Atulpal Saini was at work on February 22, 2021 when he received a text message.
It was from his landlord, Irene Ferguson, who told him that he was evicted.
He needed to vacate his room by 5 p.m. on the same day.
That gave Saini only about four hours to clear the premises, and so he took three hours off work without pay.
Without a home, the man spent two nights at a motel.
Ferguson also refused to return rent paid in advance by Saini, claiming she was entitled to evict the tenant because he allegedly broke house rules.
The woman maintained that the rent payments were non-refundable.
Saini filed a claim before the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, and tribunal member Chad McCarthy ruled in his favour.
In reasons for decision Wednesday (July 7), McCarthy wrote that Saini did “not break any agreed-upon house rules”.
Even if he did, Ferguson was “not entitled to evict him for rule breaches”.
The supposed rules were around alcohol and working from home, which Saini said were not present when he agreed to rent a room at Ferguson’s house.
“I find that house rules unilaterally imposed by Ms. Ferguson after the room rental began and without Mr. Saini’s agreement are not binding on Mr. Saini,” McCarthy stated.
Saini rented a room at Ferguson’s place beginning on February 15, 2021.
Rent was $800 a month, with a $400 damage deposit.
When Saini moved in, he paid Ms. Ferguson $2,400: $400 for the damage deposit, $400 for a half month of rent in February 2021, $800 for March 2021 rent, and $800 for final-month rent prepaid in lieu of a 30-day notice.
Ferguson evicted Mr. Saini on February 22, 2021, meaning he resided at the house for eight out of the 14 days for which he paid rent in that month.
Finding that Ferguson breached the rental agreement, McCarthy ordered the woman to pay Saini one sum of $2,148.36.
The amount is broken down into: $1,600 for two months rent; $171.43 for six days of unused rent; $124.53, cost of lock re-keying that was part of the damage deposit; $127.60, motel accommodation; and $124.80, lost wages.
The tribunal also ordered Ferguson to pay Saini with $3.60 in pre-judgment interest, and $125 in tribunal fees.
All in all, Ferguson owes Saini a total of $2,276.96.
As a note, the Residential Tenancy Board has no jurisdiction over disputes when a tenant shares bathroom or kitchen facilities with the owner of the accommodation, which applies to this case.