Archive for August, 2012

30
Aug
12

beware: It’s harvest time for pot farmers….

 

 

ONTARIO – As the annual marijuana harvest period approaches, police are reminding the public about the dangers of outdoor grow-operations.

Typically, marijuana crops are harvested as early as late August up until the beginning of October. During this period, pot growers will be headed into rural areas to collect their plants, which are typically grown in swamps, corn fields, wooded areas, along rivers and on rural, rental properties with large acreage.

There are several public safety risks with these grow operations. Growers often carry  weapons and ammunition and the grow sites are usually protected by booby traps to keep trespassers like “pot pirates” at bay.

Potentially these hazards could lead to dangerous confrontations for unsuspecting, innocent people – including children – who just happen to be in the area of these illegal crops.

There are also environmental dangers of grow-ops, which usually involves the unregulated use and disposal of different chemicals and other environmentally-damaging products.

The OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) continues to warn the public about the increasing threat to public and police officer safety posed by the expansion of marijuana cultivation.

Marijuana grown in Ontario is typically distributed throughout the province and exported to the United States. Stronger drugs, such as cocaine, as well as weapons and cash, often return to Ontario to fuel other criminal enterprises, which further endanger public safety.

Marijuana plants are bright green in colour and grow to between three and five feet in height. The leaves have seven jagged fingers and the plants give off a strong, pungent, musty odour.

Here are some of the telltale signs of a grow operation:

 

  • Abandoned vehicles parked on sideroads or trails
  • People walking in remote areas for no apparent reason
  • Bags of fertilizer, planting trays or chemicals located in remote areas
  • Well-trampled trails in wooded or swamp areas
  • Cleared out areas in swamps, wooded areas or corn fields
  • Recent posting of “No Trespassing” signs.

 

If you discover or suspect an outdoor grow operation, call police or Crime Stoppers, but do not take matters into your own hands. If it can be done safely, try to record any licence plates or GPS information that could help police with their investigation.

If by accident you find yourself in a grow-op, leave the same way you came in to avoid setting off a booby trap.

 

from the Alliston Herald

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29
Aug
12

….don’t be sad, still another few days left of summer….

 

Not to spoil the mood, but we are close to the Fall, and with every change of season, there are maintenance items to review and see which ones should be done, and in which order.  Getting an early start to these leaves you more prepared in case Winter comes early.

The CMHC has a good list of what you should be looking at doing at your properties:

 

Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean.

Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system. Bleed air from hot water radiators.

Disconnect the power to the furnace and examine the forced-air furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup.

Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.

Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.

Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate. Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.

Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.

Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.

If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.

Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).

Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

Clean portable humidifier, if one is used.

Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.

Replace window screens with storm windows.

Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home.

Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.

Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weatherstripping if required.

If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

Cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power.

Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.

Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.

Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.

Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.

If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.

Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

 

23
Aug
12

another property to start managing this month…..

Really nice 6-plex in downtown Barrie, recently purchased by the realestate rangers.  Check them out at http://realestaterangers.ca

17
Aug
12

another property to start managing this month…

Great 3 bdrm house in South Barrie…

 

11
Aug
12

landlord attacked with an axe yesterday…,.

CTV Toronto
A man has been arrested after a violent axe assault in the city’s west end, Toronto police said Friday.

Police say the assault occurred Friday morning, shortly before 10 a.m., when a landlord went to pick up a rent cheque at an address near Dundas Street West and Bloor Street West.

The tenant let the landlord in and then allegedly attacked him by swinging an axe overhead several times, said Toronto police spokesperson Tony Vella.

The landlord was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Vella said the victim is fortunate to be alive and is recovering in hospital.

Rallin Edward Lawes, 64, of Toronto, has been charged with one count of attempted murder.

He will appear in court at Old City Hall Saturday morning.

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06
Aug
12

we’ll see where this goes…

This article was taken from the Star…not a new topic for sure, as there have been various tenant action groups pushing for standardized leases for a long time now, but this one’s gaining a little momentum.

There’s nothing wrong with ensuring that leases comply with the law…there are some crazy things out there, but with all the unique properties out there, there will always be slight changes required to any lease.

 

Ontario tenants federation pushing for standardized leases….

It’s the clause that has no claws, yet many landlords still use it, and many prospective tenants still fear it.

The infamous “no pets allowed” line is frequently inserted into lease agreements, sending many animal-owning apartment seekers scattering.

However, what some do not know is that the clause is void in Ontario. And it’s not the only one.

Does your lease say you can’t have overnight guests? Void. Obligated to pay a damage deposit? Void.

Due to a general lack of awareness on the parts of both landlords and tenants on how to bring a lease in line with Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act, with all its rules that govern living arrangements, the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA) has come up with what it believes to be a solution.

This fall, the FMTA will roll out its version of a standardized lease agreement, an 11-page document they want all landlords in Ontario to use. Similar templates exist in other jurisdictions,including parts of Australia.

The standardized lease would lay out the rights and responsibilities of each party as stipulated by the tenancies act, as well as room for negotiating charges and services provided, such as electricity bills or parking fees. In other words, “clauses that are not void,” said Anita Agrawal, the FMTA’s vice-chair.

“Our first priority is to propose it and have it legislated, and then to give tenants the ability to better negotiate with their landlord,” she said.

The FMTA’s board is currently working on a promotional campaign for their “fair lease” concept and approaching MPPs.

But on the government end, it seems there is little interest in the idea.

“Considering the unique nature of each tenancy agreement in Ontario, we believe landlords and tenants should have the flexibility to decide how best to determine the lease agreement,” said Richard Stromberg, a spokesman for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The concept of a standardized lease partly stems from the numerous phone calls fielded by the FMTA’s hotline from tenants questioning certain sections of their lease.

“When one of (the void) clauses appears, we tell tenants they don’t even have to debate it. They can tell the landlord or can go straight to the Landlord and Tenant Board,” said Geordie Dent, the FMTA’s executive director.

While Stromberg pointed out that landlords are obligated to give new renters a government-produced “Information for New Tenants” brochure, the document only touches on one of the five void clauses mentioned by the FMTA: the clause regarding damage deposits.

Daryl Chong, president of the Greater Toronto Apartment Association, which represents owners of multi-unit residences, said the tenancies act “already acts as a kind of standardized lease” as landlords must follow it.

At the Ontario Landlords Association, which acts on behalf of small residential landlords, spokesperson Liz Dong said the association does its best to educate its members on how to properly draft leases.

Should there be a greater push for a standardized lease in the near future, Dong said “it will require all stakeholders to create it,” mentioning tenant groups, “huge corporate landlords,” and landlords of small- and medium-sized buildings.

Top 5 most commonly reported void clauses in leases

• No pets allowed

• Requiring a tenant to pay a damage deposit

• No overnight guests

• Requiring a tenant to get contents insurance

• No subletting




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