"A [expletive] idiot": Tenant sues roommate after fiery rental dispute

Mar 28 2023, 7:00 pm

A fiery roommate rental dispute made its way to the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal, and it sounds like the rental agreement hit a breaking point after the tenant contracted COVID-19.

The case was between renter Camille Fortin and Jillian Malcolm, who Fortin was renting from.

Fortin claimed $2,125, including $1,700 for December 2021 and January 2022 rent and $425 for a damage deposit, after alleging that Malcolm “interfered with her quiet enjoyment of the premises by repeatedly shouting at her to the point of verbal abuse,” which she claimed breached the rental agreement.

She also claimed $500 for mountain bike equipment that Malcolm allegedly refused to return and $375 for rent she had to pay for another accommodation in January 2022, but the tribunal dismissed those claims.

Malcolm’s version of events was that since Fortin moved out without notice, she was the one who breached the rental agreement and thus she didn’t owe Fortin anything.

Fortin made recordings of Malcolm’s expletive-filled verbal tirades, which proved crucial in this case.

Around December 31, 2021, Fortin tested positive for COVID-19, and the tribunal member said, “from this point the relationship deteriorated.”

Fortin submitted voice recordings from January 2 and 3, which made it clear that Malcolm was not satisfied with Fortin’s cleaning of the common areas, “particularly when it came to sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces and handles.”

Court documents state that in the recordings, Malcolm repeatedly spoke to Fortin in a raised voice or by shouting at her, including profanity, to “criticize and berate” Fortin for not cleaning up the way Malcolm wanted.

“Miss Malcolm also directed insults and obscenities at Ms. Fortin personally, asking her if she was stupid and ‘[expletive] brain-dead,’ calling her ‘useless,’ ‘[expletive] stupid,’ a ‘[expletive] moron,’ a ‘[expletive] idiot,’ and a “c[expletive].”

Fortin also said that Malcolm hit the house’s walls in anger. The tribunal member states that the recordings showed “Ms. Fortin told Miss Malcolm her behaviour made Ms. Fortin feel unsafe and that Miss Malcolm dismissed this.”

Upon hearing the recordings, Malcolm did not object to them or deny hitting the walls. Instead, she acknowledged that she didn’t respond well and reasoned that Fortin was disrespectful and discourteous because she wasn’t wearing  a mask “while cooking and eating.”

Malcolm said Fortin was also aggressive, but the tribunal member acknowledged, based on the recordings, that it was usually after a “sustained period of Miss Malcolm screaming at and disparaging Ms. Fortin.”

“I find Miss Malcolm’s frequent episodes of obscenity-laced shouting and name-calling, as well as wall-hitting, clearly breached the rental agreement’s implied terms of quiet enjoyment and respectful and safe treatment,” the tribunal member stated.

In the end, Fortin was awarded $1.280.70, which included $1,192.74 in debt for the damage deposit and rent refund, and the rest was attributed to court fees.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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