This appeal asks the question of
whether a landlord is permitted to retain all, or a portion, of the tenants'
Christopher Higgins ("Mr. Higgins"), rented an room to the Respondents,
Mehakjot Kaur ("Ms. Kaur") and Ripanjot Singh ("Mr. Singh"), collectively
(the "Tenants") located at 3 MacArthur Drive, Charlottetown, PE (the
"Premises"). The Tenants moved into the Premises in September 2020.
A security deposit of $700 was paid to Mr. Higgins.
On September 30, 2020, Mr. Higgins
gave the Tenants a Notice of Intention to Retain Security Deposit ("Form
8"), which stated that Mr. Higgins would be retaining a part of the security
deposit in the amount of $350 for cleaning of the Premises. On October 4,
2020, the Tenants filed with the Director of Residential Rental Property
(the "Director") a Form 9 - Application re Determination of Security Deposit
dated October 4, 2020.
The Director heard the matter on
October 20, 2020, and in Order LD20-289 ordered Mr. Higgins pay the Tenants
the sum of $350 on or before November 23, 2020.
Mr. Higgins appealed.
The Commission heard the appeal
commencing on November 25, 2020, by way of telephone conference call with
the parties. The hearing was
recessed that day to allow the participation of a witness for Mr. Higgins.
The hearing resumed by telephone conference call on November 30,
2020, and concluded that same day.
The appeal is denied.
Director's Order LD20-289 is confirmed.
The evidence establishes that the
Tenants rented a room with kitchen and bathroom privileges in the Premises,
which were also occupied by another tenant, Mr. Higgins and Mr. Higgins's
spouse. The Tenants only lived
in the Premises for 10 or 11 days during the month of September 2020.
The basis of Mr. Higgins's claim of
$350, which he sought to retain from the security deposit, was that he
incurred expenses to clean after the Tenants moved out of the Premises.
Mr. Higgins claimed that he booked ServiceMaster to clean the floors,
but they had not yet come in to do the work due to COVID-19.
Mr. Higgins also claimed that he hired F.M. to clean the Premises
after the Tenants left. Mr.
Higgins stated that F.M. did clean the Premises, was paid $200 and issued a
receipt for that amount.
Mr. Higgins also complained that the
Tenants failed to clean up after preparing their meals.
He stated that he had to clean the kitchen on three occasions at more
than one hour each occasion. He
stated that this cleaning included the kitchen counter, stove top, walls,
oven, sink area, and microwave.
He also stated that the Tenants came into the Premises with their footwear
on and tracked dirt on the new flooring.
Mr. Singh told the Commission that
the Tenants were asked by Mr. Higgins to leave the premises in September
2020. Mr. Singh testified that
the Tenants' possessions were placed on the driveway.
Mr. Singh testified that the
advertisement did not mention that the property owner would also be living
at the Premises. The
advertisement also did not mention that there was a dog residing at the
Premises. Mr. Singh testified
that this was an important matter to the Tenants, as Ms. Kaur is afraid of
At the hearing on November 25, 2020,
the Commission Panel questioned Mr. Higgins on the receipt purportedly
prepared and signed by F.M. The
receipt did not itemize the cost of the items listed therein, but rather was
for a flat $200. No taxes appear
to have been collected according to the receipt. The Commission Panel
therefore sought to hear from F.M. on the detail of the services allegedly
provided and the associated charges.
Mr. Higgins told the Commission
Panel that he would provide Commission staff with contact information for
F.M. On this basis, the
Commission Panel recessed the hearing, and, following receipt of contact
information for F.M., Commission staff provided F.M. with conference call
instructions and the date and time of the hearing.
The Commission reconvened the
hearing on November 30, 2020.
Mr. Higgins stated that F.M. had other work and could not take the time to
be on the call for the hearing.
Mr. Higgins also stated that ServiceMaster was hoping to clean the floors on
Friday (December 4, 2020).
With respect to Mr. Higgins's claim
for ServiceMaster to clean the floors, the Commission observes that the
Tenants left the premises in September 2020 and yet, as of November 30,
2020, that work had not been done; with only a statement from Mr. Higgins
that ServiceMaster was "hoping" to clean the floors on December 4, 2020.
As the work to clean the floors had not been accomplished after some
two months, the Commission rejects such claim.
With respect to the claim for $200
allegedly paid by Mr. Higgins to F.M. for cleaning services, the Commission
has concerns about the veracity of this claim.
In order to give any evidentiary weight to this "receipt", the
Commission needed to have the opportunity to ask questions of the person who
purportedly issued and signed the receipt.
The Commission adjourned the hearing on November 25, 2020, to allow
F.M. to testify by way of a telephone conference call.
As F.M. was not produced
as a witness when the hearing resumed on November 30, 2020, the Commission
gives no evidentiary weight to this "receipt" and thus Mr. Higgins's claim
for $200 paid to F.M. fails.
Accordingly, the Commission rejects
Mr. Higgins's total claim for $350 and confirms the decision of the Director
in Order LD20-289. The balance
of the security deposit is owed to the Tenants and it shall be paid
forthwith upon the expiry of the appeal period.
pursuant to the
Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission
Act and the
Rental of Residential Property Act
IT IS ORDERED THAT
The appeal is denied.
LD20-289 is confirmed.
at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,
this 18th day of December, 2020.
BY THE COMMISSION:
Erin T. Mitchell, Panel Chair & Commissioner
M. Douglas Clow, Vice-Chair
Jean Tingley, Commissioner
Sections 26.(2), 26.(3), 26.(4)
and 26.(5) of the
Rental of Residential Property Act
provide as follows:
26.(2) A lessor or
lessee may, within fifteen days of the decision of the Commission,
appeal to the court on a question of law only.
(3) The rules of court governing appeals apply
to an appeal under subsection (2).
(4) Where the Commission has confirmed,
reversed or varied an order of the Director and no appeal has been taken
within the time specified in subsection (2), the lessor or lessee may
file the order in the court.
(5) Where an order is filed pursuant to
subsection (4), it may be enforced as if it were an order of the court.