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

#Salmon ArmRentals

Just Posted

Erin Jackson, the city’s director of corporate services, was appointed acting chief administrative officer for the City of Salmon Arm on June 15, 2021. (Photo contributed)
City of Salmon Arm appoints acting chief administrative officer

Heads of two city department to temporarily fill empty CAO position

The old Dirty Dirt Farm Co-op sign now hangs in the forest behind one of the cabins. (Jim Cooperman photo)
Column: The saga of the Dirty Dirt Farm Co-op

Shuswap Passion by Jim Cooperman

Brook Kosick competes in the barrel racing event at a BC High School Rodeo Association rodeo in Quesnel, which was held from June 11-13, 2021. (Cassidy Dankochik - Black Press)
VIDEO: 14-year-old Salmon Arm rodeo athlete Brook Kosick competes at provincial level

Quesnel rodeo on June 11-13 was first of season for Kosick, who said it meant everything to be back

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

The third and last day of the Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, the ones who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions, began at the Kamloops Indian Residential School on June 11 and stopped on June 13 outside the Adams Lake conference centre near Chase. The third day began about 10.5 kilometres from the centre and when it was complete, a closing ceremony was held. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

More flames
UPDATE: Lake Country home destroyed in massive blaze

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

A heart of ribbons is seen on the fence of Highroad Academy along Chilliwack Central Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Orange Heart Memorial campaign launches in Vernon on National Indigenous Peoples Day

North Okanagan Friendship Center raising funds for bench, mural memorializing 215 discovered in Kamloops

Most Read