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Court orders rental refund after BC landlord enters tenant's room

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BC's small claims court ordered a landlord to return a partial month's rent after her tenant left just weeks after signing their initial agreement.

Dorothea Letkeman was ordered to pay nearly $800 to her former tenant, who left after Letkeman entered her room repeatedly without permission.

Former tenant Jeannette Oh took the dispute to court after Letkeman initially agreed to refund her security deposit and 13 days rent, but failed to follow through, according to a Nov. 7 Civil Resolutions Tribunal decision.

Oh signed the agreement in December 2022 after responding to an ad for a room rental. She was to pay $895 per month, along with a $447.50 deposit. Her mother made the payments and Oh moved into the room in January.

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The privacy issues started on Jan. 13, when Letkeman texted Oh saying she was going to put a recently delivered package into her room. Oh thanked Letkeman, but asked that she not go into her room again.

On Jan. 14 and 15, the landlord went into the room again so she could check the thermostat. Rather than actually walking into the room, she told the tribunal she only opened the door, arguing there could be "good reasons" to go inside.

Oh moved out on Jan. 18 after the pair got into an argument, never to return to the apartment, according to the decision.

On Jan. 20, Letkeman emailed Oh's mother inviting Oh to pick up her things and drop off the keys the next day. Once that was done, she said she would return the deposit plus $317.50 for 11 days' rent.

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The payment never arrived.

Letkeman sent an e-transfer of $317.50, but failed to provide the password to access the funds and to send the security deposit.

Oh looked to the tribunal to order Letkeman pay the $765 she promised to pay, and the tribunal did so, finding they came to an agreement that the landlord failed to follow through with. Oh claimed a further $100 in punitive damages for "outrageous behaviour."

The tribunal dismissed the claim for punitive damages, but added another $30 for pre-judgment interest.

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