Family Evicted Unjustly Wins $36,100 Compensation, Landlord Still Withholds Payment

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In the spring of the year 2022, an unexpected blow was delivered to Tamara Bruce and her family – an eviction notice from their home in North Delta. The decree, originating from their landlord, Sucha Randhawa, announced that he or an immediate family member had intentions of occupying the premises.

Difficulties arose right at their doorstep, quite literally, as eviction notices were plastered there. This unsettling series of events, especially given the existence of a child in their household, led the Bruce family to deem relocation the lesser of two evils. The home they had known and loved for six years was soon to be stripped from their possession.

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Affordability in the costly housing market of Lower Mainland forced them to uproot their lives to the silent town of Barriere, located a fair few hours away. Nevertheless, nagging suspicions about the landlord’s sincerity continued to gnaw at Bruce. Her fears were confirmed when months later, she stumbled upon her previous abode listed for rent on Craigslist.

According to a seasoned general counsel lawyer and real estate specialist, Michael Golden, this is not an uncommon situation. “I’ve seen countless instances where landlords insist that a family member or they themselves are moving in. However, once the tenant vacates the property, it is revealed that the landlord has no intention of moving in.”

This discovery prompted Bruce to take her case to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB), who ruled in her favor, entitling her to a compensation of $36,100, equivalent to a year’s rent. However, even after the passage of months since the ruling was passed in March, Bruce has yet to receive any payment from Randhawa.

An exasperated Bruce notes, “Despite our efforts to contact him and despite being out of pocket, he’s still reaping substantial profits from re-renting the house.” Golden explains that the nuances of the law make enforcing the RTB ruling a challenge, requiring a tedious journey through the court system.

Attempts by CTV News to contact Randhawa have been fruitless. A woman who introduces herself as his wife states that her husband is unavailable and claims ignorance about the predicament involving the Bruce family.

While frustrated and disheartened by the lack of accountability landlords face, Bruce stays vigilant. In an attempt to secure justice, she has engaged legal help and has begun the process of placing a lien on Randhawa’s properties.

Bruce believes that her torrid ordeal highlights the gaping fissures in the system. Unfazed, she intends to carry on her battle against her unscrupulous former landlord. In her own words, “Our home was in Delta. Even if the fight spans decades and we don’t reclaim a single penny, we’re committed to holding individuals responsible for their actions.”