By Matt Maurer

An Ontario Superior Court Judge has expressed his hope that legislative changes will be made to stop unscrupulous tenants from “gaming the system”.

The facts of the case are straightforward and rather appalling.

The tenant entered into an agreement to lease a condominium in downtown Toronto starting in September 2015. The rent for the first month cleared but the rent for October bounced. The tenant has not paid another cent since that time, although he continued to reside in the unit.

The landlord served a “Notice to End Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent” on Oct. 16, 2015. On Nov. 19, 2015, the landlord filed an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board seeking an order to terminate the tenancy, payment of rental arrears and to evict the tenant from the unit.

The landlord’s application was heard on Jan. 4, 2016 (at which time the tenant was now four months in arrears of rent). The tenant consented to an order terminating the tenancy, requiring him to pay the rental arrears along with per diem compensation to the date of move out and costs. The order also provided that if the tenant had not moved out by Jan. 31, 2016 that the landlord could have the Sheriff evict the tenant.

The tenant did not pay any of the amounts ordered, nor did he move out of the unit. On Jan. 29, 2016, the last business day before the landlord could file the eviction papers with the Sheriff, the tenant initiated an appeal with the Ontario Divisional Court, which had the effect of staying any potential eviction proceedings.

The landlord was proactive and brought a motion to quash the appeal on a variety of grounds before it was heard on its merits. Even still, the landlord had to wait until April 14 for his hearing. The tenant did not file any responding materials nor did he attend the hearing, despite being explicitly directed to do so by the presiding judge.

The judge quashed the appeal, lifted the stay permitting the immediate eviction of the tenant and ordered the tenant to pay the landlord’s substantial indemnity costs.

Inclusive of costs, the tenant, who signed a lease for $1,700 a month, owes the landlord $16,786.82.

What makes the tenant’s disgraceful conduct even more reprehensible is that he pulled a nearly identical stunt with his previous landlord. In that case, the tenant had rung up over $15,000 in rental arrears.

The tenant was found, in both cases, to be “gaming the system”. In the more recent case the presiding judge urged legislative changes to be made, and in particular urged the government to consider modifying the existing legislation to remove the automatic right to appeal decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board and instead require that leave (permission) be granted before an appeal can be initiated.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Rbutt
    This case is typical reminder of the folly of faulty system which is not woking equitably and justly for both parties like landlord and tenant. The landlord is always licking the legal ramifications and responding tenant is abusing the law by continuously taking it for granted and applying the delaying tactics at their disposal which the so-called professional tenants are very well aware of it. I ,for one, would suggest two things to be made mandatory before a tenancy agreement is actually finalized and signed.
    1. Rent Check by a subsidiary of Rent Bureau of Canada who should maintain the past names and even possibly addresses of defaulters of rental arrears granted by the courts but not paid.
    2. If there is a Do Not Call List for the telephone numbers not to be called with exceptions, why can’t there be a Do Not Rent list of those “professional tenant” who have abused the system in the past and they may be ready to apply their “learned” tactics to creat another wilful default.
    Do you agree, please add your comments to the discussion.

  2. It’s technically a civil matter. For most tenants, it’s a genuine issue of not being able to meet financial obligations. But for tenants like the one in this article, it’s 100% premeditated intent to commit fraud and/or extort, both of which are criminal in nature.

    After 5 month of LTB court nonsense, a tenant can pay all arrears on the day they are supposed to be evicted and ‘all is forgiven’ as far as the law is concerned. The tenant can continue to live in the unit and start the process all over again.

    This is exactly the same as saying that a store’s customer who was caught shoplifting is permitted to continue shopping in the same store without any consequence to their attempt to steal by simply paying for what they tried to steal. Imagine the impact on our social fabric if that was the accepted business practice in retail (or any other form of) commerce. I’ll only pay for it if I get caught trying to steal it.

    Abusive municipalities encourage this kind of bad tenant behavior. Some municipalities hold an entirely-innocent landlord responsible for the non-payment of a utility bill by a tenant. Informed tenants can act maliciously to create a substantial bill with virtually no practical recourse, so themunicipality, rather than go after the abusive tenant, they append the bill onto the property owner’s property taxes.

    To me, this is the same as saying that the police should be held accountable for all the crimes committed by criminals that they didn’t catch.
    The list of abuses heaped upon landlords in Ontario is a long one, despite the many protestations by tenant advocacy groups.

    • No and no reason for the government to want to include a criminal component. If he hadn’t leached these monies from private citizens he would have received it from the province under the guise of public assistance. The province would prefer private individuals to cover the cost.

    • Yes.
      However, it gets stuck in Tenancy Act… and locked there so no other law applies.
      I once had a similar situation, 6 months, $7200 in a 2 unit house. The people in the other unit left because of it so I was out about $12,000.
      I lucked onto a leak, and told the tenant… go into the other unit for a few weeks until I get the leak fixed. Moved another tenant into “their unit” so they couldn’t get back in to “their” unit… then called 911 and said there was someone trespassing…. the police first said they can’t do any thing BUT I reminded them the tenancy ended with eviction and their lease was for the first unit… sitting in the other unit was in fact not covered under the Tenancy Act and dropped into the lap of criminal law.
      Random dumb situational luck or I would have been in as deep as this example.

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