Renter sues landlord after being evicted for "tapping his feet to music"

Feb 14 2023, 5:59 pm

A BC renter took a landlord to court after being evicted for “tapping his feet to music,” “eating at night,” and “cooking early in the morning.”

The small claims case was brought to the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal by Adam Sarauer, renting a bedroom in a house from Jeff Crete. Crete was also just a renter, renting the entire home before deciding to advertise one of the bedrooms for rent.

Sarauer was claiming $1,600 for punitive damages, $575 for the return of his damage deposit, $220 for moving expenses, $450 for rent reimbursement, and $180 for lost wages.

The court found that Sarauer had partly proven his claims, and here’s why.

The rental agreement began on April 10, 2022. There was no formal written agreement, but some texts documented their communication. Sarauer agreed to pay $1,150 in monthly rent. For April, he only had to pay $865 due to his mid-month move. Sarauer paid the $875 in advance plus a damage deposit of $575. The term was month-to-month.

Just five days into living in his new home, on April 15, Sarauer texted Crete after one of Crete’s family members complained about Sarauer “eating at night and playing music.”

He asked for permission to move out at the end of April, but they ultimately agreed that Sarauer would move out on May 15.

Two days later, on April 17, other home occupants complained that Sarauer had a habit of “tapping his feet to music and cooking early in the morning.”

In response, Sarauer again suggested he move out by the end of April as long as he could get his deposit back. Crete never responded.

On April 20, Sarauer texted that someone had left a side door unlocked and asked for the landlord owner’s name. He mentioned that he would be moving his things out on April 21. Also, on April 20, there was an in-person conversation that Sarauer recorded without Crete’s permission. Crete said he could end the tenancy without notice to Sarauer due to the lack of a written agreement. However, Crete told Sarauer that his things had to be gone by the next day. Sarauer asked for an extension but ended up moving out on April 21, which the court saw as the BC renter essentially being evicted.

The tribunal member overseeing the case ordered Crete to refund the remainder of the rent, which was $389.25. Sarauer also had to rent a moving van and a storage locker, and Crete was also ordered to pay $220 for that.

Some of Sarauer’s other expenses were dismissed, but in the end, Crete was ordered to reimburse a total of $1,184.25 for the items mentioned above, plus the $575 damage deposit. Crete also had to pay for Sarauer’s court fees.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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