Calgary family forced to look for new apartment after complaints about crying baby
Landlord says lease will not be renewed because of ongoing noise issues
Mukesh Khanal says he's being forced to find a new apartment because his sick daughter had been crying at night, triggering complaints from a downstairs tenant.
Khanal received an email from his landlord on May 14 about "ongoing issues with regards to noise at night."
He wrote back to explain that his daughter had been very sick and had been up at night crying.
Less than an hour later, he was informed via email their lease would not be renewed.
"Your child has been ill and is keeping the basement tenant awake at night and it has gone on for several nights.... At this point, as this has been an ongoing issue, we will not be renewing your lease at the end of June 2018. Obviously you and your family would do much better in a whole house as opposed to shared accommodations," wrote Amy Stewart with Savard Properties.
The next day, a notice was taped to their front door saying they would have to be out by noon on June 30.
"We've been good tenants, paid our bills on time, never created any problems.... I don't think it's fair for the company to ask us to move out just because a two-year-old cries," said Khanal.
Khanal noted there was one other noise complaint that he received from the landlord last December.
In a separate email response to Khanal, who stated he was being kicked out, Stewart wrote:
"We are not 'kicking you out' at all, we are not renewing your lease. This is absolutely an ongoing issue. I have all the correspondence. This is obviously not a good fit and it would be better for you to live in a peaceful place."
We are not 'kicking you out' at all, we are not renewing your lease.- Amy Stewart, Savard Properties
"As you stated in your email, you are exhausted because you haven't been sleeping, just like the basement tenant has said. You have explained the situation very clearly."
A statement from Savard Properties to CBC News simply said: "It's the end of the lease and we're not renewing the lease."
Khanal, who is a policy researcher with the University of Calgary's school of public policy, signed a one-year lease to rent the main floor of the home in Martindale.
Khanal, his wife, Sushila, and their daughter, Prakriya, moved in July 1, 2017. The downstairs tenant moved in a few months later. Prakriya is now two years old.
The family had been away on a trip and when they returned the toddler was not well. She had been sick for about a week and was up at night fussing and crying, according to her father.
Not surprised this is happening
The minister of Service Alberta, which oversees the Residential Tenancy Act, says she's not surprised to hear about what she calls a "rough" situation for the Khanals.
"I unfortunately don't find it surprising, I hear all kinds of issues of discrimination in a variety of areas and tenancy is no different," said Stephanie McLean.
McLean — who has a toddler herself — says she knows how difficult situations like this can be.
McLean says landlords are well within their rights not to renew a fixed-term lease. But she says that under the Alberta Human Rights Act, tenants cannot be discriminated against based on their family status. While she says she doesn't know all of the facts, it appears the Khanals may have a valid complaint and she's encouraging the family to contact the human rights commission.
"[The Alberta Human Rights Act] prohibits discrimination or negative treatment towards an individual based on their relationship to a family member and we know the Human Rights Act applies to all relationships in Alberta, so there may be a complaint to be brought forward. So this individual could bring that complaint based on the facts that I've heard there may be grounds," said McLean.
Khanal is looking at filing a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
CBC News made several attempts to reach Savard Properties for comment but didn't hear back before publication.
Khanal agrees the landlord has every right not to renew their lease — but he says that doesn't make it right.
"It's not the hassle, I've moved before. I've been in Calgary over three years, moving is not the hassle. It's scary to think that there are so many people in Calgary with kids, scary to think the landlord can just ask you to move out," he said.
Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.