July 22, 2024
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By Colleen Flanagan

Maple Ridge residents are reconsidering the idea of renting their home after discovering damage caused by previous tenants. The damages cost them thousands of dollars.

Dominika and Gavin McDonald say that they have worked hard for their first home on Stanton Avenue, Maple Ridge. However, their tenants who moved out recently left behind repairs estimated to cost $50,000 or more.

Black Press Media conducted a tour of the house and found multiple holes. Some were badly repaired with drywall while others were left unrepaired. Both upstairs and downstairs, the engineered hardwood flooring was scratched. Water damage was present on the floor. Entry doors and cupboard doors had been pulled from frames, as well as the hinges. Metal frame supporting the sliding door leading to the deck at the rear was pulled from its place. The barbecue melted part of the siding on the outside, and the water from the kitchen flooded the garage.

Many of the balusters and the handrail that led up from the front entrance to the living area were completely missing.

Gavin said that the new tenants, who will be moving in by June 2020, “didn’t seem to care much about their house.”

The tenant said that they had inspected the property intermittently during the term of their lease. He also said there were some damages from the move-in and they repaired them.

A landlord is allowed to enter any shared area, such as a courtyard, hallway or laundry room, without giving notice. The landlord is also permitted to enter a unit once a month for the purpose of inspecting the conditions of a building. Proper notice must be given to tenants, which includes a written notification of the time and date of entry, as well as the reason. This notice should include a personal delivery of at least 24 hour notice to tenants. The landlord does not have to invite the tenant to come in, so long as he has given proper notice.

The landlord may also gain access to a unit after giving proper notice to the tenants to perform maintenance or repairs, as well as to display the property to potential buyers.

Gavin said that the first inspections had been routine. The property was damaged during the rental period when the doors were replaced.

Gavin stated that the inspection had been done between February and March, at which time it was “not great”.

One Canadian insurance firm claims that landlord insurance covers certain “unintentional” tenant damages, but does not cover intentional damage, such as spray painting walls or walls with holes or destroying cupboards.

One insurance company stated that landlord insurance will cover damage to walls, flooring, fixtures, heating, and cooling systems. However, the specific risks covered are determined by the insurance policy.

Gavin explained that he did not have coverage for tenant vandalism because the cost was $800 extra a year and it only covered damage up to $20,000.

The couple is currently going through dispute resolution at the BC Residential Tenancy Branch to try and get compensation as well as keep their damage deposit.

Dominika stated that they would likely rent the house out again after the repairs have been completed.

The house is sentimental and the couple wants it to be passed on to their future children.

The couple, however, wanted to highlight the other side of renting a long-term home in an area where the housing market is lacking.

Gavin said that the government has not created a situation conducive to private landlords renting houses.

Dominika also wants to bring attention to how tenants can “sabotage the market”.

She asked, “Where are the people who look like us protected?”

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