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Calgary homeowners on the hook for damages after tenant allegedly skips out

Renting out their home while they relocated for work seemed like a good opportunity for Mike Brown and Damara Banks, but now it’s turned into a nightmare for the Calgary couple.

They’ve found themselves on the hook for about $20,000 in damages after they say their tenant skipped out on them.

The tenant had been living in their Calgary home since March 2017, after the couple moved to Grande Prairie for work.

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When their tenant started talking about moving out in early 2019, the couple stopped in to check on the place on Dec. 28, only to find the tenant gone.

The homeowners were left with a nasty surprise, the house was in shambles.

“The first thing that hit you [was] the smell,” Brown said.

Dogs has apparently chewed several holes in the walls as well as urinated and defecated throughout the home.

A cleaning crew outfitted in protective outfits was cleaning out the house on Monday.

“The fridge is absolutely disgusting,” Dean May of Mayken Hazmat Solutions said, adding that the costs of cleaning it would exceed the price of a new one.

“The floors upstairs need to be completely redone, half the drywall has to be replaced,” Banks said. “[Repairs will cost] probably about $20,000 when all is said and done.”

The couple thought their landlord’s insurance would cover the costs, but as an adjustor told Global News Monday, they’re on the hook for all the damage.

“[He told us] it’s just pure negligence, nothing malicious about it,” Brown said. “So there’s no coverage. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

“This is why it’s so important to check with your insurance company,” The Calgary Residential Rental Association’s Gerry Baxter said. “Find out exactly what’s covered.”

Baxter’s group represents Calgary landlords and advises them to do regular checks on rental properties and to go after any tenant who leaves without warning and leaves a mess behind.

“It’s so important that the landlord take legal action against a tenant who caused the damage,” Baxter said.

“She’s just gone,” Banks said. “The Calgary Police Service said they can look for her, but we’d likely be bleeding blood from a stone. If she could’ve afforded it, she probably would’ve fixed it.”

The couple is hoping other landlords can learn from their plight.

“It’s just a heads up to any other people renting out their places,” Brown said. “Just be careful — you never know what can happen.”

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