Clive Callaway and Cathryn Rankin who rent a secondary suite at their Gardom Lake home hope that a frustrating experience they had with tenants during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to changes to regulations around rental units. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Obsever)

Clive Callaway and Cathryn Rankin who rent a secondary suite at their Gardom Lake home hope that a frustrating experience they had with tenants during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to changes to regulations around rental units. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Obsever)

COVID-19 eviction freeze leaves Shuswap landlords cold

Clive Callaway and Cathryn Rankin are out more than $4,000 after frustrating experience

Following a bad experience with renters amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Gardom Lake couple is hoping their experience can prompt change in the way landlords and tenants interact.

Clive Callaway and Cathryn Rankin accepted two new tenants into the rental unit at their Gardom Lake property at the start of February 2020. The couple said rent cheques stopped coming from one of them on April 1 – she moved out without warning shortly thereafter and left no forwarding address.

The other tenant, who Callaway and Rankin said was on social assistance, had stopped paying rent as of July 1.

The landlords say matters were complicated by the eviction freeze put in place by the B.C. government from March to September. The freeze came with a provision giving tenants who owed rent which would have been due during the freeze until July 2021 to pay it back. They said they were eventually able to evict the remaining tenant on medical grounds before the end of the freeze as her smoking was irritating Rankin’s asthma and Callaway also recently had a pacemaker implanted. This, they explained, was a lengthy process requiring letters from doctors.

As non-working pensioners, Callaway and Rankin described the income from the rental unit as an important piece of their fragile financial situation. While attempting to collect the unpaid rent, which they said amounted to $4,600, they found how difficult and expensive a process it can be.

Read More: Free stuff: Shuswap mom hopes to get people upcycling

Read More: Friday the 13th: A brief history and look at its significance

Callaway said they have paid more than $350 in court, registered mailing and Residential Tenancy Branch application fees. In addition, he said they have driven more than 500 kilometres on errands to the courthouse and bank.

Also adding to their mileage total was an attempt to locate their former tenants to serve the summons to a payment hearing. In absence of a forwarding address they had to operate off rumours and intuition. Callaway and Rankin said the search made them feel like vigilantes.

Hiring a professional skip tracer to handle the service of the papers was a possibility, but Callaway and Rankin said it was a further expense they could ill afford and they were unable to find one based anywhere closer than Kelowna. More than a month after their initial search for the former tenants, Callaway said they still have not been able to secure a skip tracer’s services.

Read More: Secwépemc veterans faced battles of a different sort upon return from war

Read More: Christmas will be different even if Santa is ‘probably’ immune to COVID, says B.C. top doctor

Unable to successfully serve the former tenants with papers, Callaway said he had to cancel the payment hearing they had scheduled with the courts. Frustrated, he noted if another product or service were taken without payment, it might be possible to get the police involved.

The couple believe better solutions should available for situations such as theirs, to improve things for both landlords and tenants when conflicts arise.

One possibility is more government supports for landlords who rely on rental income to make ends meet. Rankin said when the rent money stopped arriving, both tenants were provided with information on how to apply for a rent relief program. There was no indication they ever applied. Callaway and Rankin said the situation could have been approved if there was some way for landlords to initiate the rent relief process when tenants choose not to.

They also said they wouldn’t be opposed to paying into some sort of protection fund to assist low-income landlords in the event of non-payment.

Callaway and Rankin said situations like the one they experienced can lead to reduced rental inventory. They said they have heard from other landlords who have chosen to rent out their properties on a short-term basis or not at all due to negative experiences.

The non payment led Callaway and Rankin to consider selling their property, but they said they now have good tenants in place.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

RentalsSalmon Arm

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read