April 2, 2019 8:38 am

Bylaw to curb street parties on hold after London landlords raise concerns

Police footage of the Broughdale Avenue area at around 1:46 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, during FOCO celebrations.

Supplied photo / London Police Service
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A bylaw change that puts more onus on property owners to stop their tenants from throwing illegal street parties is drawing the ire of a group of landlords.

In an effort to crack down on rowdy student gatherings — like the one that happens every fall in London’s Broughdale neighbourhood — city staff suggested last week to up the maximum fines for nuisance parties to $25,000, and to let landlords off the hook if they could prove they’d done something to prevent it.

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READ MORE: London considers increasing fines to curb street parties

But Joseph Hoffer, a lawyer representing more than 600 members that make up the London Property Management Association, said landlords are prohibited from controlling the conduct of their tenants under the province’s Residential Tenancies Act.

“The effect of the bylaw is to compel landlords to do something illegal, and that’s repugnant,” he said.

For example, if a landlord were to issue a no-trespass notice to stop someone from coming on the property, the landlord would be interfering with their tenants’ reasonable enjoyment of the property and would, therefore, be breaching provincial legislation, Hoffer explained.

“The other suggestion is the landlord themselves go onto the property, and try to prevent whatever’s going on,” said Hoffer.

“Quite apart from the safety risk, landlords are prohibited from entering the property unless they give 24 hours written notice with some particulars as to when they’re going on.”

READ MORE: 20,000 people, 134 charges, 57 hospitalized: emergency officials detail 2018 FoCo stats

The city is going to get legal advice on the matter before moving forward.

London police estimate that 20,000 students swarmed the area of Boughdale Avenue last September for Fake Homecoming — or FOCO — celebrations.

The massive party sent 57 people to hospital with injuries, and emergency services had a hard time getting through the throngs of pedestrians who were blocking the roads.

The cost for police to respond to the event was expected to be more than $100,000.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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