Coquitlam landlord owes $36,000 to former tenants after B.C. Supreme Court throws out petition

A Coquitlam landlord has been ordered to pay more $36,000 dollars to her former tenants after the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed her petition to have a former ruling thrown out on Nov. 10.

The petitioner, Michelle Dubeau, argued the Residential Tenancy Branch’s (RTB) award to her former tenants in late 2020 was “patently unreasonable.”

Dubeau never showed up to the RTB hearing adjudicating the dispute, and stated that she was never served notice by her tenants because everything was sent to the wrong address.

The tenants argued that she had full knowledge of the hearing but chose not to attend.

The tenants began renting Dubeau’s condo in Olympic Village in June, 2016, and lived there for more than three years.

In late November, 2019, Dubeau told them she wanted to move closer to her daughter. Shortly afterward, she served them a two-month notice to end their tenancy.

The notice stated she would be occupying the Olympic Village suite, and listed a Coquitlam home as her address.

The tenants found a place to live quickly. They notified Dubeau via the Coquitlam address that they intended to end their tenancy early and moved out before the end of December.

Dubeau never returned their damage deposit.

A complaint was filed to the RTB by the tenants regarding the missing deposit, which also alleged that Dubeau had issued the end-tenancy notice in bad faith.

They served notice of the RTB hearing to Dubeau’s Coquitlam address in August, along with an evidence package in October.

The tenants submitted “considerable” evidence to the RTB, according to the Supreme Court judge.

They sent notices to both Dubeau’s Coquitlam address and their former residence.

Canada Post confirmed that notices sent to the Coquitlam address were received, and the only notices labelled “return to sender” were those sent to the unit Dubeau claimed she would be occupying.

The tenants and the RTB both emailed notices regarding the dispute claim to Dubeau’s email address – the same address she’d used previously to communicate as a landlord.

Dubeau argued that she had already moved into the Olympic Village unit, and never received any of these communications.

She claimed that her estranged father actually lives at the Coquitlam address, but evidence submitted to the RTB by a private investigator showed Dubeau on the property..

The Supreme Court dismissed Dubeau’s petition and awarded costs to the tenants.

Patrick Penner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Tri-Cities Dispatch