Skip to content

Burnaby tenant won free rent after landlord lied about moving ‘dad’ into suite

Tenants urged to not take landlord's word for who is moving in next
rental agreement
A Burnaby landlord was caught fudging the rules. Getty Images

A Burnaby renter is speaking out about her experiences with a lying landlord in the hopes others will take action.

Tara – who didn’t want her name used so as to not scare off other landlords in the future – was thrilled to read about a Port Coquitlam tenant who won a year’s free rent from B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch.

Tara had a similar experience in which she was pushed out of her basement suite under the guise that her landlord was moving an “elderly parent” into the suite.

The Port Coquitlam woman was ousted because a new owner wanted to move in but that’s not what happened and she was awarded more than $22,000 when the landlord rented the place out to someone else.

“That case sounded so familiar to mine a few years ago and renters need to know their rights,” Tara said. “My landlord made up a story about his dad being too ill to live on his own and how I had to go. But I later found out his father had already died the year before. He rented it out to someone else for 12% more than what I was paying.”

Tara built up her case and took it to the RTB and won about $6,000, which paid her rent for several months after that.

“Don’t take their word for it,” she said. “Fight it.”

In the PoCo case, while it's not unusual for purchasers to ask tenants to leave so they can live in an apartment, they can't simply leave the place vacant and re-rent it at a higher price a few weeks later.

According to the Residential Tenancy Act, the new landlord has to live in the unit themselves for at least six months.

In a recent case posted online, a PoCo tenant found that the landlord never moved into the apartment after she was given two months' notice to leave.

In agreed upon facts, the tenant moved out on Feb. 28, 2021, and the landlord re-rented the unit on April 1.

The landlord said she was planning to move out of her family home with her child, but changed her mind out of concern about her daughter having to change schools and being away from her father.

She told the hearing she wanted to do what's best for her family.

But that wasn't enough of an extenuating reason to re-rent the apartment, according to the arbitrator, who said the landlord with "reasonable planning" could have "anticipated" the impacts of moving.

  • With additional reporting by Diane Strandberg, the Tri-City News