Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia
June 21, 2019

Vancouver renter - and her dogs - caught in battle with landlord unwilling to enforce her building’s no smoking policy

Quille Kaddon lives in a Downtown Vancouver rental building on Comox Street. Since Kaddon began living there in 2011, the building has had a 100% no-smoking policy. Regardless of the policy, several tenants smoke and it appears the landlord is willing to do little if anything about it.

Under existing BC tenancy laws, any tenant who rents a suite in a building before a no smoking policy is established is ‘grandfathered’ and thus permitted to smoke until he or she moves out. The no-smoking policy will however apply to the next renter.

Kaddon assumes the live-in building-manager's tenancy pre-dates the policy’s creation because her husband smokes heavily.

She has asked if the landlord could please enforce the policy with all non-grandfathered tenants to which the policy applies, but no action is ever taken.  Kaddon also tried to get help from the property management firm who employ the building management, but to no avail. Next, she attempted to reach the building owner, but they live overseas and are unreachable.

“The property managers are unconcerned, and let the building manager enforce whatever policies, when and where she pleases,” said Kaddon. All the while her lung health is deteriorating, due largely - in her and her doctor’s view -  to the constant exposure to second-hand smoke.

In 2014, just three years after moving into the building, Kaddon began suffering from serious breathing problems.  With no prior history of respiratory diseases, today she has diagnosed acute asthma, a collapsed lung, lung disease and is working with a respirologist at St. Paul’s Hospital to address additional yet undiagnosed breathing issues. Her respiratory difficulties have become so severe she can no longer work full-time. And, to makes things worse, her landlord is actively working to evict her, “She refuses to address the issue of second-hand smoke but spends a lot of time making up fictitious reasons to kick me out.”

“The first time she tried to evict me it was because my rent was a few days late. The second time I received an eviction because of my therapy dog Vita, who had already been living with me for over 2 years. And, now once again, because of hosting 2 small therapy dogs in training,” she said.

Quille lives in a building which has a no pet policy but where pets have always been tolerated. The management often had dogs in the building and various tenants continue to live with both dogs and cats.

“Each time I’ve had to attend a hearing with the Residential Tenancy Branch and defend my right to remain in my building. And each time I’ve won,” she continued.

On July 16th Kaddon will attend her third hearing in so many years to fight for her right to stay, “I have no choice really. Rental apartments are so hard to find at a price I can afford and that accept pets.”

A Therapy Dog Trainer by profession, Kaddon has three French bulldogs, two of which are in training to replace her elder Therapy Dog who is soon to retire. Known to reduce stress and provide a sense of connection to people in difficult situations, Therapy Dogs are not covered or protected under BC laws in the same way as Guide or Service Dogs. Rather, they are highly trained and certified and have access rights to individual facilities for therapeutic reasons.

Kaddon said her dogs are impacted by the second-hand smoke as well, “They have serious breathing problems. I recently had one operated on. The other two are also scheduled for operations over the next few weeks. All these operations are costing me a fortune."

"Wouldn't it be better to ban smokers from smoking indoors rather than continuing to jeopardize everyone's health and the health of our children and pets?" she added.

 

Media Contacts
  • Katrina van Bylandt
    Director, Communications
    BC Lung Association
    Text or call 778.772.4788

    Jack Boomer
    Director, Clean Air Coalition of BC
    T 250 721 4268
    C 250 589 4268
    jackboomer@shaw.ca