Fanny Bay residents conducted a neighbourhood meeting last summer to discuss problem properties owned by Amandio Santos. Photo supplied

Fanny Bay residents conducted a neighbourhood meeting last summer to discuss problem properties owned by Amandio Santos. Photo supplied

Legal battle between Comox Valley Regional District, notorious landlord reaches courthouse

“You can’t virtue signal saving the homeless when you’re a slumlord”: prosecutor

A legal battle between the Comox Valley Regional District and the owner of several problem properties throughout the region was adjourned Thursday at the Courtenay Court House.

The CVRD commenced two prosecutions last fall against Amandio Santos for properties he owns in Fanny Bay and Black Creek. The Comox resident faces numerous charges related to bylaw complaints about his rental properties at 501 Holiday Rd. and 7390 Cougar Smith Rd. in Fanny Bay, and at 2180 Schulz Rd. in Black Creek. Neighbours have complained about garbage accumulation, derelicts, lack of working septic systems, and full-time occupancy of recreational vehicles and accessory buildings.

READ: Comox Valley Regional District initiates legal action against property owner

Thursday morning, Santos advised prosecutor Troy DeSouza that he wanted to adjourn.

“We’ve been down this path for a long time, at least five months or so,” said DeSouza, noting efforts by the CVRD to deal with public safety concerns. “The biggest issue that Mr. Santos is going to defend is that he’s trying to fix the homeless issue in the Valley. In my respectful submission, you can’t virtue signal saving the homeless when you’re a slumlord.”

A total of 17 bylaw infractions will be contested, but DeSouza said this fact does not underscore the impact to residents and neighbours in the area.

“It’s a huge issue with properties involving Mr. Santos, and this regional district is probably taking the strongest effort by actually prosecuting him before a provincial court judge.”

Santos has also been in trouble with the City of Courtenay, which declared another one of his rentals to be a nuisance property.

READ: Landlord of problem house addresses questions from Courtenay council

DeSouza had hoped to close the adjournment application and resolve the case on Friday. Proceedings, however, were adjourned because the courthouse is double booked and Santos was allowed to retain a lawyer. DeSouza expects to know the date of a new trial by about May 12.