Sharon Kowalchuk’s untimely and illegal eviction by her Nanaimo landlord continues to touch the hearts and nerves of many, including one man who was in a similar situation.
The former tenant has asked not to be identified but says he lived in the same room as Kowalchuk, before her tenancy, for three years leading up to 2021 under the same landlord.
“When I saw the story, I knew it was (the landlord) Dewey,” he said in an interview with CHEK News.
“This is not surprising that something like this would happen. He wouldn’t follow due process. He would say to tenants, ‘OK, you have a week to get out, or you have 24 hours to get out.'”
Kowalchuk has months or even weeks to live as her organs shut down, but she and her long-time partner were recently given two weeks to leave the boarding room suite.
She told CHEK News that the landlord had said people were complaining about the frequent ambulance visits to the home, so she had to go.
She said rent was always paid, and they had cash to pay for March, but he refused. In most cases, a landlord in B.C. must provide 60 days’ notice to evict a tenant.
“He’s already got enough flak from the city about, you know, having garbage all over the unit, having constant police presence,” added the former tenant.
On Friday, Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said the city wasn’t commenting publicly on the landlord.
CHEK News is not saying where the house is and where the landlord lives because of threats he alleges he has received.
Kowalchuk says he cut their power to force them out, even though she needs power for her oxygen machine.
Yet, another former tenant says the landlord has done it before.
“When he was upset with tenants, he would give them less than a week to get out. If they refused to get out, he would remove doors, cut power,” he said.
The Residential Tenancy Branch Compliance and Enforcement Unit is investigating the eviction, but a renters advocate says a potential fine of $5,000 a day isn’t enough.
“Clearly, there are landlords that for whom the risk of penalties and the strength of penalties is not enough to deter them from doing stuff like this to people and usually the most at-risk, low-income kind of tenants,” said Rob Patterson, a lawyer with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre in Vancouver.
The former tenant says he contacted CHEK News to say if people don’t speak up about landlords like the one in question, bad ones will continue to take advantage of people and “things like this aren’t going to stop.”