It’s been several months since the unnoticed dead body in the illegal rooming house across the street caused a bit of an uproar in our ‘hood. Sadly, there seems to be no interest in uncovering the events that lead to the death. At first I thought it might be due to his colour but I suspect it has more to do with his socio-economic status and involvement with drug dealers. Who cares about another dead junkie? Somewhat of a sad indictment on the police, the media, and us, the community, when we can judge some people to be of less value. His suspicious death will probably only be of value if someone higher up the ‘food chain’ of drug dealing can be connected. Otherwise it may very well languish and be forgotten.
The whole incident did get the house onto the city’s radar. A very determined housing inspector finally got access to go inside the house about a month ago. Sitting on my side porch enjoying a martini I was able to witness the slumlord being taken to task for multiple violations on the outside of the house with (I’m guessing – due to the nearly two hours they spent inside) an equal number of problems inside. I was a bit dismayed when I heard the owner tell the inspector ‘thanks for going easy on me’ which made me wonder what he might be getting away with.
The days passed. No work was done on the house. Drug dealers and ‘working ladies’ busy as ever. Looked like nothing was going to change. That is… until I noticed something strange one afternoon last week. A very determined looking lady (you know the type – bluetooth earpiece affixed to her head…) was crawling all over the property with a couple of men taking measurements…. Interesting.
Seems the city had denied their application to operate legally as a rooming house. They could operate as a rental property if they made some major renovations but now that the city has the owners on their watch list it they are inspecting all their other properties as well so it looks like they are opting to divest. May be a hard sale, unless they let it go for a song, as they’ve made to many half-assed repairs (many without permits or inspections) and not thought things out (like replacing the plaster with drywall but not bothering to upgrade the electrical while the walls were down). House flipping is still happening in our neighbourhood so we’re hoping somebody sees the value in a house with 6 fireplaces in an up and coming area.
The city is allowing people to live there in the meantime, under a few conditions. They have to reduce the number of people to five (we think there may have been as many as 10 people living there) and one room on each floor has to be opened and converted into a common area. They also have to keep the front door unlocked so if the police want to enter they can. A couple of the drug dealers, thinking this bad for business, have since moved out.
Now we’re waiting for the ‘For Sale’ sign to go up. Hopefully it won’t be on the market too long. I can handle construction traffic. It’s junkies to lazy to get out of their cars sitting in front honking their horns that get on my nerves.
Finally, under the heading of ‘be careful what you wish for’, there’s the feral felines. The cat colony has gotten as large as it has due to their feeding of the cats. I put out a little bit of food a couple of times a week (mainly for a couple of orphaned kittens living in our bushes) but am not sure if I want to put out food every day or for the whole population. There is almost always three or four cats on their front porch and I have never been able to trap any of those. I seem to just get the stragglers living on the edges of the colony. When the house sells or when the boarders are forced to leave the cat colony is going to be in for a bit of a shock. Hopefully, with all the cats I’ve had fixed, the population is sustainable. Just have to wait and see.
Oddly, we just had a knock on our door (M is at home today). A police officer and someone from the RRHA (Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority) asking if someone called the police… M said no and they went on to the next house. She had the impression they were checking out the interior of our house. Fishing trip for other rooming houses in our ‘hood? Perhaps, I just don’t know why someone from the RRHA would be with out on a random police call. Anyone else have a better idea?