No eviction for man after camera smeared, guests arrested

A man who tampered with a security camera at an Inuvik apartment complex, and whose guests in the building were arrested by police, will not be evicted.

Housing NWT sought the man’s eviction after the incident on the grounds that the tenant had “wilfully aided or sheltered” criminals. That request was denied in a ruling published online this week.

Rental officer Hal Logsdon, in a decision dated December 5, said Housing NWT had not provided any evidence of illegal activity on the property – or even evidence that the tenant, identified only as Mr K, knew the men he had let into the building.


Recapping the case, Logsdon wrote that Housing NWT alleged Mr K allowed four men into the apartment complex, and then into his unit, on June 9 last year.

Housing NWT “stated that a short time later, police entered the building with firearms drawn and arrested two of the men who were in the hallway,” Logsdon continued. He said surveillance camera footage appears to corroborate Housing NWT’s suggestion that police then returned in an effort to find the two remaining men.

Mr K is also alleged to have “obscured the hallway surveillance camera by smearing a substance on the camera lens” later that month, on June 29.

Stills from the surveillance footage show Mr K “walking down the hallway with what appears to be a lotion bottle, covering his palm with a substance and smearing the substance on the camera lens,” Logsdon wrote.

In seeking Mr K’s eviction, Housing NWT said the four men “were engaged in some form of illegal activity and that Mr K was aware of the activity and wilfully aided or sheltered them.”


Tenant ‘did not know’ men

Mr K saw things differently at a hearing convened by the NWT rental office.

He admitted he had let the men into the building, but said – in Logsdon’s words – “he did not know them or know of their backgrounds.”

“He stated that he had been contacted by a friend who told him the men were friends of his and asked him to lend them assistance during their stay in town,” Logsdon wrote, adding that Mr K felt “the men seemed like ‘good and respectable guys’ and he trusted his friend’s assessment.”

Mr K noted that while police had detained him, they had not charged him and found no evidence of illegal activity at his apartment.


The smearing of lotion on the security camera undeniably occurred, Mr K acknowledged, but he said he had been drinking and did not remember the incident. “He denied that there was any motive involved in the act and noted that the camera was not damaged,” Logsdon wrote.

Reaching his decision not to order Mr K’s eviction, Logsdon said Housing NWT had “not presented any evidence of an illegal act performed on the premises or residential complex by the tenants or anyone permitted on the premises by the tenant.”

While RCMP had stated in an email to Housing NWT that the men’s presence in Mr K’s apartment “lends to the likelihood he was aware of their nefarious activities,” Logsdon said neither the police nor Housing NWT had any evidence of Mr K’s “knowledge of such acts.”

While tenants are not allowed to unduly disturb other tenants or the landlord, Logsdon found that on the evidence before him, it was “unlikely” that Mr K “could have anticipated that such a disturbance would occur, being unaware of his guests’ background.”

Logsdon found it “clear” that Mr K had tried to disable the camera. But the rental officer said there was not enough evidence to establish what his intention was in doing so. He said an order would be issued requiring that Mr K “not create any damage in the future.”

“The applicant’s request for an eviction order is denied [and] the tenancy agreement between the parties is reinstated,” Logsdon concluded.