British Columbia resident ordered to pay for destroying neighbour’s property

British Columbia resident ordered to pay for destroying neighbour’s property

The resident was eventually evicted.

The British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a woman to pay $3,360 to her ex-neighbour for destroying a landing, stairs and fence he had installed on the outside of his mobile home.

Alexander Munro sought $5,000 in damages for the cost of replacing the improvements and for the risk to his family caused by their removal. Shelley Bolster argued that the improvements were on her property and were poorly maintained.

“I infer that she is claiming that she had a right to remove them,” tribunal member Christopher Rivers said in a June 28 decision. “She is asking me to dismiss the applicant’s claim.”

Both parties owned mobile homes and rented cottages from the park.

Photos filed with the court showed a small staircase with railings and a fence separating Munro’s lot from Bolster’s. Bolster claimed the previous owner built the improvements in 2008 and asked her permission. However, the court found no evidence that such permission was required.

The park manager stated that the lease includes three feet of land around each mobile home. While many tenants share this space, some fence it off, the ruling said.

The mobile home park owner confirmed that Bolster rented additional space up to 3.5 feet from Munro’s mobile home. Bolster did not dispute the location of the improvements, but claimed she rented the property up to Munro’s home. The court found no evidence to support her claim.

On April 5, 2023, Bolster removed the improvements and discarded the materials. Munro discovered this on April 7.

Bolster said she only gave the previous owner permission to build the improvements for emergency exit use. She told the court she removed the improvements because “they were on her leased property, were poorly maintained, and were being used for reasons other than emergencies.”

On April 17, the park warden marked the boundary around Munro’s house and 11 days later began building a new staircase.

He said his insurance required him to have a second exit from the mobile home. However, when he was measuring for work, Bolster and her partner confronted Munro, the ruling said.

Munro “stopped planning the improvements”

Instead, the park built a temporary rear staircase and landing for Munro.

Ultimately, the park petitioned the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) for an order evicting Bolster, which was granted on September 21, 2023.

“The RTB cited the damage the defendant caused to the applicant’s property as a reason, along with the defendant’s physical aggression and verbal abuse,” Rivers said.

Munro was quoted $3,360 to replace the improvements, which the court found reasonable. Bolster’s claim that the original construction cost was less than $100 was not supported by the evidence.

The court ordered Bolster to pay Munro $3,360 for the destroyed goods.