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Opinion: ‘Devil’s tenant’ ripped out new flooring as payback for rent hike

Landlords are now allowed to raise rents but this tenant didn't see it that way before fleeing
floor flooring reno construction
Worker hands installing timber laminate floor in the room.

As of Jan. 1, 2022, B.C. landlords were allowed to increase rent by a maximum of 1.5 per cent, based on inflation.

This news followed a long freeze as B.C. gave tenants a break during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gary – a Burnaby landlord who rents out two suites in a house he owns in Edmonds – thought it was reasonable to raise the rent since he hasn’t been allowed to for a long time. Gary had also recently made some upgrades to the two suites he rents out, including adding some pretty swanky new flooring.

“I had spent a lot of money to make these rentals a nicer place to live and so it didn’t seem to be unfair to raise the rent,” said Gary. “But I paid a heavy price for it.”

That’s because one of his tenants flipped out at receiving the notice the rent would be going up in May (Gary decided to wait a little longer and give the tenants plenty of notice).

“He actually started yelling at me and saying I was ‘profiting’ off of the pandemic, which doesn’t make any sense,” said Gary. “He said I ‘would be sorry’ I had done this.”

Gary admits that he lost his cool, threatening to evict the tenant for, in essence, threatening him. He later apologized to the tenant.

Things, however, didn’t get any better.

A few weeks later, the other tenant in the house who lived upstairs texted to complain about the noise coming from the angry tenant downstairs.

“I dropped by the next day to speak with him and nobody answered the door,” Gary said. “All of the blinds were closed and I couldn’t see anything. There wasn’t much I could do.”

Gary tried to contact the tenant but got no response. Then on the first of the month, the rent didn’t arrive. That’s when Gary decided to enter the suite.

“All of the new flooring that I had had installed was ripped out,” he said. “All of the pieces were piled in a corner. I felt like crying.”

All of the furniture was gone and the place had been emptied out. The tenant had bolted with zero notice and disappeared. Gary hired someone to try and track the tenant down but discovered that he had, in fact, been given a fake name by this renter.

“I get to keep the deposit but it’s not enough to pay someone to reinstall all of the flooring, most of which is damaged,” Gary said. “I didn’t do my due diligence when he moved in by actually looking at a driver’s licence. But I guess I’m too trusting. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Quick Facts:

  • The maximum allowable rent increase is defined by the 12-month average per cent change in the all-items Consumer Price Index for B.C. ending in July the year prior to the calendar year for which a rent increase takes effect.
    • For example, if a rent increase takes effect in 2022, the maximum allowable rent increase is the 12-month average per cent change in the all-items Consumer Price Index for B.C. ending in July 2021. 
  • The 2022 maximum increase for manufactured home park tenancies will be 1.5%, plus a proportional amount for the change in local government levies and regulated utility fees.
  • The rent increase does not include commercial tenancies, non-profit housing tenancies where rent is geared to income, co-operative housing and some assisted-living facilities.
  • With additional reporting by Elana Shepert, Vancouver is Awesome

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.