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Opinion: Renter who duped Burnaby landlords with fake name makes life hell for other tenants

House now a haven for drug deals
B.C.’s rental housing task force is recommending the provincial government cut the 4.5 per cent allowable rent increase for next year to 2.5 per cent but still give landlords the ability to raise rents to cover maintenance and other costs. (via Dan Toulgoet)

When T.T. moved back to her hometown of Burnaby, she thought she had struck gold.

It only took a couple of weeks to find a nice garden-level basement suite and actually move in.

Things haven’t turned out so golden for her. For one thing, T.T.’s landlords have been anything but honest – forgetting to tell her that there are two illegal suites set up on the other side of the house.

“A few weeks into my tenancy, I see an unknown female walk past my kitchen window,” T.T. told me. “She definitely wasn’t the landlord. So I opened my door to investigate further. As it turns out, she was ANOTHER TENANT … but as long as the other tenant wasn’t bothering me then, I didn’t care. But since I apparently can’t have nice things, OF COURSE this tenant was a problem. So much so that I had to call 911 on one occasion because some lunatic showed up here pounding on her door demanding drug money, and refused to leave.”

So the police show up - and, as it turns out - this tenant was not who she said she was.

“She’d given the landlords a fraudulent name, and they were stupid enough to not ask this woman for any identifying information, didn’t make her sign a tenancy agreement – nothing,” T.T. said. “So me, being the little investigator that I am, looked up this woman on CSO (Court Services Online), and she has the most insane rap-sheet I’ve ever seen, with charges dating back to as recent as 2020. Everything from mail theft, to identity theft, to drug possession, to armed robbery with use of a prohibited/restricted firearm. Pretty scary stuff. I let the landlords know, and they had said that based on the police incident and the fact that she lied about who she was, they were serving her with an eviction notice.”

That was on October. It’s now January and the fraudster is still living there doing “obvious drug deals,” said T.T., who has politely told this tenant to keep down the noise, only to be verbally accosted.

The landlords were so worried about having a scammer in the house that they installed a locked mailbox and so T.T. often has trouble getting access to her own mail.

But get this, the landlords have told T.T. that they are “tired” of her complaints about the situation and suggested that she be the one to move out if she’s unhappy.

Then, the other day, City of Burnaby inspectors showed up because of the illegal suites.

“The city folks did their walkthrough, took pictures of a few things (stove and washing machine), and left,” T.T. said. “As they were leaving, the landlord came in and said, ‘You have to move’ and walked off. Hate to break it to my landlord, but it doesn’t work that way. They have no idea how to landlord. They got themselves in this mess.”

As always, too many renters are left vulnerable by a system that puts all of the power in the hands of landlords.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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