Pandemic orders sparking more landlord-tenant disputes, says Princeton RCMP

Princeton RCMP are fielding an increasing number of calls about landlord and tenant disputes.

“Almost all of them, and there have been several, are about evictions or attempted evictions for various reasons,” said Sgt. Rob Hughes, detachment commander.

However, police do not have jurisdiction to enforce civil, as opposed to criminal, trespasses.

“Landlord tenant issues are not police matters. Because all of us who work here also live here, and we have a sense of loyalty to the community, we do our best to resolve matters before they blow up.”

“It’s frustrating,” added Hughes.

“Every situation is different, and what we are trying to do is to resolve the conflicts and then try to mediate.”

On March 30, the provincial government issued an order putting a halt to most evictions, in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Hughes said people need to direct their concerns to the provincial agency that governs the decisions.

“As soon as you start to have a problem with a tenant or a landlord, you need to start a case through the Residential Tenancy Branch.”

The time to call police is when there may be criminal activity to investigate.

“If there are threats of violence or violence, then yes, call the police. If it’s not clear, call us and ask.”

Related: ‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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