Posts Tagged ‘credit checks’

Tenant from Hell Launches Appeal to Stop Eviction

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

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.

A Warning For All Landlords in Ontario

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

May 5th, 2012

Tenant Nina Willis, 48, faces two fraud and two forgery charges in relation to her tenancy at a Toronto landlord’s house.

The Story about the latest “Tenant From Hell” begins

It seem like the beginning of a mystery novel.  Unfortunately it isn’t fiction.  It isn’t a novel.  And it isn’t a mystery.

“Nina Willis seemed like the ideal tenant” says the Toronto Star investigation.

The investigation goes on.

“She was well-spoken and tidy, posing as an employee for a cellphone company with offices in Toronto and Montreal. She came with glowing references.”

Here comes the surprise.

“What landlord Darius Vakili, 63, didn’t know was that the 48-year-old Willis was a tenant from hell, with a track record of bounced cheques and eviction notices.”

The Story Continues, Implicating the System Landlords Face in Ontario

“A Star investigation reveals that the rules governing the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board have allowed people like Willis to flourish. Privacy legislation means her dodgy past as a tenant is kept secret from prospective landlords.”

Thank you Toronto Star

The Ontario Landlords Association would like to thank the Toronto Star for their story on the latest “Tenant From Hell.”

We are an association of small private residential landlords, and while many of us have faced terrible tenant problems due to an unfair Residential Tenancy Act and an unfair Landlord and Tenant Board, facing tenants such as the one in the Toronto Star article is a wake-up call for all of us.

The OLA Speaks Up for Landlords

This story is especially important for the OLA because one of the landlords in the article is a new reader of the OLA.

Furthermore, when we first heard about what was going on, OLA editors worked hard to get the story in the news and get the ball rolling for justice.

The OLA began the push to get her story into the media, resulting in a Toronto Star story on October 18th, 2011.  The Star story was headlined

“A bad tenant cost me $28,000 over 9 months!” and can be found here.

So What Can We Learn From This?

There are lessons we can learn from the Toronto Star story about Nina Willis.  Lessons that landlords can learn, unfiltered by lawyers or paralegals or others who make money representing landlords in need.  If there is no “need” there is no money paid.  Paying out huge legal fees means only more losses for landlords already suffering.

Lesson #1:  The Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board Need To Change

We call on the government to have summit of stake holders to re-examine the RTA and take a close look at how the Landlord and Tenant Board  operates and how we must change the RTA and reform the LTB.

Lesson #2: If You are a Landlord In Ontario You Must Be Professional in How you Do Business

Landlords young and old, wherever you are, we advise you to do proper screening to avoid ‘pro tenants’.  The OLA offers a low-cost path to incredible screening tools.

If the landlords in the Toronto Star article were OLA members, and did a credit check costing only $10…they would have avoided their “Tenant From Hell” and the emotional and financial nightmares associated with having such a tenant.

 

OLA Member in the Toronto Star: Credit checks critical in vetting tenants

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

“A bad tenant cost me $28,000 over 9 months!”

October 18th, 2011

Landlord says she was too trusting and ended up with a bad tenant

“The person I spoke to said she made $62,000 a year,” says [Stoymenoff], who acknowledges she should have done a credit check.

“My questions always have been, ‘Do they have a secure job and what is their income?’ She came through with flying colours and both her references said she was a very trustworthy, good person.”

Stoymenoff also didn’t realize until the tenant was evicted that she had been renting out rooms in the house to other people and the property had fallen into disrepair.

She gouged out the doors and frames to install hinge locks with padlocks in the dining room and all three bedrooms.

Finally, in March the tenant was ordered by the Landlord Tenant Board to pay $3,400 and to start paying monthly rent.

She paid the $3,400 and one month’s rent of $1,750. In June, an order was issued to pay the full amount and Stoymenoff received $5,000.

[Shirley] was finally evicted in August, nine months after the first application was filed, owing $13,820 in unpaid rent and more than $3,000 in unpaid utility bills. Add on legal fees and the repairs required for the house and she is out more than $28,000.

“The registrar told me ‘we know her’ and the sheriff’s office knew her, too. The police have also told me they’re investigating her for fraud,” Stoymenoff says.

For an update please see:

http://www.torontonews24.com/toronto-crime-news-releases/1736-woman-faces-four-charges-in-fraud-investigation-nina-willis-47-photograph-of-woman-released

Ontario Landlord Advice: Tenant Screening

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Don’t be blinded by a beautiful face

September 20, 2011

 

We hear these types of stories all the time.  The landlord sets up a meeting with a tenant applicant.  The applicant seems extremely nice, very polite, a great person.  Well dressed, a nice car, and a winning smile!  He or she presents you with some references that are out of this world!  You think about it again.  This person seems responsible and financially stable.  You trust your instincts, get first and last, and hand over the key.  You might even go out for dinner and celebrate finding a great tenant for your amazing property.

Then it starts.  The start of the month comes and they are late paying.  “Ah, it’s just a one time thing” you think.

A couple of weeks later neighbors start complaining about the noise levels, the people coming in and out at all hours, and the garbage piling up.  You think “what’s going on?”  You start to wonder what happened to that polite, responsible person who you trusted to stay in your rental property.

You hope for the best.  Except things keep getting worse.   You see your property getting damaged.  You hear your neighbor’s complaints.  You feel yourself losing control over your property.  On top of it all, they aren’t paying any rent!

Canadian Apartment magazine has a must read article on how to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  We would like to emphasize the importance of credit checks.  We offer two of the best credit check services in Canada at highly discounted rates for members.

Read the original article here

Discuss this in our landlord advice forums here

As a small business landlord, I highly recommend TVS!

Saturday, December 4th, 2010
I have to admit that while I’ve been a landlord for a while I have never done a credit check. I always looked at work references and called the previous landlord. Not that long ago I did these screening techniques, it was all fine, and I still got burned when the tenant changed jobs. I have now joined up as an OLA member and have started making credit checks using TVS (Tenant Verification Systems).  TVS has been very helping in screening tenants.   I have verified tenant applications and found ‘holes’ in some applications that I never would have seen before.  I would recommend doing a TVS credit check for every applicant you are thinking of handing over the keys to!
R. Francis
Toronto