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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Canoe Forest Products plywood plant in Salmon Arm is holding its own. (File photo)
Canoe Forest Products in Salmon Arm holding its own during pandemic

General manager says pandemic has not forced layoffs, still 180 people working

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

A line of cars was left waiting for a train at the Marine Park Drive railway crossing as a train halted by a mechanical issue blocked both crossings in the area for close to an hour. (Photo Submitted)
Mechanical issues stall traffic at Salmon Arm rail crossings

Train was stopped on tracks blocking crossings at Narcisse Street and Marine Park Drive

Due to restrictions around COVID-19, access to the Larch Hills chalet will be limited for the 2020/21 cross-country ski season. (File photo)
Early snow means early cross-country skiing at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

COVID-19 requirements restrict use of chalet, postpones of events

The CP Holiday Train stops in Salmon Arm on Dec. 14, 2019. (File photo)
CP Holiday Train at Home to give $7,000 to Salmon Arm food bank

Council members express appreciation for support of the Shuswap from CP Rail

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Danika Rennie and Myles Lowe sport some realistic fake facial hair for Parkview Elementary’s moustache day on Nov. 27. (Contributed)
Snapshot: Moustache Day at Parkview

Parkview Elementary students showed up with their best false facial hair on Nov. 27

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read