Sunday, 3 February 2013

Legalized Theft

Legalized theft – while I am willing to concede that this is not the actual intent of Landlord & Tenant Board Legislation in Ontario, this is, in fact, the reality. The system is broken.  

If someone books a hotel room, pays for one night, and then the next day, refuses to either pay or leave, are they permitted to stay there for months on end, continuing to pay nothing, while enjoying all the amenities that the hotel has to offer? Of course not. The hotel calls the police, and the person is ejected, and quite possibly charged.

And yet, when my tenants give notice that they will be moving out at the end of the month and then fail to leave, what happens? Absolutely nothing.

Not only am I unable to have the police assist me to eject those who are now stealing from me, they are able to call the police and any number of other community agencies, all of whom insist that I, as a landlord, am required to continue to provide my now ex-tenants with the amenities to which they were entitled while paying rent, and, as if that weren’t enough, they also continue to be entitled to the “enjoyment” of “their” home.

I was able to get an ex parte eviction order, after paying the $170 fee to do so, of course – unfortunately, the Sheriff, in Ontario, is the only one that can legally evict the tenant and they don’t seem to be the least bit interested in actually doing their jobs. Certainly not during the month of December, in any case…. They’ll get to it when they get to it. I had thought perhaps it was simply the Barrie Sheriff’s office which couldn’t be bothered, but a simple Google search shows that this is a common issue throughout the province.

Weeks pass…during which the tenants figure out how to file for a stay of the eviction order. So now I’ve paid $170 for the order which is stayed, plus $401 for the eviction which never happens, and of course, I must continue to pay all of the tenants’ utilities, and ensure that they have heat and water and hydro. Oh, and another $170 for an order re: the outstanding rent and damages.

Makes no never mind at all that they have not paid a single cent since a partial payment in October, or that they gave notice for the end of November, or that they are running around town bragging about how they’re getting away with screwing us over. Nobody cares that our Christmas was ruined and that we don’t have money to pay our own bills – just as long as we keep paying the bills for the tenants.

They demand that we repair the appliances they destroyed, the wall they ripped out, the patio door they demolished – and when we do make repairs, they immediately trash everything again. We, on the other hand, are told by police that we may no longer use our own basement unit because our running of the vacuum cleaner downstairs interferes with their enjoyment.

Seriously?! How is this in any way reasonable?

Perhaps we should just unlock the doors to the basement unit and let them have that too, since we can’t use it?

Maybe we should just sign over the deed – at least that way we wouldn’t have to keep paying for the insurance, taxes and utilities.

At any rate, eventually we do have the hearing. The instructions say that one must sign in by 9 am, and provide 3 copies of any evidence to be offered, and we do that. She, on the other hand, does not, turning up several minutes into the proceedings of our case. The hearing goes reasonably well – or so I thought. Turns out, not so much.

The adjudicator ruled that the male of the couple – the one that actually works, from whom we might eventually be able to garnishee wages to recoup some of the now $5000 and rising we have lost – is not a tenant of the unit. Had he mentioned that he was considering this, I would have had the opportunity to address the issue, and provide my evidence to the contrary. But this, apparently, was a secret. Not only that, even though the adjudicator found that my affidavit as to having received notice for the end of November was credible, and her denial was not, he decided that due to her circumstances it was “not unfair” to permit her extra time. So he extended her totally free tenancy to on or after 16 February.

How very charitable of him.

Toss out our only chance of repayment without so much as a discussion – and then decide that they should remain in the unit, on our dime, for an extra month.

Plus, of course, whatever time it takes the Sheriff to actually do his job this time; a minimum, they tell me, of 5 days, but probably longer.

So -  a partial payment of rent in October, and then not a cent more, and we’re on the hook until basically the end of February. But not to worry, we’ll get “an order”, which thanks to the oh so charitable adjudicator, is not even worth the stamp they used to mail it. To add insult to injury, after all this, they even get credit for their last month's rent - so what is the point of even collecting that?

But hey, I can spend another $50 to ask for a review of the decision.

And even if John is not added back onto the order, I can spend another couple of hundred dollars to enter my order against Christine in Small Claims Court. Perhaps someday she might actually get a job that I could garnishee. Not likely – and how would I ever find out about it? 

And in the meantime, they continue squatting in our house – now with heaters and other appliances running nonstop from every plug, and the windows wide open. And there is not a blessed thing we can do about it. I did call the OPP to ask for assistance with this, but it’s been 5+ hours now and they haven’t bothered to call me back.

Because nobody cares if deadbeats steal from landlords in Ontario.

The system is a complete and utter joke.

It is a disgrace.

OK, now THAT is just funny. I just called the OPP again ... guy asked the address, and said "Is this ------?"  Apparently she called them too - presumably to whine that I yelled at J about having a lot of nerve to be so rude to me when they are the ones who have stolen more than $6,000 from us, and that I slammed the door when I left.  Newsflash - even though you've changed the lock and refused to give us a key, it is still our door, in our house. I have a heck of a lot more right to slam the door than she does.

Or I should have, if this wasn't Ontario, where tenants have all the rights, and landlords have none at all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Respectful comments welcome - others will be removed.