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Whitby mom who bought trampoline for cooped-up kids ordered to remove it

Whitby mom who bought trampoline for cooped-up kids ordered to remove it

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WHITBY—A Whitby mom is upset that she’s been ordered by her landlord to get rid of the trampoline she recently installed to keep her children occupied while they’re stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m so disappointed for the kids,” Amanda Platts said Wednesday. “They’re literally stuck in the house, and they’ve finally found this thing they could do.”

Platts, whose three children are 12, six and three, bought the full-sized trampoline last week and placed it in the backyard space of her townhouse unit on Garrard Road.

Two days later she received notification from the Durham Region Non-Profit Housing Corp. that the trampoline is in violation of her tenancy agreement and would have to be removed.

The news came as a disappointment to the children, who were happy to have a distraction that allowed them out of the house, Platts said. The school-aged children, of course, haven’t been in class since mid-March, and the local playground is off-limits due to the province’s distancing measures, put in place to curb the spread of the dangerous virus.

“They were super excited” to get the trampoline, Platts said.

“We’re stuck in this situation where I don’t know what to do,” she added. “This is a time when everybody has got to be flexible about things.”

Platts said one notice sent by the landlord threatens to have a contractor remove the trampoline at her cost.

Paul Chisholm, chief operating officer with the housing corporation, said that while management sympathizes with the plight of parents during the pandemic lockdown, tenancy rules specifically prohibit residents from erecting structures outside their units — and a trampoline is considered a structure.

“We are not unsympathetic,” Chisholm said. “But it is part of the lease agreement.”

The situation with Platts’s trampoline is not unique to the COVID-19 lockdown, Chisholm said. It’s a perennial issue that pops up each year when the weather warms up and residents start installing trampolines, swimming pools and other outside structures.

“It comes up from time to time in different places. We try to be consistent in our approach, so everyone knows what the expectations are. We try and be accommodating, and make sure they understand.”

Platts received an email from the housing corporation April 30 which quoted the clause in her lease prohibiting outdoor structures.

“We are requesting that you remove the trampoline from the property. We anticipate you will cooperate with this request and remove it by Sunday May 3,” the email reads.

Chisholm said the corporation prefers to avoid having to take action such as having an outside party step in to remove prohibited structures.

“We try to avoid that,” he said. “These are tenants — it’s not a confrontational relationship.”

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