A Toronto tenant recently convicted of defrauding two of her landlords by lying on her rental applications will serve six months in jail, according to a report by the Toronto Star.
Investigative reporters discovered the tenant had been evicted at least seven times.
The case revealed how difficult it is for landlords to uncover habitually bad tenants due to restrictions on the release of prior eviction information.
While a record is made of dispute resolution cases before the Landlord and Tenant Board, tenant names are protected.
However, other court documents, like appeals, do list tenant names.
Still, as the reporters proved, researching those court documents is a daunting task and may not be practical for individual landlords.
The woman’s landlords described a pattern of abuse, including charming her way into the various rental properties. She was accused of falsifying her employment history and suspected of using a relative as a reference.
Once in the property, the woman would point to maintenance concerns and then withhold rent payments, allegedly over those concerns. As each eviction was filed, the record indicates multiple continuances and appeals which allowed the woman to live rent-free for many months at a time, while the landlord was unable to recover the rental unit.
According to the report, the judge who handed down the jail sentence described it as a message that this conduct is unacceptable.
In addition to the jail sentence, the woman must complete a year’s probation and seek counselling. She intends to appeal, according to the report.
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).
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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.