirms there was no occupancy permit in place. As for returning the rents already paid, Strege promises to pay the residents back.
“They will get the money back for the rest of June, simple as that,” says Strege.
When questioned about some of the tenants having pre-paid until the end of September, Strege originally denied the claims.
“No they didn’t, “ he said, before admitting moments later he owed one person money in September.
Strege owns another rooming house on Graham road in Rutland. Residents there may soon be in the same situation.
Despite saying the property may be for sale, a real estate check shows the house is already on the market – it too listed as a foreclosure sale