May 23, 2012
A True “Tenant from Hell”
A couple of weeks ago Star reporter Emily Mathieu wrote an article about a “Tenant from Hell” named Nina Willis.
It really was one of the best mainstream media stories about the rental industry published in years. Thanks Emily! You have lots of fans across Ontario!
One of the landlords in the story who had been victimized by Nina Willis joined the Ontario Landlords Association to receive help. Virginia received the help she needed and managed to get Willis to move!
Here’s the scam. Nina Willis passes herself off as a wonderful tenant, friendly, well-spoken, clean as hell and comes with glowing references, according to her many previous landlords.
Once inside the games begin. She starts by failing to pay rent, or pays only portions, and uses board rules that allow her to raise maintenance issues with absolutely no warning to delay the process and appeals her eviction orders.
Nina has duped landlord after landlord into renting to her. The Star found that provincial privacy legislation stopped small landlords from learning that she had a crazy record before at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
It’s Great That Nina is Finally Evicted and Her Last Landlord Can Try to Recover and Re-coup His Losses
Who said she’s been evicted?
Many small landlords praise Vincent Ching as one of the most professional and fair adjudicators at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Last month board adjudicator Ching said he failed to find Willis “credible in any way” and said that if she didn’t pay what she owed by the she would be evicted.
The problem is Mr. Ching’s word is not the final verdict.
You Mean Nina Willis Still Hasn’t Been Evicted?!
She’s still in the rental property of her current landlord. Can you imagine the stress the landlord feels?
How Did She Manage to Stay?
A tenant from hell (Nina Willis) with a track record of bounced cheques and eviction notices has done it again. She staved off eviction with an appeal to Divisional Court. Court records and interviews with past landlords, lawyers and paralegals confirm tenant Nina Willis, 48, has been ordered out of at least six homes since 2005. However, the Landlord and Tenant Board says it cannot release her record of many appearances before the board.
Last week Willis filed a notice of appeal to Divisional Court, announcing she intended to fight the most recent eviction ruling, this one from Landlord and Tenant Board adjudicator Vincent Ching.
By submitting the paperwork Willis’s eviction from a Don Mills home — scheduled for the end of the month — was (Get This!) automatically put on hold.
Willis has been living inside a home in Don Mills since August 2011, failing to pay rent to landlord Darius Vakili for many of those months.
In her court pleadings, Willis is asking for a new hearing, alleging the board ordered her out because of a factual “error” and she didn’t have an “opportunity to participate” in her hearing.
Willis has asked for an opportunity to present “oral evidence” heard at the board. She will have to order a CD of the hearing, which will need to be transcribed by a court reporter.
Once the transcript is ready she will have two months to assemble and file her documents before a date will be set, according to appeal guidelines from Divisional Court.
What Does the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Have to Say About This?
The Landlord and Tenant Board has declined to comment further on Willis’s case or board procedures.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has defined the board as an “independent, quasi-judicial, arm’s-length body that sets its own procedures” and said questions about practices should be directed to it.
Ministry spokesperson Richard Stromberg said in an email that because the appeal was before the courts it would be “inappropriate” to comment.
Is the Ontario System Really This Out of Touch With Reality? How Can the Landlord Survive Financially?
Sadly, yes. The entire system governing the Ontario rental industry is broken. Nina Willis is just one of many tenants who use the current system to punish landlords.
Things Need to Change. And Fast!
Landlords need access to any previous cases involving tenants. The Landlord and Tenant Board must become more efficient. The Residential Tenancy Act needs to change.
It’s very risky to become a landlord in Ontario in 2012. If you decide to do so, screening is key. Or invest elsewhere where you you and your investment is appreciated.
Discuss this on the Ontario Landlords Advice forums here.