Before the pandemic, a Revelstoke mother and her children were rarely home during the day, busy with school and extracurricular activities such as dance class.
It was generally a quiet household.
But now, with the closure of schools and the requirements of social distancing, Sarah, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, described their home as nonstop noise.
And her downstairs tenant of one year is not happy about it. Understandably, she adds.
However, the noise complaints escalated to banging on walls and screaming obscenities, scaring both Sarah and her children.
“It was too much for me to deal with a grown man screaming, yelling and banging.”
Sarah, who owns her home, called the police. However they said there was nothing that could be done as there is a freeze on evictions due to the pandemic.
According to Revelstoke RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky, the police are seeing a moderate increase in domestic violence, neighbourhood conflicts and tenancy disputes.
“Mental Health Act complaints comprise an additional number of files where persons are experiencing anxiety or anger due to the pandemic restrictions,” Grabinsky indicated in an email.
At a loss for what else to do, Sarah packed her bags and her kids and left town.
“I feel for people who don’t have some place to go.”
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, the society hasn’t seen an increase at the transition house, said Lynn Loeppky, executive director for the society; however, they have had an increase in women seeking outreach services.
“We are expecting higher numbers if the social distancing and self-isolation measures continue.”
In Victoria, a family support centre has reported a 40 per cent increase in women expressing interest in moving into supportive housing.
Although there is currently a moratorium on evictions, landlords may apply directly to the Residential Tenancy Branch to end tenancy if it would be unreasonable or unfair for the landlord or other occupants to wait for the national emergency to end.
Landlords can also apply to end the tenancy if the tenant has:
- significantly interfered with or unreasonably disturbed the landlord or another occupant
- seriously jeopardized the health, safety or lawful rights of landlord or another occupant
- put the property at significant risk
- caused extraordinary damage
- engaged in illegally activity
- the unit must be vacated to comply with an order of a municipal, provincial or federal authority
- the unit is uninhabitable
With those conditions put into effect March 30, the tenancy branch has received a number of applications calling for eviction.
Sarah said her children are having a hard time since the incident.
“My concern is with the children subjected to this abuse and not receiving any help … and for the people who are snapping under the pressure of all this and what potentially their reaction might be.”