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B.C. landlord claims bread knife attack in wrongful eviction suit

Landlady decided new renter wasn't working out five days after she moved in, alleged abuse of heat and lights.
A B.C. Civil Rights Tribunal found there was no evidence of an alleged bread knife attack between a landlord and her tenant.

A B.C. landlord who was allegedly attacked with a bread knife by their tenant has been ordered to pay them $1,086 in damages.

The tenant sued her former landlord, claiming she had been evicted without proper notice, according to a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision that was released on March 3.

The tenant claimed $4,951 was owed. The amount included a rent refund, hotel costs, storage, a missing car key fob, medical products that were thrown away, and $950 in punitive damages and other costs.

However, the landlord argued she was entitled to evict the tenant without notice because of the alleged attack.

The landlord also claimed the tenant had breached an agreement by overusing heat, which was a term limit in the room rental contract. The issue of the alleged heat overuse was not addressed in the dispute by the tenant.

The original tenancy was seemingly on shaky grounds from the get-go.

Only five days into the rental, the landlord told the tenant the situation was not working out and gave her three months' notice to leave, according to tribunal member Nav Shukla. A letter of that notice was given on Nov. 8, 2021.

On Nov. 9, the landlord gave a six-week notice to move out by Dec. 30, 2021. In that letter, the landlord complained that the tenant continued to misuse the heat by leaving it at the maximum temperature. She also complained that lights were being left on.

On Nov. 11, the disagreement moved up a notch.

The tenant's account was that the landlord wanted her to move out immediately and would be calling someone to collect belongings. The tenant then contacted the police, who came and spoke to both parties.

In contrast, the landlord said a yelling and pushing scuffle happened after she moved the tenant's chair into her room. She alleged the tenant went downstairs to the kitchen, pulled out a bread knife and came towards her yelling, "get out," according to the decision documents.

The landlord says she ran outside with her dog and called the police. 

The police report was not in the tribunal's evidence to confirm either account.

Shukla noted the rental contract included utilities, and there wasn't any evidence from either that the two had agreed upon specific heat restrictions or that it had been used unreasonably during the rental period.

It was also found unlikely that the tenant had threatened the landlord with a knife.

The landlord was found liable for the damage deposit return, one night's hotel stay and storage fees until the end of the notice period.