BC roommates claim thousands in fight over “unbearable” living conditions

Former BC roommates shared their concerns about their living arrangement in a small claims case at the Civil Resolution Tribunal with thousands of dollars at stake.

In a decision posted publicly, Rafaela Rose, who rented a room from the accused Bethany Lamb, claims Lamb misled her about the “unbearable” living arrangement. Lamb filed a counterclaim accusing Rose of breaching and ending the rental agreement early.

Rose claimed damages of $3,300, which included two months’ paid rent and an $825 damage deposit. Lamb claimed $4,867.50 in unpaid rent.

In January 2023, Rose responded to an ad posted by Lamb on Facebook Marketplace, where she was looking to sublet a room in her two-bedroom apartment.

Lamb agreed to prepare an agreement for both sides to sign. They discussed the preferred length of tenancy and decided that six months was reasonable. After that, the agreement would continue on a month-to-month basis.

They both signed an agreement on January 23, 2023.

Rose agreed to pay Lamb $1,650 monthly rent plus an $825 deposit.

While the living arrangement technically took effect on February 1, 2023, Lamb allowed Rose to move in a few days before.

It is undisputed that “at least once” in March, Rose complained that Lamb and her boyfriend made lots of noise in the kitchen early in the morning. Unfortunately for Rose, her bedroom wall separated her from the kitchen. Rose said that due to the noise, she didn’t think the living situation would work out and asked Lamb if she needed to submit written notice. Lamb responded that she was busy and could figure it out later.

Lamb apologized the next day and was surprised to hear that Rose wanted out, thinking that things were going really well. She asked if there was anything she could do to keep Rose in the home but would respect her decision if she ultimately wanted to leave.

The tribunal’s decision states, “By this point, Bethany Lamb had undisputedly reposted Ms. Rose’s bedroom for rent online with a start date of April 1.”

Rose found the posting on Facebook Marketplace and informed Lamb that she saw it on March 15. In the same text, Rose said she’d be moving out that weekend (March 18). She asked when she could expect her deposit returned, and Lamb said the deposit is returned after the keys are. Rose did move out on March 18 but didn’t get her deposit.

Who got their claimed damages?

Rose claimed a $3,300 refund for the two months’ rent she paid. She argued that Lamb made two specific misrepresentations in the apartment listing, including falsely claiming to own the apartment. Rose also claims that Lamb hid that her boyfriend lived with her.

The tribunal did not agree with Rose’s claims.

Rose also claimed they constantly banged pots and pans and made unreasonable noise as early as 5 am, which made the situation unbearable. She also alleged that she had limited access because Lamb and her boyfriend were always in the kitchen. However, Rose failed to provide sufficient evidence of these claims.

The tribunal stated that Rose breached the parties’ agreement by moving out early, entitling Lamb to the total amount of April’s rent. Because Rose’s security deposit wasn’t returned, the tribunal deducted the deposit from the total amount for April rent.

Rose was ordered to pay Lamb $825 plus $44.67 in tribunal fees, for a total of $869.67 within 14 days of the decision.