While much has been said about housing in Prince Rupert, one landlord’s story is a reminder of the importance of vetting your tenants.
What was a recently renovated two-storey house on Pillsbury Avenue has been left in shambles after the tenants left following almost two years of occupying the building. A quick walkthrough of the house shows a large square hole cut in the drywall, paint chipped off, light switches broken off and mould is growing along the roof in the bathroom due to a fan that has been taken out of the ceiling. The appliances, bought two years ago, are also destroyed.
“The stove is garbage. We pulled the top up and you can see all of the wires are damaged. The dishwasher was started and it is leaking everywhere,” said the Pillsbury Ave. landlord, who also noted the freezer in the fridge was no longer working.
“It’s just terrible what they did.
Aside from the obvious damage there is more than meets the eye. The blinds upstairs have disappeared, as have many door and closet handles, and even some doors that were there are gone. Even the shower head in the downstairs bathroom is gone. Lights are missing from the kitchen, light fixtures are gone from around the house and only about half of the electricity in the house is working despite all the breaker being on.
“We had in the agreement that there was no smoking allowed in the house, and they were smoking… I spent over $500 just on supplies to try and clean the smoke damage from the house,” said the landlord.
On top of all that, the tenants left the house with $1,300 of unpaid rent outstanding.
The money left from the rental to cover all of these expenses? A damage deposit of $500, which the landlord said might cover the cost of a new fridge.
The landlord is warning others to make sure they are thorough when looking into people wanting to rent a house.
“I think a lot of people have had a similar situation happen, but haven’t wanted to speak about it,” she said.
“If you have new tenants, you could be in for a surprise.”
In B.C., the Residential Tenancy Branch of the government looks after dispute resolution between tenants and landlords, as well as outlining the rights and responsibilities of each. According to those guidelines, “the tenant is generally responsible for paying cleaning costs where the property is left at the end of the tenancy in a condition that does not comply with that standard. The tenant is also generally required to pay for repairs where damages are caused, either deliberately or as a result of neglect, by the tenant or his or her guest”. As well, “the landlord is responsible for repairs to appliances provided under the tenancy agreement unless the damage was caused by the deliberate actions or neglect of the tenant”.
More information can be found on the organization’s website at http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/