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Surrey renter loses ‘no pets allowed’ case in B.C. Supreme Court

‘A barking dog is very unlikely to have the qualities required by a guide or service dog,’ judge concludes
Statue of Lady Justice in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

A Surrey renter who sought to have a Residential Tenancy Branch and Order of Possession overturned after being evicted on a “no pets allowed” rule has lost his case in B.C. Supreme Court.

Steve Green rented a home in Newton with his wife and elderly mother. Surjit Kooner is the owner and landlord. An RTB arbitrator in 2023 decided Kooner was entitled to an order of possession of the premises that came into effect two days after it was served, which Green argued was unfair.

Justice Kenneth Ball noted in his reasons for judgment, delivered May 29 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, that Kooner’s agent in 2022 sent Green a “caution” letter concerning a breach of the tenancy agreement for having a “very large dog” that had been barking and “causing an ongoing disturbance in the neighbourhood.” It also alleged the locks to the residence had been changed and the landlord wasn’t provided with a key.

The agent warned Green that to avoid eviction he had to immediately find a new home for the dog and by month’s end had to provide Kooner with a key. A second letter was sent concerning a pet cat.

The agent filed a One Month Notice to End Tenancy for Cause with the RTB. In response, Green filed a Tenant Request to Amend a Dispute Resolution Application which in the end was dismissed. He then applied for a review of that decision by the court, claiming the dog was a “registered and protected service pet.”

“In the testimony of an agent for Mr. Kooner, a number of complaints had been reported by the City of Surrey to the agent that a dog at the premises was constantly barking,” Ball noted. “I would note that common sense indicates a constantly barking dog is very unlikely to have the qualities required by a guide or service dog.”

“I am unable to conclude the arbitrator acted unfairly or that his decision was patently unreasonable such that a remedy is available to Mr. Green,” the judge concluded. “Therefore, the present application is dismissed.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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