A New Westminster man has 10 days to get out of his apartment after what he calls a “personal vendetta” against his two-year-old.
Matt Astifan, who lives in a family-friendly apartment with his partner, Mary, and his son, Marcus, is frustrated with a Rental Tenancy Board decision allowing eviction for the noise made by the young boy.
In a Facebook post on Jan.21, Astifan says the issue started on in January 2018, after management complained their toddler was running in the hallways at night to “burn off his energy” before bed.
Astifan says they stopped letting Marcus run outside their apartment.
Nine days later, Astifan’s downstairs neighbour complained about “ridiculous” noise.
In a letter from management, the neighbour noted “stomping with shoes, dragging of things (toys) across the floor, continual running… and banging that disrupts us every single day and into the late evenings.”
Astifan says management seemed somewhat sympathetic, and he added rugs in the unit, kept shoes off inside, and didn’t allow playing with toy cars on the hardwood floor.
In July, a new set of downstairs neighbours complained about Marcus running around late at night.
“Why a three-year-old is up and running around past 9:30 p.m. is beyond me, but as these are the second neighbours bringing up this issue. You’ll need to find a solution,” Shoreline Building Manager Serge Rondeau wrote in an email to Astifan, which he provides access to in the Facebook post.
“I will be issuing written notices from now on, and it’s not because you guys are not good tenants, as you are, but because I need to do what I can to make new tenants comfortable.”
Astifan says he told Rondeau not to expect any significant changes “since there isn’t much more we can do about it.”
His partner, Mary, wrote a letter saying the family does not want to escalate, but that under the Residential Tenancy Act, children have the right to make a reasonable amount of noise.
“We have the right not to be harassed and threatened with eviction and notices for regular child noise like walking, trotting, playing and running,” she said.
“We try to put him on schedule and sleep before 8 but yes, [toddlers] do stay up after 9:30 sometimes because he is not a robot, he has tantrums, moods and sometimes refuses to sleep.”
Noise complaints and written notices continued until Nov. 27, when management sent an eviction notice requesting Astifan and his family move out by Jan. 31.
“We have been targeted and harassed by the building managers for months now, through their abuse of power as our property managers, they are trying to force us out of our home,” Astifan wrote.
“They have ignored our complaints regarding the tenant below us banging on his ceiling, screaming at me from his patio and smoking on his patio, while taking massive action against our family to the point of this unsubstantiated eviction notice.”
Astifan appealed the notice with the Residential Tenancy Branch, which found the landlords have made every reasonable attempt to resolve the issue and could evict the family.
“The landlords in this matter have other families living in the building, which have not been evicted for children playing,” wrote arbitrator A. Wood in their Jan. 21 decision.
“The landlords have relocated a previous occupant due to the ongoing noise from the tenant’s rental unit and have even offered the tenant living accommodation more suitable for the tenant’s family, which was not accepted by the tenant.”
Astifan cannot appeal the decision.
A request for comment from the apartment management company has not yet been returned.