Leaving windows unsecured can be a valid reason to evict someone – at least in certain circumstances.
That's according to a recent decision from B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal, which dismissed a complaint from a woman who was kicked out of a ground-level home for refusing to close the windows when she went out.
Amanda Temple was seeking a refund of $680 – one month's rent – because she claimed her roommate Paul Malowany evicted her without cause last summer.
But Malowany said the cause was that she kept leaving the windows open, despite his repeated requests to lock them for safety reasons, and also refused to discuss the issue in person.
After reading text messages exchanged between the two roommates during the dispute, tribunal member Kate Campbell found Malowany's actions were justified.
"I find the applicant acted unreasonably, by repeatedly failing to lock the windows, refusing to respect the respondent’s safety concern around the windows, and by refusing to discuss the matter," Campbell wrote. "In the circumstances, I find the respondent was justified in instructing her to move out."
She also noted Temple made light of her roommate's concerns in a lengthy text exchange, telling him:
"If you are so dreadfully worried about the security of your things I suggest YOU take responsibility for YOUR things and keep them in YOUR room and keep YOUR room secure. I pay rent every month, on time and that gives me just as much right to live and be comfortable in the house as you … With all due respect, I request you stop harassing me with this issue."
Malowany initially claimed he never technically evicted Temple, but asked her to move out over the dispute. He later admitted in a text message it was "closer to an eviction," but the tribunal found it didn't matter either way.
Malowany was renting the home before Temple joined him in February 2018, and Campbell said nothing in their emailed roommate agreement – which didn't involve Malowany's landlord – prevented him from evicting her.
"There is also nothing in the agreement that requires the respondent to compensate the applicant in such circumstances, such as by refunding (one) month of rent," Campbell wrote.
The member also disagreed with Temple's characterization of Malowany's texts as threatening.
B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal, which was introduced in 2016, is an online tool to small claims disputes of up to $5,000 as well as strata-related issues.