B.C. Supreme Courthouse in New Westminster. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey tenant sues landlord over fence injury

Tenant claims he was hospitalized for three months; Landlord denies fence is his

It looks like a Surrey man who claims he was hospitalized for over three months after a couple panels of his landlord’s fence fell on him will have his day in court.

The landlord, who denies the fence is his, tried unsuccessfully on Sept. 19 to have the lawsuit against him dismissed, arguing there’s no genuine issue for trial.

“The burden is on the applicant to show that, despite the disputed facts, there is no genuine issue for trial,” Justice Palbinder Kaur Shergill noted in her Nov. 2 reasons for judgment.

“I find that the defendant has not met this high burden.”

Ranbir Lal Haror is suing his landlord, Sudarshan Rana, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. He claims that on Dec. 6, 2015 part of a fence fell on him while he was a tenant at 8071 134th St. in Newton, a property owned by Rana. The court heard Haror was renting a basement suite there, the entrance to which was located at the back of the property and accessed by using a sidewalk that runs alongside the suite.

The court heard the panels were part of a wooden fence that divided Rana’s property with a neighbouring property, located at 8057 134th St.

Haror claims he was walking on the sidewalk, a portion of which runs parallel to the fence, to get to his suite when the two fence panels suddenly fell on him.

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Haror told the court he required extensive rehabilitation and treatment. He launched a negligence claim against Rana on June 13, 2017, relying on the Occupiers Liability Act and the Residential Tenancy Act.

Rana filed a response to the civil claim on Aug. 1, 2017. Haror claims Rana breached duties he owed to him, his tenant, by not providing him with a “peaceful, uninterrupted, livable and safe environment to live in,” the judge noted, adding the plaintiff argues Rana “should have known or ought to have known that the fence was in a bad shape and there was a foreseeable risk of injury.”

In response, Rana told the court the fence was in the neighbour’s property and at no time was he responsible for the building, maintenance, repair or cost of replacing it. But Rana also argues that if the court determines the fence is part of his premises, which he denies, he took all reasonable steps to ensure Haror would be reasonably safe while using the property.

On Nov. 22, 2017 Master Ian Caldwell, at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, granted leave to Rana to file a Third Party Notice against Sanminder Uppal and Gurdev Kaur. “The defendant alleges that the Third Parties are the owners of the neighbouring property, that they own the fence, and that they are therefore liable for the plaintiff’s injuries,” Shergill noted. “There has been no response filed by the third parties.”

The judge noted that no examination for discovery dates have been scheduled nor have trial dates been set.

Shergill said that even if she were to accept Rana established the fence isn’t on his property, “there remains an issue as to whether he is nevertheless responsible for it.

“The plaintiff claims that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because the defendant had ‘responsibility for, and control over, the condition’ of the fence, regardless of whose property the fence was on. The defendant denies this allegation, but has not provided evidence to show that he is not responsible for the condition of the fence,” the judge pointed out.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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