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B.C. woman with terminal illness says she has been evicted due to frequent ambulance calls

Click to play video: 'Dying Nanaimo woman says she was evicted from apartment'
Dying Nanaimo woman says she was evicted from apartment
A Nanaimo woman who may only have months to live says she was evicted illegally by her landlord because he said her end-of-life treatment was too disruptive and generating complaints. Kylie Stanton reports – Mar 3, 2023

A woman in Nanaimo, B.C., says she has been evicted from her home with only a few months left to live.

Sharon Kowalchuk, who was recently declared palliative by her doctor, received an eviction notice of two weeks from her landlord.

“I’m dying,” she said. “My organs are shutting down slowly. I’m hoping not too quickly.”

Kowalchuk said she and her husband had been living at the south Nanaimo home for about six months but they are now staying in a hotel room.

She said Thursday that the landlord just threw them out and refused to take their rent for March.

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“He told us to ‘f’ off and to stop bothering him,” she told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Man speaks out about lack of  B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch power'
Man speaks out about lack of B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch power

On Wednesday night, Kowalchuk said the landlord cut the power to all the units upstairs, meaning it was freezing and she was unable to fill her oxygen tank.

She and her husband were also unable to cook anything and their food in the fridge and freezer spoiled.

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“It started over me calling ambulances,” Kowalchuk said. “Too many times.

“He came out two days later and told Gerry he was going to boot me out because I was calling too many ambulances and he was getting complaints.”

The couple was paying $1,050 for a room and shared a kitchen and bathroom with six other people.

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Global News reached out to the landlord but he declined an interview.

Kowalchuk’s husband, Gerry Casey, said the landlord told him he was calling too many ambulances. Casey said had to, due to his wife’s deteriorating health.

“I’m still in shock that he would do something like this,” Casey said. “I went back yesterday to get my work boots and he’d had the locks changed already, one of the doors was already boarded up. I just can’t believe someone would do something like that.”

He said he just wants to make his wife’s final months the best that he can.

“She’s a wonderful lady and she doesn’t deserve any of it.”

Click to play video: 'Wrongfully evicted tenant calls for changes to B.C. tenancy laws'
Wrongfully evicted tenant calls for changes to B.C. tenancy laws

Alex Martino, one of the directors at Risebridge, a local charity that helps people in the community find housing, is helping the couple file a tenancy dispute.

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“I’m trying to help them get resettled in a place that’s comfortable,” she told Global News.

B.C.’s Minister of Housing said it is aware of the situation and is now investigating.

“(Thursday) is when we first found out about it, and we had the compliance officer go in, talk to people, assess the situation and there’s an active investigation on it right now,” Ravi Kahlon confirmed.

A GoFundMe has now been started for the couple to raise money to replace some of their belongings and help find them a place to live.

AS of Friday afternoon, it had raised more than $23,000.

Martino said the community support has been amazing.

“Just because this one person is taking advantage of them, there’s, as you’ve seen, this whole community rallying behind them.”

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B.C. veteran living in his car talks about when all his possessions were stolen

Kowalchuk said she is very surprised by the reaction to her story.

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She said she is planning on suing the landlord and they want to be able to go back and retrieve their belongings.

She said she feels scared that she doesn’t know what is going to happen next.

“You just have to take it a day at a time, you know,” she added. “I didn’t expect to have to move out of my house and rearrange my whole life.”

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