Caesar Ruest, father of UW student Connor Ruest, warns that if Schembri decides to appeal the Landlord Tenant Board ruling (LTB), he’ll take the matter further and file for damages at small claims court.
After the LTB ordered Schembri to refund Connor Ruest’s $1,530 application fee and deposit, the property manager did in fact announce plans to appeal and fight the board’s ruling, on Nov. 4. In the wake of Schembri’s announcement, Ruest believes the property manager will fail to comply with the LTB’s order to pay back his daughter’s deposits in full. As a result, he fully expects to reintroduce damages to the small claims court, previously not granted by the LTB. “My first option would be if Schembri pays back the refund, I’ll stop here. If Schembri decides to appeal, I don’t think they’re going to get very far,” Ruest said. “I expect to go to small claims court because I don’t think they’re going to pay me.” Initially, Ruest admitted he was content with the LTB’s decision regarding his daughter’s application. “I’m pleased with the decision because they basically found and agreed with me [that] I was in the right, and the landlord was in the wrong,” Ruest said. Despite being pleased, he was disappointed by the fact the LTB differentiated him and his daughter, the tenant in the claim, when deciding whether or not to grant him the damages he filed to the board. “I’m pleased the landlord has been ordered to pay our deposits back, but I’m not 100 per cent pleased with the fact they didn’t grant us our damages,” Ruest said. He filed for damages worth $2,700 on expenses and time he spent on dealing with the matter. The claim for damages was not granted by the LTB because the board said his daughter is the tenant, not him. Both Ruest and Alex Diceneau, WPIRG co-ordinator of outreach and research centre, believe this case will set a precedent for similar future applications ruled by the LTB in connection with the Columbia One fiasco. “From what I’ve heard from our legal people is that it’s a pretty clear-cut case. The deposits should be returned,” Diceneau said. In co-operation with WPIRG, 53 students filed a claim to the LTB asking for a full refund of their deposits and $25,000 in damages — four months rent— as compensation for the situation. Diceneau said the group of 53 students also urged the LBT to levy the maximum fine of $100,000 for the “nature of the harassment.” Schembri was unable to comment by press time.