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Eviction delayed by COVID-19 pandemic leads to trashed condo in Vernon: property manager

A nightmare scenario has played out in a condo at the Strand Lakeshore Resort in Vernon.

“I was totally devastated, not just shocked but totally devastated, that someone could do this to someone’s property,” said Ray Keen, the condo’s property manager.

“I’ve had two bad rentals in 12 years, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen a unit.”

After the tenant didn’t pay rent for several months, the property management company applied to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch for an eviction notice.

It was granted, but shortly after, the B.C. government put a ban on evictions during the COVID-19 state of emergency and blocked the existing eviction notice that was in place.

After staying in the unit for the next couple of months rent-free, the tenant up and left in the first week of June, Keen said, adding the tenant took a lot of the provided furnishings and also left behind a big mess.

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“This is how he’s left it. Looks like he pooped the bed,” said Keen.

“This is excrement. He’s gone and wrote on the wall with toilet paper and poop.”

According to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act, landlords can apply to have a renter evicted, even during the pandemic, but the circumstances have to be “exceptional”.

“We recognize that some situations are challenging and that no one solution fits every situation,” said Marielle Tounsi, public affairs officer for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“That’s why in situations where there are safety risks that landlords feel warrant an eviction, they may apply directly to the Residential Tenancy Branch.” 

In this case, the application to evict was denied, but Keen says the matter has now been brought to the RCMP and an investigation has been launched.

“Unfortunately we have a tenant like this, who has used COVID-19 to circumvent everything, has not paid rent, he’s $9,000 in arrears in rent,” said Keen.


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