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Government approved teenage tenant destroys rental suite
Ryan White, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:17PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:36PM MDT
A Calgary landlord is calling his experience with a teenage tenant ‘disgusting, destructive and devastating’ as he continues to clean up after the rented suite was trashed.
Kius Pahlavan was talked into renting his suite to the teen by the government and, when the suite was severely damaged by the tenant, the government turned a blind eye.
The damage to Pahlavan's one bedroom suite is shocking. There are holes in the drywall, vomit in the sink and a knife piercing a bedroom wall.
"The damage they did is like a horror movie,” says Pahlavan.
Three months ago, the suite was immaculate and available for rent. Pahlavan hosted an open house to find a tenant for the property. That’s when, according to Pahlavan, a man from social services attended and talked him into renting the suite to an 18-year-old kid that needed a leg-up.
"He really kind of convinced me that most probably there'll be no trouble," says Pahlavan.
The social worker said he'd check on the kid regularly and paid the $775 damage deposit in cash, but the social worker didn't sign the lease or leave any documentation showing which agency he was from.
"The phone number, a cell phone number, that's the only thing we’ve got."
Pahlavan says the tenant troubles started as soon as the teen moved in. The landlord says the suite hosted parties which included fights and illicit drugs.
The social worker continued to pay the tenant's rent in cash but the teen’s poor behaviour continued. Pahlavan evicted the teen in March.
When Pahlavan asked the social worker to help fix the damage, the unknown agency sent a truck to haul out the garbage but the group wouldn't accept responsibility for any additional repairs or cleanup.
“That was the surprising part of the whole deal, that suddenly they (the unknown social agency) say, sorry, we are gone, you go and deal with it," says Pahlvan.
A frustrated Pahlavan contacted CTV Calgary’s Consumer Watch reporter, Lea Williams-Doherty. Lea determined the social worker was with Hull Services, a Calgary agency that works with troubled young people between the ages of 16 and 22.
The social worker was hired by the Child & Family Services Authority, a provincial agency, to help the teenager transition to independence.
Lea contacted the Child & Family Services Authority and asked if they would pay for the damage to Pahlavan’s apartment. A spokesperson for the agency said landlords do not have any recourse against the government since damages are the tenant's responsibility.
Lea reminded the spokesperson that a lease was never signed, and the landlord dealt solely with the social worker, never the teenage tenant. The Child & Family Services Authority spokesperson referred Lea to Hull Services, and Hull Services took responsibility for repairing the damages to the suite.
“I've seen the apartment there last week and I've spoken to the landlord and we're looking at covering the damages that were done to the apartment," says John Dahl, program director with Hull Services.
Hull Services' "Youth Transitioning to Adulthood Program" is intended to help teens and young adults pursue their education, obtain jobs, find a place to live and open a bank account.
The social workers are meant to assist the clients, but in challenging cases, the agency workers may take on a majority of the work in the hope the kid takes over all the responsibility down the line.
In this case, the social worker obtained the rental suite but it was supposed to be in the kid's name, not the government, and that's why there’s no documentation.
Lea asked both the province and Hull Services “If this kid couldn't do these things for himself, was he ready for you to go out and solicit private landlords on his behalf?”
With files from Lea Williams-Doherty