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‘Bad’ tenants living for free in Maple Ridge

Cara Falconer is trying to evict tenants from her house along Bryant Drive in Maple Ridge. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Cara Falconer is trying to evict tenants from her house along Bryant Drive in Maple Ridge.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Cara Falconer is not wasting any time.

After watching a news report Tuesday about two troublesome tenants in Maple Ridge, she learned the couple have landed in her and husband Darrin’s rental property in Rock Ridge.

Two days later, she issued a notice for unpaid rent.

“They moved in April 1st,” said Falconer. “Then I saw the special on CBC last night. So I thought, this is what they do.”

Thursday morning she and her husband Darrin issued the notice to Chris and Susan Perret, who the report says are moving into rental homes, not paying rent, then living rent free for months before being evicted.

Falconer is already out $1,500 after the cheque for April bounced.

The couple gave Falconer a $750 cash damage deposit and $400 cash for a pet damage deposit, as well as three cheques for three months’ rent for the top storey of a house at the north end of 236th Street. But the Falconers are not counting on the rent cheques clearing for the next two months, either.

“They seemed like totally normal people. They totally seemed very nice and legitimate. Bad luck, I guess,” Cara Falconer said.

She hopes the couple will be out of the house by the end of the month. The notice given Thursday is for unpaid rent. Tenants can pay the rent within five days or apply for dispute resolution with the Residential Tenancy Branch.

But waiting for a hearing date could drag the issue into May.

“I’m not counting on anything,” Falconer said.

Contacted at the house Thursday, Sue Perret said she didn’t want to comment until she had talked to her lawyer.

Falconer said the couple also used to rent from her next door neighbour, Kim Gouws.

Steve and Nicole Read also lost rent for August, September and October after the couple stayed in their rental house in Hammond.

Nicole Read said the Perrets moved into the house in June and paid the damage deposit and first month’s rent in cash.

While the July rent cheque bounced, the couple paid that month’s rent in cash.

“And then they never paid any rent after that.

“We had to go through the residential tenancy process to get a court order to get them evicted.”

Total costs to the couple, including the missed rent, were about $4,700. She doubts it’s worth suing for that.

The couple seemed to know their rights and knew how long they could be there, she added.

“These people just float about Maple Ridge.”

Read said the eviction process is a lengthy one. After a dispute resolution hearing, she got a court order for an eviction for the end of October, which also required a notification period. Then bailiffs had to be hired to ensure the actual vacancy of the property.

But the Perrets left in mid-October, before the eviction took place.

In another dispute, from February 2013, the Residential Tenancy Branch ordered the Perrets to pay $4,922 to landlord Suman Parasad for back rent for a house on Halnor Avenue in Maple Ridge.

A Feb. 24 small claims court order requires that amount to be paid back at $225 twice a month.

Read understands that the tenancy act is there to protect tenants. But for troublesome tenants, the process should be sped up.

“The problem with the RTO is the delays are so long.” There’s no option but to follow the act, she added.

“While you wait, these people live in your house rent free.”

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