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‘Satan’s tenant’ in Burnaby punched holes in walls, set carpet on fire

A landlord speaks out
Photo: For rent sign / Getty Images

A Burnaby landlord is speaking out because, well, he doesn’t like my recent columns detailing renters complaining about their treatment by owners.

Peter D., who owns a couple of houses in Burnaby and rents out suites (he doesn’t want his last name used because they aren’t legal suites), says there is another side of the coin.

Peter says he’s had some fine tenants over the years, but also some hellish ones.

The worst is a guy he calls “Satan’s tenant.”

“I know there are bad landlords out there, but some of these renters are terrifying,” Peter said. “I made a mistake by not doing a good enough job of vetting my Satan’s tenant. He falsified his reference – turns out the reference was a relative using a fake name. After the guy moves in, he violates our written agreement over and over again. He made too much noise, he left garbage all over the backyard, he was late with the rent. I kept trying to get him to fall in line and be better but he was hostile to all of it. Then he got into a scrap with the other tenant in the house and that was it for me. I threatened to evict him and that’s when he took things to another level. By the time I got him to move out, he had destroyed the place. He had punched holes in the wall, broken the toilet, tampered with all of the appliances. Then he set the carpet on fire because he knew that would force me to replace it. It cost a fortune to repair the place and I was forced to raise the rent to help cover it. So that punished the next tenant. And there was very little I could do about it other than keep the damage deposit, which was a joke compared to the destruction.”

Yikes. Fair enough.

To be clear, things only seem lopsided with the columns because renters are more outspoken with their horror stories.

Here is an example of another bad tenant.

The agent for the landlord in one B.C. dispute stated that the tenant in question frequently walked around the common areas, such as the hallway, completely naked. While the landlord allegedly requested that he refrain from this behaviour "several times," the man continued to appear nude. 

But the tenant didn't disagree with these accusations. In fact, he said that he "does occasionally walk naked in the hallway" and that he didn't "want to bother putting clothes on if he is just going to the garbage."

The tenant's nudity wasn't the only issue, however. The landlord stated that he also played loud music that disrupted the other tenants. Many individuals complained about the noise, and the landlord kept a log of all of the complaints. 

In one incident, the landlord's witness said they went to the tenant's unit to tell him to turn his music down but he became angry and clenched his fists. The witness added that the tenant also "poked him several times in the chest," but the tenant claimed he did that because he felt threatened. 

The landlord produced five letters signed by different renters that declared they were disturbed by the tenant. The letters specifically mentioned the loud music, nudity in the halls, verbal abuse, smoking cigarettes in the halls, and drinking alcohol in the halls.

This dispute seemed like a "no-brainer" for the Residential Tenancy Branch. They found it compelling that so many people witnessed the nudity and aggressive behaviour and heard loud music. The landlord was therefore allowed to end the tenancy with cause. 

So there.

  • With additional reporting by Elana Shepert, Vancouver is Awesome

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.