May 21st, 2013
There are lots of good tenants out there. We’ve also read about some not so good tenants. Here’s a story of Ontario landlords who faced challenging tenant problems and found the current system left a lot to be desired.
Part 1: I Guess We Were Naive
We’d been having issues with our tenant – or, more specifically, the boyfriend who had moved in with her after 8 months of relatively problem-free tenancy.
They were irked with us for having cancelled their fire permit due to our unwillingness to be responsible for paying fines for their insistence on having fires even during a total fire ban – and their response was to start piling up their garbage in the yard, rather than taking it to the curb.
We didn’t want to pay those fines either – so when the township by-law officer gave up on dealing with them directly and sent us a letter notifying us that we would be responsible for the cost of having a crew clean it up, we served them with an N5: clean it up or risk eviction.
She did make an attempt at cleaning, or rather re-organizing the mountains of trash, but he came home from his job and threw an almighty tantrum, not only undoing all of her attempt, but also ripping bags open and scattering dirty diapers from one end of the yard to the other.
So – my husband hired a helper and a truck and cleaned the yard, paying more than $200 in dump fees – and I completed the paperwork to evict. We didn’t serve it though, because when we went to speak to them about an outstanding portion of October’s rent and November’s rent, they gave notice. Insufficient notice – they said they would be out by the end of November, but since we were happy to see the back of them, I accepted it and agreed that we would apply their last month’s rent to November.
Problem solved, right? Did I mention naive?
On the 27th of November, my husband stopped by the house to let the tenants know that I had arranged a showing for the 29th. The woman was home, but had someone there and refused to speak to him beyond telling him to get lost (in not nearly such polite language).
I went down later in the day to find out what was going on, and she told me that they had not yet found a place that they could afford, and therefore “might” not be moving. Although not at all pleased with this development, I did clearly state the requirements necessary to continue their tenancy: they needed to make a decision by the next day and let me know, and they would be responsible to both pay rent for December and replace their last month’s rent.
Repeatedly, I told her, you MUST let me know by tomorrow if you want to stay – repeatedly she agreed. Right before I left, I again re-iterated that I needed to know by the following day, and that if I did not hear from her, I would assume that her tenancy would end on the 30th, and would proceed with the showing on the 29th. I also wrote a notice and left it with her – without retaining a copy.
Nothing from her on the 28th.
But when we showed up as per the notice on the 29th with prospective tenant in tow she had company – a foul-mouthed friend who spouted off at length about their “right” to stay and to not to pay any rent before she proceeded to threaten to sic her Rottweiler on us.
Calling the police accomplished little – because I did not have a copy of the notice, the officer refused to facilitate entry. He instead had me write another notice for the following day, which also included demand for a key to the front door, since they had changed the lock.
The next day, I met the officer there. The prospective tenant did not attend – can’t imagine why! There didn’t seem to be much point to entering, but the officer did serve her with the forms I had completed – a second N5, and an N4 for non-payment of rent.
She handed him a key – presumably for the front door, but in fact, a key that did not open any of the doors in the unit…
To Be Continued
To discuss this and other landlord and tenant issues go to the Ontario Landlords Association free landlord forum