A White Rock real estate agent, who sublet his rented home without permission and kept the money for himself, was fined $25,000 and faced suspension by the Real Estate Council of BC.
In a consent order published Jan. 6, which outlined the penalties and the reasoning behind them, Peter Christopher Dolecki and the council agree that on Jan. 17, 2016, Dolecki and his wife signed a 12-month lease for a home located on 162 Street in Surrey for a monthly rent of $4,500.
In the fall of that year, Dolecki moved to a different rental home in White Rock. After he moved out, Dolecki listed on Craigslist the Surrey property he rented for $5,000 per month – $500 more than his lease for the property.
Dolecki told the council he attempted to get permission from the property owner to sublet the home, who lived overseas, but was unable to connect with him or his local representative.
In October 2016, a couple from the U.S., who were relocating to Surrey, inquired about the listing and viewed the property, with Dolecki, in November of that year.
The consent order says the future tenants noticed Dolecki’s white pick-up truck at the site, which advertised his name and brokerage information.
“The Tenants state that from their interactions with Mr. Dolecki at the viewing, they were under the impression that Mr. Dolecki was the owner of the property,” the consent order states.
While Dolecki told council that he never told the future tenants he was the owner of the property, he said he did refer to the property as an investment property.
Dolecki prepared a residential tenancy agreement Nov. 6, 2016 for the new tenants, where he identified himself as the landlord.
“He admits that he did not ensure that the Tenants understood he was acting as landlord in a sublease arrangement and was not the owner of the property,” the order states.
On Nov. 14, 2016, the tenants paid Dolecki a $2,500 security deposit, and on Nov. 21 the tenants paid Dolecki $5,000 for December’s rent. Then on Dec. 14, 2016 the tenants paid Dolecki $2,927 for January’s rent. By agreement, Dolecki had reduced the monthly rent for that month due to cost of repairs the renters had to undertake.
And on Jan. 21, 2017, the tenants paid Dolecki $5,000 for February’s rent.
However, after collecting more than $15,000 for rent and a deposit from the new renters, Dolecki kept the money for himself.
Nine days after the tenants paid $5,000 for February’s rent to Dolecki, the tenants discovered a “10 Day Notice to End Tenancy for Unpaid Rent of Utilities” form taped to the front door of the property. The eviction notice stated that Dolecki was in arrears of rent payments in the amount of $29,250 and was required to vacate the premises by Feb. 10, 2017.
The tenants contact Dolecki about the notice, and he told them to “not worry and that he would sort it out.”
The tenants then contacted the issuer of the eviction noticed and at that point learned that Dolecki was the registered tenant, not owner, of the property.
The tenants moved out of the property by Feb. 10, 2017 and the house was put up for sale and subsequently sold. Dolecki paid the tenants $2,500 for the security deposit, and an additional $2,500 representing partial reimbursement for the February rent.
Dolecki told the council that when he initially rented the 162 Street home, he had an agreement with the property owner that he would be reimbursed by way of either direct payment or rent reduction for repairs and maintenance he undertook on the property. Dolecki told council he was owed for repairs and maintenance to the property for an amount that was close to or substantially equivalent to the $29,250 in which he owed for rent.
The landlord has not currently pursued Dolecki for the alleged arrears owing.
The consent order found Dolecki committed conduct “unbecoming” of a licensee when he leased the property without obtaining permission from the property owner; prepared a residential tenancy agreement in which he identified himself as the landlord; received payments from the tenants, in the form of security deposit and rent, and did not deliver those payments to the owner of the property.
Dolecki had his licence suspended for two months and was prohibited from acting as an unlicensed assistant during the suspension; he was ordered to pay a discipline penalty to the council of $25,000; and, at his own expense, register for and complete the Trading Services Remedial Education Course provided by the Saunder School of Business at UBC.
Dolecki was also order to pay enforcement expenses to the council of $1,500.