Have you ever seen one of those "do not rent from this landlord" posts on Craigslist?
Every once in a while, a Vancouver-based tenant will write a review of their current or former landlord advising renter-hopefuls against pursing a tenancy. Reasons are varied, often ranging from abusive landlord behaviour to unsanitary living conditions to noisy neighbours — but there isn't anyone filtering the posts for legitimacy, which leaves room for false narratives.
A disgruntled tenant may spread lies about a landlord they feel has wronged them, which is likely what happened to one landlord who ousted a renter due to a breach of the tenancy contract.
According to Section 32 of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining their residential properties in a state that complies with the health, safety and housing standards required by law. In other words, they need to keep your pad pest-free or deal with pest issues as they arise.
Tenants bear a responsibility to uphold the cleanliness of their rental units, too. The RTA stipulates that a "tenant must maintain reasonable health, cleanliness and sanitary standards throughout the rental unit."
The BC Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) sees a range of complaints from landlords and tenants regarding cleanliness and pest issues — but sometimes they stem from renters who refuse to give up their smelly habits, such as marijuana and cigarette smoking.
Tenant creates rental post calling the landlord a 'wack job'
While they denied it, a tenant in a past B.C. dispute may have characterized their landlord as a "wack job" in an anonymous Craigslist post warning people not to rent from them.
The 2012 dispute highlights how the classified advertisements website may contain fake posts, which allows disgruntled parties to air out their grievances. Of course, posts may be flagged and later taken down by the administrator.
In this instance, the tenant was seeking to have the landlord's one-month notice to end the tenancy stopped. But the landlord stated that the renter broke the material terms of the lease by smoking in their non-smoking unit. She also submitted photographic evidence of a wine bottle filled with cigarettes to support their case.
The landlord also claimed that the tenant smoked marijuana and cigarettes with multiple guests in the unit, which the renter denied. Other tenants supported the landlord's story, however.
In regard to the Craigslist posting, the landlord said she came across a listing for their unit with the subject line "Do Not Rent." The posting had been up for a couple of weeks, which distressed her because it described her as a "wack job" and contained a telephone number and address, which were things she wouldn't include in her own advertisements. The post also made other "disparaging remarks" about the unit, referring to mould and "three-inch brown recluse spiders."
As an aside, brown recluse spiders are not native to British Columbia. Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Dr. Robb Bennett, Research Associate, Royal BC Museum, in a previous interview, about a few misconceptions about recluse spiders and appearances of the creatures in B.C. — as well as what venomous spiders you're more likely to encounter in Metro Vancouver. Check out an interview with the expert.
Craigslist reportedly removed the post upon the landlord's request and she stated that it explained some of her difficulty renting the unit.
But did the tenant author the inflammatory warning?
The RTB sided with the landlord in this dispute, highlighting that it was highly probable that the tenant authorized the post.