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B.C. senior wins case after Christian charity tries to evict him

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

A B.C. senior has been given a reprieve and escaped eviction for now after he won a court case against the Residential Tenancy Branch and the Christian charity that tried to evict him.

According to a May 6 B.C. Supreme Court decision, Brian Senft had been renting a bachelor suite from the Society for Christian Care of the Elderly for more than a decade.

However, in May 2021 the Society issued an eviction notice to Senft giving him two months to move out saying his unit was unclean and in need of repair.

The Society for Christian Care of the Elderly said the uncleanliness of his apartment "seriously jeopardized" the health and safety of other occupants.

The Society also said it put the property at "significant risk" and that he had not repaired damage to the rental unit as he was required to do.

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Senft took the Society for Christian Care of the Elderly to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch to fight his eviction.

He lost the case but then filed in the B.C. Supreme Court asking for it to overturn the Residential Tenancy Branch's decision and his eviction.

Luckily for Senft, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Wilkinson saw his case differently.

According to the decision, prior to the eviction notice, he was in poor health and had difficulties with housekeeping and received help from his neighbours and private cleaners. However, during the pandemic, these services stopped.

Adding to the mess, he'd also helped a friend fix a diesel engine and covered his bathroom with engine grim just before he then became sick with COVID-19.

He isolated himself in his suite for two months while he had COVID-19 and ordered in food. He was unable to clean the place.

Around this time the Society conducted a general inspection of the unit and found it unclean and in need of repairs.

"The photos show extensive waste in the living room, kitchen and bathroom. Witnesses described it as including biowaste and food containers," the decision said.

After Senft had recovered from COVID he arranged to have the place professionally cleaned.

However, before the cleaner had made its first visit the landlord visited again and served Senft an eviction notice.

While the Residential Tenancy Branch sided with the landlord, Justice Wilkinson picked holes in the Tenancy Branch's reasoning.

The Justice pointed out that the Residential Tenancy Branch had failed to take into consideration the fact Senft had ultimately cleaned his place once he recovered from COVID.

"The (Residential Tenancy Branch) found that the rental unit was reasonably clean by August 2021. If that was the case, how could (Senft's) conduct have placed other occupants or the landlord’s interests at risk?" the Justice said.

The Justice also pointed out that evidence showed all the appliances, fixtures and cabinets in the rental unit were 50 years old.

The Justice went on to say the Residential Tenancy Branch's decision was "patently unreasonable" and overruled its decision.

Ultimately, the case will now go back to the Residential Tenancy Branch for it to reconsider its action, meaning Senft will have another chance to fight his eviction.

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