A file image of a moribund cat. Vaclav Sonnek/Dreamstime
A rental officer has rejected most of more than 20 allegations made by a Yellowknife tenant against their landlord, calling them “frivolous” and “vexatious.”
The case, which came before rental officer Hal Logsdon in April this year, involved a tenant who agreed to pay $1,200 for a room in a mobile home with a shared kitchen and bathroom. The decision was published this week.
The tenancy began in September 2022 but by January 9, 2023, difficulties had arisen to the extent that the landlord told the tenant it was “best to part ways at the end of February.” A week later, the tenant said they would be gone by the end of January.
“There were tensions between the parties concerning care of the applicant’s cats and snow removal,” Logsdon wrote, summarizing the evidence. (Both the tenant and landlord are identified only by their initials in the written ruling, as is the rental office’s usual practice.)
The tenant’s claim that the landlord changed the locks too soon was accepted by Logsdon, who ordered that the landlord refund $309.68 in unpaid rent.
The landlord was also told to refund a $500 pet deposit as, while the landlord claimed the tenant’s cats had caused damage, there was no evidence that either an entrance or exit inspection report had been completed. Pet deposits cannot be legally retained without those documents.
But Logsdon took issue with the great majority of complaints filed by the tenant.
He wrote that the tenant had alleged 21 separate breaches of the NWT’s Residential Tenancies Act, but said 19 of those allegations did not warrant action.
As an example, Logsdon wrote, the tenant said the landlord did not provide a lock for their bedroom door.
While this was “clearly a breach of the act,” Logsdon wrote, the point of the legislation would be to remedy that by having the landlord install a lock. “If the applicant is no longer in possession, it corrects nothing for them,” he stated.
Reviewing more of the claims, Logsdon continued: “Allegations such as the alleged failure to make a copy of the [Residential Tenancies] Act available, failure to keep the security deposit in trust, and entering the premises without consent are other examples. In my opinion, they are vexatious and do not warrant further review.”
Logsdon had further criticism for a series of allegations that he ruled were “frivolous.”
“The applicant’s cats suffered indigestion after eating meat allegedly left out by the landlord. The applicant’s food from the refrigerator was allegedly left outside by the respondent to freeze. The applicant shovelled snow during Christmas holidays,” he wrote, listing some of the allegations made to the rental office.
“There is no evidence of significant loss for these items. In my opinion, they do not warrant consideration.”
The landlord was ordered to pay back $809.70 – the sum of the repayable rent plus the pet deposit and two cents’ interest.