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B.C. landlord says tenant used binoculars and a camera to spy in people's apartments

He was also naked several times on the balcony being "odd."
man-spying-window
A B.C. renter was spotted in the nude by his displeased neighbours in a 2021 tenancy dispute that involved everything from alleged assault to spying.

A B.C. renter was spotted in the buff several times by his displeased neighbours in one multifaceted tenancy dispute that involved everything from alleged assault to harassment to spying and a host of other issues. 

And while you can be naked on your own private property, it is illegal to be naked if someone can see you from a public space.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code section 174, no one can be nude, without lawful excuse, in a public space or on private property while exposed to public view; it doesn't matter if the property is their own or not.

Anyone who is nude in public view is "guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

Vancouver criminal lawyer Kyla Lee told Vancouver Is Awesome in a previous interview that people who have windows that are visible to the public need to ensure they are not spotted in the nude. It doesn't matter if the windows are a couple of storeys high, either. 

Someone who quickly walks from a bedroom to the bathroom is likely not to attract scrutiny or charges, notes Lee.

"Typically it's the folks who stand in full exposure staring outside that are the ones who get charged or calls from police."

According to B.C.'s Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are responsible for providing quiet enjoyment to all tenants. Upon getting a disturbance complaint from a tenant, the landlord must take steps to fix the problem. For example, a landlord may need to speak to a tenant about noise if it bothers neighbouring tenants.

Tenants must make sure they, their guests and their pets don’t unreasonably disturb other occupants.

If there are disturbances like unreasonable noise, excessive second-hand smoke or harassment from a neighbouring tenant of the same landlord, the tenant should speak to the landlord about the issue.

Naked and odd on the balcony 

The tenant in one particularly complicated dispute was accused of doing a smorgasbord of strange, illegal, and harmful things.

On July 9, the landlord stated they received a complaint of the tenant behaving in an intimidating manner and upsetting residents "by using binoculars to look into neighbouring units and take video." The tenant was also spotted standing naked on the balcony and "making odd hand movements and gestures."

The landlord also said other tenants reported that the man would stand at his balcony railing with his arms crossed and stare into neighbouring units. He would "pace across the balcony" and rearrange the furniture on it after midnight. Other tenants also reported that he threatened them with racially charged language and that he would scream inside his unit "using racial, sexual, and threatening language." 

One tenant even stated that they were "afraid for their lives," as the man was constantly yelling racist and threatening things down to them. In fact, the man is accused of threatening to kill several people in the building.

One person provided "confirmed undisputed testimony" that the tenant filmed them in their rental unit via "a video camera from his deck."

Despite the gravity of the claims, the Residential Tenancy Board stated that the landlord provided insufficient evidence for them to take action.