A Burnaby landlord responded to my recent columns about local renters dealing with bad owners by saying there is a flip side to the coin.
Anthony rents out a house he owns in North Burnaby and says that his last three out of four tenants have been “terrible” to deal with, calling one of them a “tenant from hell.”
The local landlord says he understands that there are some who rent out their places who are mean and don’t understand the rules, but said landlords also have to deal with some disastrous situations.
“The worst renter I had – you’ve called them a ‘tenant from hell’ and I agree – would do really stupid things and then not take responsibility for these actions,” said Anthony. “One time this tenant started running a bath and then forgot about it. She said she went to the other room and got a phone call and ‘forgot’ about the fact that the tub was running. She said she got invited to come out for pizza and left right away, forgetting that the tub was running. So of course it overflows and floods through the entire unit. Then she calls me up and demands that I spend all of this money to clean up and restore the unit – at my cost. At first she denied the tub situation but after I investigated and proved that it wasn’t a leak, she finally came clean. But she said she shouldn’t have to pay for the restoration, which was not cheap. It cost more than the damage deposit that I kept and she even argued about that as she was later moving out. It was a bad situation and there is little that landlords can do. The Residential Tenancy Branch is not much help.”
One reason, Anthony says, are long delays in getting cases heard. He also says the RTB is biased towards renters, but of course he’d say that.
I did some research and found that a provincial government cash injection into the RTB in fall 2017 resulted in the hiring of 15 new information services staff and 10 new dispute resolution experts. The branch also launched a revamped online dispute resolution portal, which guides applicants through the process and allows for uploading of digital evidence.
The combination of more staffing and an online dispute resolution portal has resulted in dramatically faster wait times compared with the system “under the previous government,” according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. These improvements range from 44 per cent less time on average to wait for payment from a resolved dispute, down to 14.6 weeks, to an 84 per cent cut in hold time to reach an RTB officer by phone, from 45 minutes on average to eight minutes.
Not sure if that is much comfort to landlords like Anthony, or to tenants who are looking for action with their complaints, but that’s where the situation stands.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.