I am taking my ex-landlord to small claims court. Since I shared a kitchen with him I cannot take him to the residential tenancy branch. I believe in addition to my damage deposit and prorated rent, he owes me additional money. One example was, he told me a previous tenant posed an imminent threat to the safety of the home, and that he needed help paying for a change of locks. I would like this money back now that I'm no longer living there. While I was living in the house, a current tenant in common told us not to allow the previous tenant (who was actually "kicked out" of the house) to reclaim his belongings. This led me to believe these people did not respect the law.

Is there any point in me contacting the past tenant (who allegedly never got all his belongings back) and seeing if he could help with my current claim? If I did try something like this, could it count against me as defamation? I am almost certain the previous person to get "kicked out" was also not evicted with due process. (My tenants in common and the landlord threatened, in writing, to remove my belongings and change the locks. I reported this to the police but they said there's little they could do until they actually did what they threatened to do. I didn't take the chance and moved out.)

When does it help getting more people on "your side" when taking a claim to court?

  • It's worth mentioning that if you had a landlord and thus have no ownership interest in the property, you did not have a tenancy in common / were not a tenant in common. Tenancy in common is when, say, several individuals have an individual, undivided ownership interest in the property.
    – A.fm.
    Jun 24, 2019 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


Truthfully telling another person that you are suing, or planning to sue, your former landlord is not defamation. Truthfully reporting what you yourself hav observed is not defamation either. In general, making truthful statements of fact, or clear statements of opinion is not defamation.

However, when you make speculative statements about thinks you do not know to be true, that may imply factual statements, there could be a claim of defamation if it turns out that those statements are not true. So it is well to be cautious in any speculation where you do not know what the facts really are.

The former tenant could be useful witness for you if that person had observed things that helped support your claim, and could and would testify to them. The more credible and reliable a person, the more useful a witness that person is likely to be. The issues which that person would testify to must be relevant to your claim -- unrelated things which simply imply that the former landlord is a "bad person" or even a law-breaker will probably not be admitted by the judge.

  • I am in the process of contacting individuals who may have had a similar experience with the same landlord. Most seem interested in getting involved. Is there anything I should be careful of in the sense of not affecting their opinion of him? For example I don't want the landlord to be able argue I told them what to say? Jul 6, 2019 at 20:43
  • For example can I say that I'm contacting other people as well and others have agreed to act as witnesses? Jul 6, 2019 at 20:48

When does it help getting more people on "your side" when taking a claim to court?

When relevant testimony given by credible witnesses reinforces your claims and/or serves to reflect your adversary's pattern of conduct in similar situations.

If I did try something like this, could it count against me as defamation?

Generally speaking, no. The mere pursuit or involvement of witnesses for current or upcoming litigation does not constitute defamation.

You would be liable for defamation, fraud, malicious prosecution, and/or other related torts only if you resorted to making materially false representations of facts for the sake of prompting another person to get involved in the proceedings.

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