British Columbia

She kept leaving windows open. Tribunal says her roommate was justified in kicking her out

One window left open, another door closed.

'With all due respect, I request you stop harassing me with this issue'

A man who evicted his roommate for continually leaving ground-floor windows open when she wasn't home acted "reasonably," according to B.C.'s small claims court. (Shutterstock/Pashu Ta Studio)

Police say it all the time: Don't leave doors and windows open when you're not around, because it's a safety and security issue.

But is it a big enough issue to justify kicking your roommate out?

Apparently, it can be.

Two ex-roommates who bickered over open windows for months ended up fighting each other in the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) — and the window-abandoner lost.

Paul Malowany said he asked Amanda Temple to move out of their suite because she "repeatedly" left ground-floor windows open or unlocked when she went out, despite him asking her to close them for safety reasons more than once.

She left but sued him for $680, one month's rent, for wrongful eviction.

'If you are so dreadfully worried ... '

A decision from the CRT, which settled the feud, said the pair started fighting about the windows after she moved into the three-storey building in February 2018.

A ruling said Malowany texted Temple, asking to talk to her about the problem in person, but she declined because she felt "slightly threatened."

They never had a face-to-face meeting, and Malowany ultimately asked Temple to leave, after she didn't respond to four written reminders about the windows. 

Temple texted Malowany to stop "harassing" her on July 4, 2018:

"If you are so dreadfully worried about the security of your things I suggest YOU take responsibility for YOUR things and keep them in YOUR room and keep YOUR room secure. I pay rent every month, on time and that gives me just as much right to live and be comfortable in the house as you. You do not have the right or authority to control my behaviour. You do not have the right or authority to make me feel uncomfortable in my own home," she wrote.

"With all due respect, I request you stop harassing me with this issue."

The ruling said Temple moved out a month later. 

The tribunal dismissed her lawsuit against Malowany, saying there was nothing in their roommate agreement that would've blocked him from asking her to leave. There was also nothing in the agreement about having to compensate an evicted roommate.

Finally, the tribunal said Malowany's texts weren't threatening and he was justified in asking Temple to move out.

"I find the applicant acted unreasonably, by repeatedly failing to lock the windows, refusing to respect the respondent's safety concern around the windows, and by refusing to discuss the matter," wrote tribunal member Kate Campbell.

"In the circumstances, I find the respondent was justified in instructing her to move out."

The ruling did not say why Temple wanted the windows left open.

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