BAD LANDLORD ALERT!

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LindaH
Posts: 64
Joined: July 30th, 2014, 7:29 pm

BAD LANDLORD ALERT!

#1 Unread post by LindaH » May 3rd, 2019, 4:15 pm

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We need to start listing and publicizing these bad landlords!!! Alert Others!!

Bad landlord alert + addresses :

Name: Ke (David) Wang

Properties: 396-400 Dundas St. E. 394 Dundas St. E. 272 Berkeley St.


Toronto landlord David Wang used the N12 provision to evict renters from at least four apartments in two of his properties, saying that he needed the units for family members.


It is a little understood loophole in Ontario tenancy laws, but one so potent that it can put tenants out on the street with little recourse. Called an N12, it allows a landlord to evict a tenant simply by stating the owner or an immediate family member intends to move in.

And in tight rental markets such as Toronto’s, where demand far outstrips the city’s supply of available units, it’s a tool that a growing number of landlords appear to be using to flip units back into the market and charge higher rents.

Toronto landlord Ke (David) Wang used the N12 loophole to evict renters from at least four apartments in two of his properties in the space of just over a year, claiming that the units were needed for family members. He told at least one tenant in another property she had to leave too. When one tenant fought back, Mr. Wang told the province’s Landlord and Tenant Board that his mother, Hui Ming (Amy) Zhang, needed another apartment because Ms. Zhang’s dog had a difficult time climbing the stairs from a basement unit in the same building – a unit whose tenant Mr. Wang had sent an N12 notice to just months earlier.

“I was homeless for six weeks,” says Manal Khader, who in 2017 lost a challenge to one of Mr. Wang’s eviction orders at the LTB tribunal. “I had my [stuff] in storage while I was relying on friends to support me.”

Andrea Dearing, a graphic-design professional also lost a challenge to Mr. Wang that same year. “I want attention to be paid. He booted us out of our home.”

The number of N12 evictions disputed before the LTB has almost doubled since 2012, according to data reviewed by The Globe and Mail. Geordie Dent, executive director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, says that concerns about illegal evictions represent the “No. 1” concern of renters who call his organization for help. “It’s just through the roof,” he says.

Under an N12, a loophole accessible only to individual landlords (not corporate property owners), landlords can take back apartments for an immediate family member – defined as a parent, child or spouse – who pledges to live there for at least 12 months. If a tenant applies for and wins a case alleging a “bad-faith” eviction – one in which there was no genuine intention to move into the unit -- the fine to the landlord can be as high as $25,000, plus financial relief in the form of rent-subsidy payments.

However, the data shows that bad-faith findings at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) are exceedingly rare. “Basically, this is an illegal eviction factory,” says Mr. Dent of the FMTA, which collects data on the market through a tenants’ help line that it runs to educate and assist renters.

In 2012, N12s were used for 1,542 eviction applications. By 2018, that number had soared, to 2,919, as Toronto’s rental market has dropped to record low vacancy.

Ontario is reviewing rental regulations and expects potential legislative changes in the fall, said Conrad Spezowka, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“Our government cares about the well-being of the people of Ontario and wants to make sure both tenants and landlords are treated fairly. We want to encourage a safe and fair system when renting a property so both the tenant and landlord can benefit."

Other provinces have similar rules to N12 that allow landlords to break a tenancy to allow a landlord to move in or offer a unit to close family members (among other reasons), though elsewhere, the penalties for abuse can be stiffer: The NDP government in British Columbia moved in 2018 to extend the amount of compensation for tenants evicted in bad faith from one-month’s rent to 12-months’ rent, and Quebec has many more rules that accompany the practice (including bans on repossessing apartments from seniors over the age of 70) and even on routine, good-faith evictions tenants can claim damages that can climb into thousands of dollars.

Stopping abuse of the loophole will only come with better tracking and real penalties, says Mr. Dent. Currently, he says, “Landlords know they can get away with breaking the law with no consequence.”

In the case of Mr. Wang, an examination of property records and more than a dozen interviews conducted by The Globe and Mail paint a portrait of a landlord who has built a multimillion-dollar property empire. Since 2011, he and his mother have together spent close to $8.5-million buying five houses in downtown Toronto that are rented to a mix of long-term and short-term tenants. (At one point, Mr. Wang had 26 listings on Airbnb spread across several houses.)

Mr. Wang has declined multiple times to comment to The Globe and Mail about the allegations by his former tenants.

The maximum annual rent increase on rent-controlled units in Ontario is now set at 1.8 per cent. And yet, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data, average rents in Toronto increased by 5.5 per cent in 2018. (Province-wide, the average was 4.9 per cent.)

Because of rent controls, there has long been, implanted in Ontario’s Residential Tenancy Act, a powerful financial incentive for private landlords to find ways to “turn over” rent-controlled units – that is, to replace current tenants with new ones: So-called “vacancy decontrol” allows such landlords to reset the rent, at whatever rate the market will bear, whenever a tenant vacates a unit.

Toronto landlord David Wang used the N12 provision to evict renters from at least four apartments in two of his properties, saying that he needed the units for family members.

In that market climate, Mr. Dent believes, tougher financial sanctions need to be applied to curb N12 abuse.

Other critics of the current system are also calling for reform on how landlord behavior is tracked. Currently, the LTB doesn’t keep tabs on whether landlords fulfill their legal obligations; instead, the board relies on tenants to notify it if there are cases of bad faith. The non-profit Ontario Tenant Alliance has encouraged the development of an online N12 registry, a crowd-sourced tool that would allow renters to check on the status of apartments from which they have been evicted.

The Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations represents more than 50,000 renters in Toronto. Until about 2016, its help line received an average of five to eight calls a month regarding N12 eviction issues. But that began changing in 2017 – and since October of that year, the FMTA hotline has been getting more than 50 calls a month.

A Globe analysis of 2018 data provided by Social Justice Tribunals Ontario found that the number of tenants who took their N12 evictions to a hearing had nearly doubled since 2012, to just over 2,900 such applications.

There are also more tenants than ever refusing to accept their eviction lying down: In 2009-10, just 128 applications sought redress for bad-faith evictions (known as T5s). By 2017-18, applications had more than doubled, to 295.

As Mr. Dent notes, landlords have the right to evict someone when they themselves are moving in. “But when they are not,” he says, “that's a gross violation of the law. It's one of the worst things you can do. You're evicting somebody and forcing them to go through the nightmare of moving, and finding a new place and paying new deposits and paying higher rent. And you're doing it illegally, just to cash in.”

Yet, because N12 notices can be downloaded from the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario website, and then hand-delivered, the SJTO is not able to keep records on how many N12s have been served to tenants. That, in turn, can make it difficult to establish how many times a particular landlord has claimed an apartment for their own use. This becomes particularly relevant for tenants seeking to establish a pattern when arguing that their landlord was simply planning to relist the apartment.

And even establishing such a pattern “is not enough,” notes Toronto lawyer Caryma Sa’d, who specializes in housing law. “It all turns on your intent when you hand the N12 notice to your tenant,” she notes. “You can have what you think is a strong case, the landlord says whatever they say, and there’s no real way to contradict them.”

Because the odds are long, Ms. Sa’d takes up only about a quarter of the N12 cases she is approached about.

“Landlord-tenant law is very, very good for tenants,” Ms. Khader says, “except when it comes to the N12.”

Read more at: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/ ... nants-out/

HowardT
Posts: 111
Joined: December 26th, 2017, 7:29 pm

Re: BAD LANDLORD ALERT!

#2 Unread post by HowardT » May 3rd, 2019, 9:01 pm

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