Landlord sued for keeping security deposit after tenant failed to move in

Mar 13 2023, 6:34 pm

A tenant in BC sued a landlord for keeping his security deposit after failing to move into a furnished room.

The result of this small claims case at the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal shows that not all landlords are bad, and tenants can be shady, too, in a dispute focused on the security deposit.

Chinonso Uche-Nweke was the tenant who attempted to sue Darin Williamson for keeping his security deposit.

Uche-Nweke had agreed to rent a fully furnished room from Williamson on May 1, 2022. The listing said rent was $800 monthly, plus a $400 security deposit.

In this case, Uche-Nweke alleged Williamson did not allow them to move in. The tenant was looking for a $400 deposit refund and $1,545.17 reimbursement for the amount they spent on alternate accommodations. He also sought $130 in damages for discriminatory comments Williamson allegedly made.

Williamson denied those claims and suggested Uche-Nweke caused him to lose $800 in rent for the month.

Before the rental agreement was solidified, Williamson had asked Uche-Nweke for proof of vaccination and other documents.

At some point on May 1, Uche-Nweke sent Williamson a $400 e-transfer for the security deposit. After receiving the deposit, Williamson told Uche-Nweke that the room was his. Text message submissions indicate that Williamson was very welcoming to Uche-Nweke.

They were set to meet the next day.

The next day, Uche-Nweke told Williamson that the home was a six-hour bus ride from where they were staying and that they would aim to arrive tomorrow.

Texts indicate that Williamson said his new tenant had already broken three appointments but would agree to meet with him if he e-transferred “today’s rent” immediately. Uche-Nweke tried to reassure Williamson that he would be taking the place and getting the rent.

“Mr. Uche-Nweke says it was only after sending Mr. Williamson the $400 deposit that they realized on May 2 that Mr. Williamson’s home was 3 hours away from the university Mr. Uche-Nweke was going to be attending. Mr. Uche-Nweke says after realizing this, they told Mr. Williamson that they could not take the rental as his home was too far,” reads the case doc.

Upon hearing this news, Williamson refused to return the $400 deposit.

Uche-Nweke claims they tried to move in on May 3, but Williamson refused entry, which he denied. However, the tribunal member overseeing the case found little evidence to support Uche-Nweke’s claims.

“I find it more likely that Mr. Uche-Nweke decided not to move in and breached the parties’ agreement.”

The tribunal member stated that because Uche-Nweke breached the agreement by failing to move in, he essentially forfeited the deposit and agreed that Williamson lost $800 in rent and that keeping the deposit would allow him to offset the costs.


Amir AliAmir Ali

+ News
+ Real Estate
+ Urbanized
+ Canada