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An Alberta court recently ordered the eviction of a tenant on an urgent/emergency basis after the landlord alleged she had assaulted another tenant.

What Happened?

The landlord, a company, administers low income housing in Calgary which includes subsidized housing. 

The tenant was a long-time resident of the property, for which she had a written lease for her month-to-month tenancy. She had lived there since 2002. Originally, she lived there with her son, but he moved out in 2006.

The landlord sought to evict the tenant. The landlord alleged that she had failed to properly maintain the premises, had disagreements with her neighbours, and other issues which had added up over time including an allegation that she was “over housed”. 

The court originally issued an eviction order on February 5, 2020, after the tenant did not appear for the hearing. 

However, the court later determined that there had been issues relating to service of court documents. As a result, the court set aside the original eviction order and directed that the matter be adjourned to March 31, 2020, to be heard on its merits.

COVID-19 Context

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all court matters were adjourned, including the landlord’s case, indefinitely. Additionally, the Alberta government had announced a moratorium on evictions until May 1, 2020.

New Events

Later, however, the landlord alleged that new events transpired in April, 2020, during the pandemic-related adjournment and moratorium.

The landlord claimed that the tenant assaulted a tenant of a neighbouring property.

As a result, the landlord sought to have its application heard, along with the new assault allegations, pursuant to the Alberta Court’s Urgent/Emergency application procedure, which had been implemented during the period in which regular sittings had been suspended due to the pandemic. 

Leave to have the matter heard was granted by the court, and on May 27, 2020, the court heard the new application.

At Issue

The main issue was whether or not there was an assault or interference with the occupants of the neighbouring property by the tenant.

Decision

The court began by stating that, in addition to consideration under the Residential Tenancies Act and the relevant regulatory framework, there was a critical clause in the lease for the purpose of considering the assault or interference with neighbouring resident issues. The clause provided that:

9(1) The tenant shall not do any act or permit any act to be done by any occupant or invitee, either in the premises or in the building or common areas of the property of which the premises form a part, that interferes with the rights of the Landlord or other Tenants in the property, or that interferes with the right of adjacent residents to the quiet possession of their premises. (Emphasis added)

At the hearing, the landlord had submitted affidavits from witnesses to the alleged assault. 

The tenant submitted her own affidavit claiming that she had in fact been the victim of an assault.

However, as part of the affidavits submitted on behalf of the landlord, two video segments were included. The videos had been shot by another neighbour. The court concluded that the videos clearly showed that the tenant was the aggressor during the interaction between the parties and that aggression extended to physically chasing the victim down the alley when she was trying to get away from the tenant. Additionally, the videos showed the tenant spraying water from a hose as well as the tenant attempting to push the victim. The court also found that there were no elements of self-defence on the part of the tenant appearing in the videos. 

The court concluded that on the day of the alleged incident, the tenant was clearly the aggressor and that she interfered significantly with the victim’s quiet enjoyment of her premises.

Therefore, the court concluded that the tenant’s behaviour and actions constituted a sufficient breach of clause 9(1) of the lease for the tenancy to be terminated. 

As a result, the court ordered that the tenant deliver up possession of the premises by 4:00 pm on July 15, 2020 with a civil enforcement agency enforcement clause and a police assistance clause in the order. 

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At Baker & Company in Toronto, our real estate lawyers take the time to speak with you and understand your unique needs in order to guide you through your real estate matter, whether commercial or residential. We rely on our broad base of experience and expertise to provide exceptional legal advice and risk management in a variety of leasing issues. Call us at 416-777-0100 or contact us online for a consultation.

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