The first problem Wes Burden noticed at his Spallumcheen four-bedroom, two-bath rental home was water on the basement ceiling.
That would become part of Burden’s burden.
Burden’s tenants of 10 years, given a two-month eviction notice in March, bolted from the rental home in the middle of the night but not before essentially trashing the entire home.
“I had to fill out paperwork because you’re not allowed to just enter the home, you have to give the tenants written notice that you want to come in,” said Burden, a retired saw filer, on Monday, April 12. He rented the upstairs portion to the tenants who were allowed by Burden to use the basement for storage, and said he conducted home inspections quarterly.
“When I saw the water on the ceiling in the basement, that’s when I went to get the keys and go in.”
Upstairs, Burden found every room “stacked to the ceiling with junk” and the tenants gone. Toilets were overflowing or plugged with feces and toilet paper and a five-gallon bucket had also been used as a toilet.
Animal feces were also found in the home.
The tenants had a couple of dogs and an unknown number of cats. The dogs and cats have been relocated to different facilities and are being cared for. One person who saw the rental home said the house “wasn’t fit for any animal,” and was stupified by what he had seen.
Plastic water bottles were laying on the floor, as were plastic bags and cat litter bags. Boxes were everywhere. Food was strewn about. Toiletries were left behind on and in a bathroom sink.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Burden.
Clean up to date has cost Burden an estimated $4,000, and he’s looking at anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000 to fix the house.
“I have to replace two rooms, tear up the floors and walls and sanitize it,” he said.
Burden had wanted to evict the tenants in 2020 but decided against it because of the pandemic.
Admitting that he and the tenants had some ups and downs over the nearly 10-years of them staying at his home, Burden gave them notice in March.
After he fixes the home, Burden said he will become more diligent as a landlord.
He’ll be more selective in who he chooses to rent the home, he said, and will do comprehensive background and reference checks. He plans to take a larger damage deposit and be more active in walking through the home.
“I’ve never had this problem before,” said Burden. “But this does make me scared.”