For rent sign (Shutterstock)

A B.C. realtor who subleased a home without the owner's consent has been ordered to pay a disciplinary penalty of $25,000.

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia also ordered that Peter Dolecki's licence be suspended for a period of two months, during which he's also barred from "acting as an unlicensed assistant," according to a recent consent agreement.

Dolecki's behaviour dates back to 2016, when he and his wife began leasing a home in Surrey for $4,500 a month. The couple moved out in fall of that year, and Dolecki subleased to two new tenants – despite not having the homeowner's approval, as required by their tenancy agreement.

The RECBC also found Dolecki charged the new tenants an increased rent of $5,000 a month, plus a security deposit, and failed to deliver any of the money to the actual owner.

In addition, Dolecki admitted he identified himself as landlord of the property on the new renters' lease "without ensuring that the tenants understood that he was acting as landlord by sublease and was not the owner."

The new tenants' first whiff of trouble came when an eviction notice was posted at the home in early February 2017 indicating Dolecki was almost $30,000 behind in rent.

Dolecki took the notice and told them "not to worry and that he would sort it out," according to the consent agreement.

The tenants decided to contact another realtor representing the owner anyway. While they hoped to be able to continue living at the home, they were forced to vacate less than two weeks later. The locks were then changed and a "for sale" sign was posted on the lawn.

The evicted tenants filed a complaint against Dolecki shortly after, in March 2017, and he was found to have committed "conduct unbecoming."

Disciplinary documents show that Dolecki, who had no prior disciplinary record with the Real Estate Council, gave the couple their $2,500 security deposit back and another $2,500 as a partial reimbursement for February's rent.

In his defence, Dolecki told the council he had tried to reach the owner, who lived overseas, personally and through a representative before subleasing the home, but was unsuccessful.

He also said he had an agreement with the owner that he would be reimbursed for repairs and maintenance at the property, and was owed "an amount that was close to or substantially equivalent to the amount of alleged arrears."

The owner had not sued Dolecki for unpaid rent as of the November 2020 decision.

On top of his $25,000 penalty and suspension, the realtor was ordered to pay $1,500 in council expenses and complete a remedial education course at UBC's Sauder School of Business.