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Opinion: ‘Toxic tenant’ punched holes in Victoria home’s walls and infested it with bugs

Slow complaint process makes it difficult to get rid of destructive renters
A Victoria landlord got stuck with paying to fix holes in his suite’s walls. (Pexels photo)

OK, I admit it, I’ve written some columns lately that have been hard on landlords here in Victoria.

But life isn’t so rosy for people who rent out condos, apartments or basement suites.

As I’ve written before, I am both a renter (in Victoria) and a landlord (back in Metro Vancouver) so I see both sides of things.

In response to my columns, several landlords have yelled at me, saying life can be bad for them.

And this is true.

There are some terrible tenants out there who feel emboldened, for example, to stop paying rent for several months because they believe there aren’t mechanisms in place to force them out. Landlords have told me the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch is backlogged to the point that they can’t get their complaints heard in a timely fashion.

By the time the RTB does get around to their case, the renters who haven’t been paying their rent just take off and move somewhere else.

My question is do the next landlords not ask for references from these rebel tenants or is it too easy to fake that? (I know that my Victoria landlord didn’t actually ask me for references, which shocked the heck out of me at the time, although I am the perfect tenant.)

“I got lied to by my last tenant’s previous landlord,” said Anthony, a Victoria landlord who doesn’t want his last name used. “They told me they had no problems and yet when this tenant moved it, there were horrible problems right from the start.”

Anthony called this renter the “Toxic Tenant” who started off by making big-time noise at all hours of the night – waking up other tenants.

Those tenants complained to Anthony and so he tried to reason with the “Toxic Tenant” – which only seemed to make things worse.

“The other tenants told me that the next night the music and noise was even worse, as though they were trying to be even badder,” Anthony said.

Then the bugs became an issue.

Yes, lots and lots of bugs.

One tenant noticed that there were fleas and other types of bugs in the common areas of the landlord’s rental space.

Anthony immediately hired an exterminator, who was so good they actually traced the bugs directly to the source – the suite of the “Toxic Tenant” who turned out to be a messy pig who was hiding a flea-infested mutt in the unit.

“They admitted that they had been ‘dog sitting’ for a friend, but dogs were against the rental agreement,” Anthony said. “They weren’t bathing it or taking care of it, just letting it pee and poop everywhere. It took forever to force the dog out.”

This tenant also had trouble paying the rent on time and parked in spots that were designated for other tenants.

Anthony finally had had enough and started proceedings to evict the tenant.

It took a long time, but Anthony was able to oust them, but when he went into the suite, he discovered that holes had been punched in most of the walls.

“They did a lot of damage. Sure, I got to keep the damage deposit, but there was so much damage that it didn’t even begin to cover it. Things were so bad I wondered if I wanted to continue being a landlord. It was that exhausting.”

READ MORE: ‘Lepers’: Dirty Victoria landlords refuse to rent to single moms to avoid ‘drama’

Chris Campbell is an editor with Black Press Media. You can follow him on Twitter @shinebox44.

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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