Northview Apartment REIT says it’s reviewing allegations it charged NWT tenants thousands in illegal fees to keep pets, calling the matter “deeply troubling.”
Last week, the CBC reported Northview had been charging monthly pet fees – usually $25 per pet – to keep animals in its buildings. However, legislation in the territory allows only for the collection of refundable deposits, not regular fees.
The broadcaster said the territory’s rental officer had asked Northview “dozens of times to stop.”
On Friday, Northview – which is easily Yellowknife’s largest private landlord, responsible for more than a thousand units – issued unsigned letters to tenants of Yellowknife properties where pets are permitted.
In the letter, Northview appears to refer to CBC’s reporting. “We have recently been made aware of a potential accounting error that may have affected some residents who participated in our pet deposit program,” the company writes.
In full: NWT Residential Tenancies Act (see Section 14.1 for pet deposits)
“As building owners this situation is deeply troubling to Northview Apartment REIT as, no doubt, it is to the affected residents.”
Documented NWT rental office decisions show Northview was aware of the issue for at least the past year.
“We are treating this very seriously,” the letter states, “and have begun an extensive internal review to understand what may have happened, how it could have happened, and what can, and should, be done going forward to make it right.”
In the past, the NWT rental officer has ordered Northview to reimburse tenants in similar circumstances.
Northview said an independent auditor had been hired to review residents’ accounts and identify “any inconsistencies in our policies or inaccuracies in our approach.”
The company told residents it would “act without delay” on the recommendations of that review, though no timeline was provided.