Landlord Lobby Board Member Deletes ‘Insensitive’ Tweet About Hamilton Murder
He claimed that a Hamilton-area landlord was pushed to “murder,” his tenants by the failures of the landlord-tenant board.
A board member with the Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario—an organization of landlords that has lobbied Ministers in the Ford government—has deleted an “insensitive,” tweet claiming dysfunction at the Landlord Tenant Board pushed a Hamilton-area landlord to kill his tenant.
In Stoney Creek on Saturday, an electrician and education assistant were shot-dead. According to Hamilton police, the suspect is their landlord, who allegedly opened fire after an altercation over the “state of the rental unit.”
Varun Sriskanda, a property manager with Sriskanda Property Management, a past landlord and a board member with the Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario (SOLO) took to Twitter to offer his interpretation of the events.
Sriskanda claimed that the Hamilton-area landlord was pushed to “murder,” his tenants by the failures of the landlord-tenant board.
“Landlords taking matters into their own hands is not something I encourage,” Sriskanda wrote, before warning that, “this is what happens when we don’t have a functioning tribunal.”
“That was a very careless tweet that has since been deleted,” Sriskanda told PressProgress.Previously, in 2020, Sriskanda led a landlord protest against the COVID-19 evictions moratorium.
Sriskanda was asked to clarify if he meant, in his now deleted tweet, that the tenant board’s backlog makes it too difficult otherwise to get a tenant removed.
“Yes,” Sriskanda said.
I previously released a tweet in regards to a tragic situation in Hamilton, Ontario which saw 3 lives lost. The tweet was insensitive, careless and failed to account for the gravity of the situation. I sincerely apologize for my poorly chosen words.
— Varun Sriskanda (@VarunSriskanda) May 29, 2023
On its website, SOLO claims to be an organization of “landlords helping landlords.” Its facebook page regularly call-out “deadbeat tenants,” across Ontario and calling regulations “a war on small landlords.”
Despite no official registrations in Ontario’s lobby registry, its website further says it has had meetings with Ontario government Ministers including Attorney General Doug Downey, Housing Minister Steve Clark and Doug Ford.
Contacted by PressProgress a spokesperson for SOLO distanced the organization from the tweet.
“Our deepest condolences go out to all those that were affected by the tragic events that unfolded in Stoney Creek over the weekend. Loved ones will need time to grieve. The community will need time to make sense of what has unfolded. Law enforcement will need time to do their investigation to determine what exactly happened here.”
Vice-chair Rose Marie contacted PressProgress to further clarify “we don’t condone that type of action. We don’t know the person who owned the property.”
Marie declined to say if Siskanda had stepped down, before using the opportunity to question why the media noticed his tweet.
“What I do find interesting is that we’ve tried to reach so many people in the press before but now they’re calling, today.”
Asked if it had something to do with the murder-related tweet, Marie offered further thoughts.
“I understand that people are interested in the comment that our director made,” Marie said, but then complained that too few in the press are interested in “the truth of some of the situations.”
Asked for further comment, Marie declined, saying it will be used to “vilify us.”
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