The province of British Columbia extended the temporary moratorium on evictions in June until the end of August to support distressed tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the moratorium is lifted next month, tenants will be responsible for all outstanding rent.
Tensions between landlords and tenants may have reached a tipping point in Maple Ridge, a city located in the northeastern section of Greater Vancouver, where one landlord, fed up with his tenant missing a couple of months of rent, removed all of the doors and most of the windows from the rental unit, reported CTV News.
The tenant, Jamie Hemson, a single mother with two kids, lost her job because of the virus-induced downturn, fell behind on rent payments for July and August, returned home last week, and was instantly shocked when doors and windows were removed.
“We were short rent the month of July and my landlord has decided to come in when I wasn’t home and remove all of the windows, and doors, on the exterior and the interior,” said Hemson.
She said, “there was no notice, he [the landlord] didn’t tell me it was coming. He waited until I was gone. So, I feel very violated.”
Hemson had to borrow money to pay for someone to board up the house:
“I actually had to borrow that money (to pay for it).”
I’m a woman. I don’t really feel safe sleeping with my windows and doors open,” Hemson said.
CTV News was at the house on Saturday when the landlord, Tiger Zhang, showed up. He said, “I think if she moves out it’s better and won’t give me too much trouble.”
He admitted to the news team that he removed his tenant’s doors and windows.
Under the rent moratorium, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for unpaid rent and must formulate a repayment plan for missed payments.
Rocco Triguero’s of the Vancouver Tenants Union, said landlords aren’t allowed to remove windows and doors to force tenants to leave.
Zhang told the news team he wasn’t aware of the Residential Tenancy Act and might have made a mistake.
We noted last week, as the eviction moratorium expired in the US, the battle between the landlord-tenant had begun. However, President Trump vowed to protect millions of Americans from eviction with an executive order on Saturday.
The extended moratorium on evictions will surely result in landlords suing the administration.
“Every legal aid lawyer in the country faced with a destitute client being evicted will slap this executive order on the judge’s table and say there should not be any eviction,” said Charles Tiefer, a law professor at the University of Baltimore. “And their landlords who have federally insured mortgages will argue back that it would be illegal for evictions to be halted.”
Tensions are increasing between landlords and tenants as governments continue extending rent moratoriums.
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