It isn't uncommon for pests to cause strife between landlords and tenants.
Rodents, bugs, and other critters are a common source of frustration in B.C. tenancy disputes, with many renters alleging that they moved into a unit that became infested and their landlord did very little or nothing to solve the issue.
At times, landlords have to deal with particularly messy tenants who cause infestations or bring them into the building via furniture, clothing, guests, or pets.
But there are some decidedly peculiar circumstances involving pests, too.
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) sees a range of complaints from landlords and tenants regarding cleanliness and pest issues — but it may surprise you how many of the complaints involve vindictive parities.
Rat on the windshield
In one particularly bizarre B.C. dispute from late 2021, a landlord alleged that their disgruntled tenant placed a dead rat on their windshield after they were involved in some disagreements concerning the rental unit.
The landlord told the RTB that the conflict commenced in August 2021 when the tenant left their mattress outside for the garbage collector to pick up. "This issue started the Tenant's anger toward the landlord and their wife."
The landlord further stated that the tenant changed the lock of their unit without notifying them or providing a key. Eventually, the tenant did provide the landlord with a copy, but then lost their own copy one night and had to take the one they gave to the landlord to reenter their unit. However, they never replaced the key after this and the landlord was again without a copy. When the tenant lost their key a second time, they went back to the landlord to ask for a key and the landlord stated that they had given them the only key they had and never replaced it. The tenant was angered by this and allegedly threatened the landlord's wife and made a fighting gesture toward the couple. The renter then broke their lock to gain access to the unit.
Unsurprisingly, the landlord added that the tenant used "an aggressive tone" in their interactions.
The tenant also stopped paying their hydro bill and had no electricity and the landlord was worried they might start a fire to heat the unit. They also alleged that the renter unsuccessfully tried to break into their garage but only broke a key in the lock.
Following these incidents, the landlord stated that the tenant placed a dead rat on the windshield of their wife's car. They also provided a photo of this incident.
In a separate incident, the landlord said the renter placed an "air bomb" on their wife's car. An "air bomb" is typically sold around Halloween and causes loud explosions. The landlord submitted video evidence of the tenant placing the device on the vehicle and added that they found both incidents "disturbing."
The RTB ruled in favour of the landlord in this dispute based on the scope of the evidence provided in their hearing. Further, the tenant failed to attend the hearing and claimed they never received notice of the hearing but the landlord submitted a video of them receiving the package and opening it on Nov. 13, 2021.
The landlord was also granted an order of possession effective two days after service, which means that the tenant was not permitted a month's notice to vacate the premises. The RTB underscored that it would be unreasonable to make the landlord and their wife wait a month's time due to the renter's threatening behaviour.