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VANCOUVER — A Victoria man is fighting eviction from his subsidized housing unit after a couple was seen engaged in oral sex on his patio.
Steven Beryl Bristow, 54, has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court claiming that the landlord was wrong to give him a notice of eviction after the alleged incident on March 25.
The landlord, the Greater Victoria Housing Society, said that the resident caretaker of the building at 2993 Tillicum Rd. was posting notices on all of the tenants’ doors regarding a repair issue when he observed a man and a woman performing oral sex.
The landlord said the sex act was fully visible to anyone in the complex, a family-oriented property whose residents include children and seniors.
“I was so shocked I said nothing,” the caretaker said of the incident, in a report he filed.
The case went to the residential tenancy branch, which sided with the society, a charity that provides affordable rental housing in Greater Victoria, including Bristow’s unit.
An arbitrator for the branch did not believe Bristow’s testimony that he was unaware of the sex act, and dismissed his application requesting cancellation of the eviction notice, a decision that is being challenged by the petition.
Bristow, a single father who has a limited income consisting mainly of disability benefits, says that he was inside the unit but claims that he had neither seen nor heard the incident.
Furthermore, the man and woman involved were not his guests and were likely two transient bottle-collectors who frequented the area and collected bottles from the residents, he said, adding that both the man and woman were intoxicated.
Bristow, who has lived in the building with his son for the past 10 years, says he spent two weeks investigating who the couple were so that they could be officially banned from the building’s property.
He says that he was subsequently told that the couple were already banned, that he told the building’s director of property management and that the director told him to disregard the eviction notice as the problem had been solved.
Kaye Melliship, executive director of the Greater Victoria Housing Society, said that Bristow is entitled to seek a different outcome in the courts but added that the society will defend its decision.
“We wouldn’t have pursued it if we didn’t believe we should,” she said Monday. “We’re not frivolous about these things and the residential tenancy branch did rule in our favour.”
She said the tenancy branch is a “good dispute resolution process” and “as a landlord and as tenants, you typically can rely on it.”