‘Shocked and sad’: Calgary rental property left badly damaged

Click to play video: 'Calgary homeowner reeling after rental property trashed'
Calgary homeowner reeling after rental property trashed
WATCH: A Calgary woman is in shock after she says her townhouse was badly damaged by a former tenant. As Tracy Nagai reports, a fundraiser has been started to help cover some of the upfront costs. – Jul 2, 2021

A Calgary homeowner says a southeast townhouse has been turned upside down by a former tenant.

“To say I’m stressed is an understatement,” Jennifer Campbell said. “I feel like I’m holding it together OK, but this is hard. This is a blow.”

Campbell said she rented out her home in Queensland in the fall of 2019 to a single man in his 40s.

“I think he was doing fine until about six months ago, when I knew he lost his job and that was because of COVID(-19),” she said.

“He was in communication with me and we worked it out until about April when things went south.”

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The tenant began sending Campbell emails complaining about the neighbours and she said he was late paying his rent.

Campbell said she looked into his concerns with the condo board but said they were unfounded.

Then two weeks ago, the situation escalated.

“I got a call about two Mondays ago from the police saying that there was a disturbance,” Campbell explained. “The neighbours had called saying there was loud banging on the walls, and so (the police) attended the scene.”

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She evicted the tenant shortly after and said she was shocked by what she found at her property.

“There’s large sections of the walls that have been smashed. There’s large holes in the walls. All of the doors are missing,” she said.

“My stove is gone. They’ve painted the basement black. There’s paint spilled on the carpet upstairs. It’s very, very dirty.”

Campbell’s brother Curtis has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for some the damage.

“Things have been challenging for the last three years for our family,” Curtis said. “I want to do what I can to help her, and some things in life are beyond our own individual capacity.”

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In 2019, Curtis and Jennifer’s mom contracted necrotizing fasciitis — also called flesh-eating disease — prompting Jennifer to move into the family home to help care for her.

“She was in a coma for 11 days and she’s had extensive surgery — she almost lost her right arm,” Campbell said. “That’s why I rented (the property) out, and now I don’t have a home to come back to.”

Property management experts said depending on the insurance company, it could take some time before the damage is repaired.

“Depending on how bad the damage is, it could be three to four months,” said Steve Monteith with Century 21 Bravo Realty. “So that unit is just going to have to sit there and the owner has to front the lost revenue.”

Monteith said there are a number of details prospective landlords need to check before renting their property out.

“You want to look for people who have been in a place longer than a year, have multiple references, have been at a job for longer than three months,” he said. “You want to run a credit check and make sure they have renter’s insurance.

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“Once you put somebody into a property, they have a lot of rights and it’s costly when you have issues.”

Campbell said she can no longer locate her former tenant, making any kind of civil action difficult.

Now, even when the home is repaired, Campbell is unsure if she’ll move back in.

“There’s a bad feeling inside now,” she said.

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