Oak Bay resident Pamela Labrie says she was blindsided after she was evicted from her home this week for unknowingly being $1 short on rent for six months.
With Victoria’s tight rental market, Labrie said she has nowhere else to go.
“We’re going through really hard times right now and I have so many barriers,” she said.
Labrie, who is a single parent, legally blind and currently being treated for cancer, said being evicted from her home was the last thing she wanted to deal with.
“I went into the hearing and I was blindsided,” she said, adding that she the landlord, Frank Lui, would use any excuse to get her out.
Labrie said the missing cash was due to a bank service fee.
Now, she’s packing up her things with no place to go.
“Affordable housing is so hard to get,’ she said, adding that hasn’t told her daughter yet that they’re forced to leave their home of five years.
“It’s just not right and I think that the residential tenancy laws should protect low income families,” she said.
Lui declined to be interviewed on-camera but told CHEK News that Labrie was a difficult tenant who would always pay her rent late.
Labrie denied that accusation and said this is the fifth time her landlord has tried to evict her.
The residential tenancy branch ruled the four previous attempts were for invalid reasons.
A tenant’s right lawyer says multiple eviction attempts are not uncommon.
“Essentially, there’s an economic incentive for landlords to evict their tenants. Once the tenant is evicted, the landlord can charge another tenant any amount they want for rent,” said Danielle Sabelli, a lawyer with the Community Legal Assistance Society.
She said tenants aren’t well protected under the residential tenancy act and the laws need to change.
“A party could be evicted for being short one dollar as per the residential tenancy act. Its, again, a very harsh consequence,” Sabelli said.
Although her options are limited, Labrie is working with legal advocacy group Together Against Poverty Society to fight the decision.