Landlord’s $30,000 damages claim against tenant to get second look by Residential Tenancy Branch

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      A landlord is getting another chance to pursue a former tenant for $30,000 in damages to rental property.

      Tyler Khan’s application for compensation against Anthony Savino was previously denied by an arbitrator with the Residential Tenancy Branch.

      Khan felt that he was not treated fairly by the RTB, which is the B.C. provincial agency that resolves disputes between landlords and tenants.

      Khan filed an application for a judicial review before the B.C. Supreme Court to void the arbitrator’s decision.

      In her reasons for judgment, Justice Wendy Baker found that the arbitrator “breached the duty of procedural fairness” owed to Khan.

      Baker set aside the arbitrator’s decision, and remitted Khan’s application to the RTB for “re-determination”.

      Baker related that Savino’s tenancy ended in 2018 after six years of renting with Khan.

      Khan was not satisfied with the state of the rental unit that Savino left, claiming that it was in “considerable disrepair”.

      He filed an application with the RTB for $17,000 in compensation.

      The landlord eventually amended the claim for a higher amount of $30,000 after he began to make repairs.

      The arbitrator not only refused to accept Khan’s additional evidence to support a higher claim because it was filed a day late after deadline.

      The RTB arbitrator also concluded the hearing on Khan’s original application before Khan had the opportunity to present his case.

      According to Justice Baker, this action was a “breach of natural justice and procedural fairness”.

      Khan said that his right to procedural fairness was breached in two ways.

      One is the arbitrator’s exclusion of his additional evidence, although RTB rules provide for a process to consider late evidence.

      Two, the arbitrator “erred in excluding all evidence and testimony that related to the application which was filed on time”.

      According to Baker, tenant Savino claimed that Khan was “argumentative and this entitled the arbitrator to dismiss the case”.

      However, Baker noted that there is “no finding by the arbitrator that Mr. Khan was argumentative or behaved improperly at the hearing, and no finding that Mr. Khan’s behaviour justified the dismissal of his case”.

      “Even if the arbitrator had fairly concluded that the new material could not be relied on, Mr. Khan did file his original application within time, was told by the arbitrator that he would hear the original application, and he ought to have been given an opportunity to have that original application heard,’ Baker wrote.