Cigarette butts and cleanliness concerns lead to renter court battle

Apr 28 2023, 8:23 pm

A battle over cleanliness ended up in a BC tribunal after a renter moved out without giving one month’s notice.

Daniel Opoku Agyemang rented a room in a shared basement suite from Albin Paul on April 1, 2022.

It didn’t take long for things to take a wrong turn when Agyemang said on May 11 that he would be moving out on May 15, thanks to issues around cleanliness, or lack thereof.

Agyemang says that Paul refused to refund a deposit of $425 and $425 for half a month’s rent. He claimed a total of $850 in the small claims case.

Paul denied the claim and said that Agyemang did not give proper notice, meaning he wasn’t entitled to the rent refund. Paul also says Agyemang didn’t pay his share of the utility bills, so he only refunded Agyemang $230 instead of the total $425 for the deposit.

On May 11, Agyemang texted Paul to say he would be moving out on the 15th; however, the text doesn’t detail reasons for leaving, aside from “problems” and “concerns.”

In his later submissions to the tribunal, Agyemang said that he had raised issues with Paul about cleanliness from day one. His concerns included cigarette butts lying around, dirty communal areas, and a clogged toilet. However, court documents don’t entirely make it clear whether the butts were in an ashtray or just loose.

He also suggested the roommates hire a cleaner, but that never panned out.

Paul suggested Agyemang was the one who failed to keep the suite clean. He said other roommates had also complained about Agyemang but could not provide proof of that.

Both sides shared photos of their claims, with the tribunal member overseeing the case suggesting that Agyemang’s images were more accurate when comparing arguments.

The tribunal member suggested that although Agyemang’s photos showed some uncleanliness, the suite wasn’t so dirty that it was unreasonable or that it amounted to a breach of the agreement between both parties.

Thankfully for Agyemang, Paul failed to provide evidence that he was entitled to keep the entire deposit, so the tribunal member ordered that Paul pay $257.50, which included the $195 leftover from the deposit and $62.50 in tribunal fees.

Would you consider cigarette butts lying around the house reasonable?

Amir AliAmir Ali

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