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B.C. woman says renovation team damaged her tanning bed, claims more than $900 in compensation

A tanning bed is seen in this undated stock image. (Shutterstock) A tanning bed is seen in this undated stock image. (Shutterstock)
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A B.C. woman won't be getting the hundreds of dollars she sought through the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal to replace a damaged tanning bed and missing stepladder.

Julia Rehill filed a claim with CRT alleging employees of Lonestar Construction Ltd. used her tanning bed as a workbench while completing renovations in her rented apartment.

The claim stemmed from "extensive" work done to Rehill's apartment between June 2022 and February 2023, at the request of her landlords. The tribunal heard Rehill moved into a temporary apartment while renovations were underway and left her tanning bed behind.

"Ms. Rehill says that Lonestar's employees used the tanning bed as a workbench and ultimately damaged it," Andrea Ritche, CRT vice-chair, said in her decision.

Ritchie wrote Rehill provided three witness statements from friends saying they saw workers using the tanning bed as a bench. But Lonestar denied damaging it and gave two witness statements from employees who were on site every day.

"Both employees deny causing any damage to the tanning bed, or otherwise touching it other than moving it out of the way when removing and replacing the flooring," Ritchie wrote.

Lonestar's owner, Benny Bruneau, shared a statement with the tribunal saying he told Rehill's landlords the apartment needed to be empty before the renovations began. When workers arrived, there was still a fridge and a mattress along with the tanning bed.

"After several conversations with the owners, Ms. Rehill removed the mattress and Lonestar’s employees helped her move the fridge, but she refused to move the tanning bed, despite Lonestar offering moving assistance," Ritchie's decision said. "Mr. Bruneau further states the tanning bed was used, yellowing, and in poor condition."

In an emailed statement sent to CTV News Vancouver, Rehill said she was told the tanning bed wasn't in the renovation team's way.

"Very little renovating happened in my apartment. There was no new flooring or walls done in the room it was in," Rehill's statement said, in part. "I was never asked to remove the bed and I saw the employees use it as a workbench and repeatedly had to tell one employee to stop sitting on it. I posted signs, they tore them down over and over again." 

Along with damage to the tanning bed, Rehill claimed Lonestar removed her stepladder. But Lonestar said there wasn't a stepladder in the apartment when they began renovations and denies its workers saw or removed one. Lonestar also said there were workers from other companies in the apartment during the renovations.

In civil disputes like Rehill's, a decision is made based on the balance of probabilities, meaning Rehill had to prove her claims "more likely than not."

"Ms. Rehill does not address Lonestar’s submission that other tradespeople had access to the apartment, and why she believes it was Lonestar specifically who damaged the tanning bed and removed the stepladder," Ritchie wrote.

"Even if I did accept that Lonestar used the tanning bed as a workbench or lunch table, Ms. Rehill did not submit any photos of the alleged damage, nor any evidence of the cost to repair it such as correspondence from a technician."

Ritchie dismissed Rehill's claim for $908.48 – which included $573.49 for the tanning bed, $60 for a technician and $274.99 for a stepladder – saying that, on balance, she didn't prove her side of the dispute. 

This story was updated to reflect a statement from Julia Rehill sent to CTV News Vancouver on March 7.

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