Single father fights to get belongings back from landlord after alleged illegal eviction
A single father in Surrey, B.C. who was evicted by his landlord even though a government agency said he could stay, is taking legal action against his landlord and fighting to get his possessions back.
Brandon Fielding alleges his landlord has all his belongings locked in a storage facility.
"They have everything up to and including my birth certificate, my daughter's birth certificate. Social insurance numbers, everything," he said.
Fielding alleges he was forced out of the condo he was renting earlier this month when his landlord changed the locks while he was out.
According to documents from the Residential Tenancy Branch, the condo's original owner, Tim Karajaoaj, recently sold the unit. The new owner was set to take possession in early April.
Fielding had been served two eviction notices, but they were both thrown out by the RTB. It ruled Fielding could keep living in the home through April.
That's when the landlord allegedly took matters into his own hands by changing the locks and emptying the apartment.
Now, Fielding's possessions are in a U-Haul storage locker that he doesn't have access to.
The storage unit is his landlord’s name, and he allegedly won’t give Fielding the keys. Despite working with U-Haul to gain access, Fielding hasn't gotten anywhere.
"[The landlord has] a legal right to that storage locker like I had a legal right to my apartment," he said.
He said Karajaoaj won't pick up his phone calls or leave the keys with U-Haul staff so he can access the locker.
"There's been no contact," he said.
What's more, Fielding doesn't think Karajaoaj has any intention of continuing to pay for the storage locker past one month, and he's worried his things will be sold at auction.
CTV News tried to contact Karajaoaj, but he hung up as soon as reporter Allison Hurst identified herself as a journalist.
Spencer Chandra Herbert, the MLA for Vancouver-West End, said Fielding's story "sounds really distressing." He said these kinds of stories are prompting a push to reform provincial tenancy legislation.
"Sixteen years we haven't had reforms even though … myself and many others have pointed to huge gaps in the system," he said.
For now, all Fielding wants is access to his belongings and a new home for his one-year-old daughter.
"Right now I have nothing," he said. "I went to the store to buy soup and then I left and I realized I don't have a bowl, I don't have a spoon, I don't have a can opener."
Fielding said the RTB has scheduled another hearing for April 30. That will decide what, if any, financial damages his landlord could be forced to pay.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst