A deck collapse last month in Halifax’s south end at 921 Brussels Street sent six people to the hospital. In the aftermath of the horrific incident, Paul Pettipas, the CEO of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association, told the Chronicle Herald that “in my opinion there was no maintenance done on this deck and the landlord’s responsible.”
That comment sparked the Examiner to conduct a review of landlord Darin Sweet’s properties. Sweet has an interest in 11 rental properties in Halifax—he either owns them directly, or as co-owner with Barbara Sweet, or through his company, H.U.M.A. Developments. H.U.M.A. also owns a rental property in Prospect Bay. Sweet is also a director of a numbered company that owns 5571 Cunard Street, the building that houses The Coast newspaper and other businesses, along with some apartments. The Cunard building is also the mailing address that most of Sweet’s property tax bills are sent to.
All told, Sweet either owns, partially owns, or has an interest in 13 properties assessed at over $7 million. Additional, the Sweet family home at 6240 Oakland Road is assessed at $1,398,700.
See all of Sweet’s properties in the interactive map below.
As in the case of the Brussels Street property, many of Sweet’s properties have large decks or balconies many metres above the ground. There are no court records naming Sweet or either of his companies, and my review of the quarterly reports to Halifax council about bylaw infractions found no mention of the properties either. My past experience as an employee at The Coast is that the building was at times plagued with rats or mice (there’s a furnace room Coast employees have designated “the rat room”) but Sweet addressed the infestations with reasonable speed.
I happened to run into Sweet on the street when I was taking pictures of his Brussels Street property, the site of the deck collapse, but he declined to speak to me. He was telling neighbours they should call him if they encounter future problems with the property.
A neighbour told me that last year, on Saint Patrick’s Day, the property was the site of an out-of-control party involving over 150 celebrants at 9:30 in the morning. “There’s only one toilet,” said the neighbour. “People were urinating outside.”