A British Columbia landlord was able to stave off a claim by his tenant who wanted over $9,000 in damages — including loss of furnishings, hotel stays, meals, a temporary rental, two month’s rent, moving costs, and hydro — because of mould in the unit.
The tenant drew the conclusion that the unit had black mould, and claimed he was forced to vacate for health reasons. He stayed at hotels and short-term rentals, ate meals in restaurants, and ditched his belongings. He blamed the landlord and filed for dispute resolution.
However, at the hearing, the landlord successfully proved there was no mould present when the tenant moved in. The landlord had addressed the tenant’s concerns by bringing in a remediation company. The resulting report concluded that the mould was not harmful.
The report also determined that the mould was caused by the tenant’s failure to ventilate the bathroom as he was instructed to do. The mould was caused by the tenant’s inaction.
Still, if the tenant hadn’t made mistakes, like losing copies of all receipts and failing to produce any medical evidence, and if the landlord had not been diligent, this tenant could have won some form of monetary award for damage that he caused.
Fortunately, the landlord had evidence of the property condition when the tenant moved in. The landlord also responded within a reasonable time to the tenant’s complaint and handled the matter competently by bringing in an expert who created documentary evidence.
Nothing can prevent a tenant from making specious claims, but this case highlights how conducting move-in inspections, keeping contemporaneous records, and acting quickly when problems arise can make all the difference when it comes to minimizing rental income loss.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.