This home has been ordered either renovated, or demolished. (Gazette file)

Editorial: Absentee landlords should still care for properties

This is not a problem that is unique to the Cowichan Lake area, of course.

The order to either significantly fix up or demolish a home on North Shore Road in Lake Cowichan demonstrates the issues that can crop up when absentee landlords don’t take adequate care of their properties.

This is not a problem that is unique to the Cowichan Lake area, of course. Communities everywhere struggle with rundown properties owned by folks in distant parts. In this particular case, the home is owned, according to the Town of Lake Cowichan, by someone who lives in Japan.

Consequently this is not someone who has a big stake in how things are going in the neighbourhood on a daily basis — indeed, chances are slim he’s going to even do a regular drive-by of the property. Some absentee landlords have never even seen the land and buildings they own.

Not all property owners that live at a distance from the homes and land they own take such poor care of what is, after all, an asset. But the chances do seem to go up as the miles stretch out. It’s taken some time for the home to deteriorate to this condition.

Absentee landlords need to care about the communities and neighbourhoods where their investments are. After all, keeping that asset in good repair, and the neighbourhood and community as a whole in top shape, makes that asset more valuable. One would think it would go without saying, but it doesn’t seem to. Some seem to not care what condition the property falls into as long as the rent cheques keep coming — and they don’t have to live next to the crumbling infrastructure or face the neighbours at the grocery store. It becomes a problem for the community.

Good, solid rental stock is desperately needed in Lake Cowichan, as it is across Vancouver Island. That rental stock is allowed to disappear like this through neglect is a big problem.

Yes, there are terrible tenants that wreck rentals that can be difficult to get rid of that can sometimes leave landlords fuming and holding a big bill. We feel for those who encounter this situation as well.

But there are many more good tenants who want a quality place to live.

If you’re not going to care about what’s best for the neighbourhood and the community, at least care for your own pocketbook and keep your rental in good shape.

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