Crime Prevention & Safety for Homes & Rental Properties : Home Security | Rental Properties | Block Watch
Problems regarding living conditions usually result from violations of the City's Standards and Maintenance as well as Building Codes. They should be reported to your Neighborhood Police Officer or your local Neighborhood Integrated Services Team (NIST) members.
The NIS Team is composed of City and other community agency employees working together to help communities solve problems. Teams take advantage of the extensive network of City facilities and services already existing in communities – libraries, recreation centres, community-based policing, fire halls, planning, inspections, garbage collection, and so on. Team members also include representatives from external community agencies such as the Vancouver School Board and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.
From problem premises to a community cleanup, NISTs work in and with communities on a wide range of quality-of-life issues.
Illegal Activities on Rental Properties
Property owners are responsible for using their property in an ordinary and reasonable manner that is conducive to the peace and harmony of the neighborhood and does not interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.
Property owners who maintain a drug house or allow one to exist on their property, introduce fear, violence, noise, litter, and health risks to a neighborhood, and destroy its peace and harmony. Contact your Neighborhood Police Officer if you become aware of illegal activities occurring on rental properties.
It should be noted by all property owners, that if a "Grow Operation" (illegal marijuana growing on the premises) is in your building, it will cause significant damage to the structure. The type of damage may include mould and mildew, both which occur inside walls, and cannot be painted over. Mould exposure over a long period of time is hazardous to your health and some moulds are poisonous. A Grow-Op can destroy a residence within months; structural damage will become apparent the longer the grow-op is present.
A regular inspection of your property can prevent problems from occurring.
One of the biggest risks to your property where there is illegal drug making activity comes from fire. To run the lights necessary to grow marijuana requires a large source of electricity. Overloaded conductors, bypasses of Hydro lines, taps into neighbouring residences can lead to risk of electrocution or fire. In combination with propane or natural gas, which are often used to cook in these residences, the potential for an explosion followed by fire is extremely high. Where there are plants, comes the need for water. Grow-Ops often incur significant water damage through the walls and the flooring. The waste from drug operations will result in toxic contamination of the property, the building and the place where it is stored.
As an owner of property, you need to be aware that your insurance policy will not cover any loss or damage stemming from Grow-Op activity. Insurance companies take a hard line approach to fraudulent claims of damage or loss to a property where such activity has occurred.
Prevention of this type of activity begins with the property owner. Always screen your tenants:
- advise your tenant you will conduct a credit check
- ask for at least 3 references, including 2 previous landlords; go look at their previous residences
- inform your tenants you have the right to inspect your property before you rent to them; follow through with regular inspections.
Do not confront a drug suspect. Call the police if you see anything suspicious.
A collective team effort involving the NIS Team, your Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) and residents of an affected community will work together to collect evidence of drug activities and their effects on the neighborhood. The property owner will be notified and specific actions discussed to stop these activities.
The Vancouver Police Department is committed to working in a problem-solving partnership with individuals, community groups, and businesses to fight crime and improve the quality of life for the people of Vancouver. However, we cannot succeed on the efforts of the police alone. The community also has a responsibility to fulfill. Visit your local Community Policing Center to discuss concerns and find out who to contact to help your neighborhood.
Do not be afraid to speak up at community planning, City Council, PTA, church groups, political action groups, and any other community based interest meetings either. Don't wait for crime to happen, or disorder problems to get out of hand. Raise your concerns within your community or directly to the VPD.
Responsibility of Owners – Tenant Applicant Screening Criteria
The following applicant criteria should be used as a basis for tenant selection:
- proper completion of application form in person
- sufficient proof of ability to pay the rent
- two (2) pieces of identification including one photo ID, must be presented with the application
- minimum of three references from unbiased sources, including at least one landlord reference
- only 2 people are allowed to occupy one bedroom suites
- the applicant must sign the landlord's tenancy agreement after acceptance
Residential Tenancy Agreement Addendum
In consideration of the execution of renewal of a Residential Agreement of the residential property identified in the Residential Tenancy Agreement, Landlord and Tenant agree as follows:
1.0 The tenant(s), and member of the tenant's household, and any persons invited onto the residential property or residential premise by the tenant(s) or any member of the tenant's family shall not engage in any criminal activity on the premises or property, including but not limited to:
a. Any drug-related criminal activity
b. Solicitation (pimps, prostitution activity)
c. Street gang activity
d. Assault or threatened assault, in regard to persons on the premises
e. Unlawful use of a firearm
f. Any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or welfare of the landlord, other tenants or persons on the residential property or residential premises.
VIOLATION OF THE ABOVE, WHICH IS A REASONABLE AND MATERIAL TERM OF THE TENANCY AGREEMENT, SHALL BE GOOD CAUSE FOR A NOTICE TO END A TENANCY.