Judge Slams Landlord Tenant Rules After Eviction From Hell

by Chris on September 10, 2012

A Superior Court Justice in Ontario had strong words for the Provincial Government and the Landlord and Tenant Board after presiding over an outrageous case of tenant abuse.

“My recent experience sitting as a single judge of this Court to hear motions has convinced me that there is a growing practice by unscrupulous residential tenants to manipulate the law improperly, and often dishonestly, to enable them to remain in their rented premises for long periods of time without having to pay rent to their landlords. It is a practice that imposes an unfair hardship on landlords and reflects badly on the civil justice system in Ontario. It calls for the Government, the Landlord and Tenant Board and this Court to respond,” he begins.

“I have chosen this case, which is one of many similar cases that came before me during a five-day period hearing motions, as an example of the problem that I describe. I could easily have chosen many others,” he continues.

The case was brought before the judge by a professional tenant who managed to live in a $3,600 a month apartment for nine months without paying rent.

The tenant’s first act of deception was to provide a cheque to the landlord to pay the arrears owed after an eviction was filed.  The case was dismissed by the Board, just before the landlord received notice that the cheque had been stopped.

A second eviction ended in a similar fashion. Due to scheduling delays, the case could not be heard until five weeks after the filing. The tenant agreed to pay the arrears subject to a consent order. The second cheque bounced. The eviction order was issued pursuant to the consent decree.  However, the rules provide that the tenant can ask the Landlord and Tenant Board to void an eviction order without notice to the landlord in the event the tenant pays.  Here, the tenant showed the Board the second cheque, and the order was voided without the landlord’s knowledge.

The landlord was then forced to go back to the Board to overturn that order, arguing that the tenant intentionally deceived the Board because he knew at the time he did not have sufficient funds to cover the cheque.

After the landlord finally obtained an eviction order, the tenant appealed to the Superior Court.  At the time of the appeal, the tenant owed about $25,000 in unpaid rent, and remained in the property.  The landlord had incurred costs of over $13,000 in legal fees, costs and returned cheque charges.  The landlord told the justice that this was her first and only investment, and if she can’t obtain an eviction, she will be ruined financially.

The landlord discovered after the fact that the tenant had done the same thing to a previous landlord.  There is reason to suspect that the tenant has insufficient assets to pay the money he owes the landlord.

One issue that the tenant raised on appeal was that the lease referenced his corporation.  He attempted to use that fact to argue that the notices for the eviction were defective because the corporation was not named as a tenant.  The judge disregarded this argument.

In fact, the judge found that the tenant “raised no bona fide questions of law”, and that the appeal was “totally devoid of merit, vexatious and an abuse of the process.”

The justice concludes the written opinion by calling upon the legislature and administrators to change the rules. “It is my hope that those in a position to amend the Rules of this Court will consider this judgment and see fit to restrict the right of appeal in residential landlord and tenant cases and, perhaps, require that leave to appeal be obtained before appeals can be brought.”

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

P:atricia M. Sakaluk September 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I wish I had found your site in June 2012. It sure would have help me. I think the above article is great. I feel many landlords are being abuse by tenants. The documentation that the landlord and tenant board provide is very outdated. It would be helpful if the documents would state that all fields indicated with a star must be fill in. It would also be helpful if the landlord and tenant csr would identify themselves when answering phone calls.


Gerald September 12, 2012 at 5:17 am

Thank goodness for TVS, we landlords finally have a site that adresses our issues. Way too may supposedly objective “landlord/tenant” websites are actually aimed more towards tenants, and the advice and warnings they give about unscrupulous landlords are so biased, and the criticisms they have towards landlords are so unfounded that it’s a wonder any honest landlord can make a go if it.
One former tenant reminds me of the character described in this article. He was part of a trio who had rented my three-bedroom apartment, and six months into the tenancy he had lost his job and had issues with paying his portion. He offered to do work around the place to pay off what he owed, but he got a little lazy and greedy and asked for too many concessions. He managed to make some payments, but by the end of the year lease he still owed four months worth of rent. He had decided to move, as he was by year’s end the only tenant, and he needed to move quickly to his new apartment, within ten days (so much for two months notice) . I’m still floored at his final request: he had the audacity to ask that I refund him his last month’s deposit! I refused, stating that I should use it towards what he owed me, and in fact,i actually had spent the money, I needed to, he was behind in rent! We had been making this discussion during a set of email exchanges while I was at work, and after my email of refusal to reimburse there was dead silence from him online. I assumed that I had made my point. No, he fired back later on with a huge email citing all manner of violations I had committed, all which were unfounded, and stated that a final month’s deposit is supposed to be held in trust, and that I should have kept him apprised of how much he owed me, and he threatened to have a building inspector come in. By then I had had enough, and I did not wish to have a record of complaint lodged against me, even if it was unfounded, and I pulled money out of my savings to reimburse him and him the hell out of my place. What infuriates me the most is that he had enough time and smarts to investigate how I was supposedly screwing him over, yet he couldn’t haul his butt out and get another job to start paying me back.

I’m taking a break from the whole landlord business right now, it’s no financial hardhip for me really, so few of the losers I’ve rented to have been able to keep up with paying anyways, something else more fincially pressing always seems to pop up…

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