Pubdate: Sat, 17 Nov 2007
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Page: A1, Front Page
Copyright: 2007 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)


Ex-Grow-Op Rented Without Disclosure, Tenant Alleges

It was a dream home and a fresh start for Steve Flood - until the
neighbours told him what had happened there, and his son got sick.

Shortly after the Flood family moved into 1652 Chornoby Cresc. in
Tecumseh, under a lease-to-own agreement, the neighbours told them the
house was once a marijuana grow operation.

They shrugged it off at first. But they started noticing mould in
vents and on walls and ceilings. There were electrical problems.
Baseboards buckled out from the walls, there were cracks in the
drywall and the ceiling had bubbled, apparently from the moisture
created in a grow operation.

Then their son Brady, 19, who already suffered from asthma and
allergies, started getting worse.

"We were coming back to my hometown, a complete fresh start," said
Flood, whose family was living in Shelburne near Toronto. "My son was
going to work with me for the first time. Then he couldn't do it
because he got sick. A fresh start turned into a complete disaster."

According to a Windsor Star story from the time, police raided the
house in October 2005.

The OPP searched the house after finding marijuana shake - stems and
seeds - in a U-Haul truck. Police said they found grow lamps and 700
grams of shake in the house grow operation, which was in the process
of being dismantled.

According to land registry documents, the house was sold under a power
of sale on Jan. 1, 2007. The owners, listed as Nicole Alcantara,
Richard Kentish and Marilyn Kentish, paid $327,400.

The Floods moved in on June 27 this year, after Steve's 27-year
absence from Windsor, for $1,550 a month. Brady, unable to live there,
has moved back to Shelburne.

Flood said he's never been able to talk to the house owners. He said
Malcolm Blanks, of Winbank Financial Services, rented them the house
on their behalf without disclosing its history. Flood said he asked
Blanks to give him back his money and he'd walk away, but Blanks refused.

Blanks told The Star he is a friend of the owners and isn't acting as
a property manager for them.

Blanks added that Flood saw the house before he moved in, but wouldn't
say if he told Flood about the home's history.

"He saw the condition of the house," said Blanks.

Contacted in Toronto, Marilyn Kentish claimed not to own the

"I think you're talking to the wrong person," Kentish said, adding
that Blanks handles the management of the property.

Federal prosecutor Richard Pollock said the government seizes and
sells 10 to 15 marijuana grow houses a year in the Windsor area.

"Essentially, the crown applies to the court to have the property
seized as offence-related property," said Pollock. "The property may
be ordered forefeited to the Crown."

He said the government can then sell the property and take the
proceeds. The government tells people when it's selling them a former
marijuana grow house, but there is no law requiring other sellers to
do the same, he said.

"I'm not aware of any legislation that compels it," said Pollock.
"There is no question a homeowner should have the right to know their
home has been used as a grow op."

Fred Shaw, manager of Century 21 Request Realty Inc., said real estate
agents are required to disclose "anything unusual" about a house, but
also didn't believe members of the general public must do the same.

Debi Haney, regional manager for the province's landlord and tenant
board, said the residential tenancies act doesn't have a rule for that
because it only deals with established residencies. After a tenant
moves in and realizes there is a problem, she said they can apply to
seek "remedy" from the landlord if the house isn't up to standards.

Flood said he did make an application and recently had a hearing. He
hasn't received a decision yet.

During that hearing, he said an air quality inspector who previously
inspected the house said the there was a mould problem.

"It was beyond my wildest guess as the level in the house," said
Flood, adding he couldn't get that report himself. "She described it
as the worst she's ever seen. After hearing that, you definitely worry
about it."

Flood said he's looking for a lawyer to launch a civil

Laurie, Flood's wife, said the can't move out until they get a tenant
act ruling, for fear it might affect their claim.

"You're trapped," she said. "You sit here every day, knowing you're
breathing air that could be more and more dangerous, but you're not in
a position to move. We're disappointed, really disappointed. We were
looking at this to be our home." 
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