Posts Tagged ‘Landlord Legal’

Message to Alberta Landlords – When kindness doesn’t pay (Part 3)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

How could they do this to my property?

August 29, 2011

This is a warning to all landlords in Calgary, Edmonton and the Rest of Alberta.  Although I’m in Ontario, I hope what happened to me helps others all over the country.

I was very happy to have hired property manager John Schutten.  John spoke with the tenants and managed to get Teddy and Nancy to sign a form called an N11 (“Agreement to End a Tenancy”) from the Landlord and Tenant Board.  John told me in Ontario even if the tenants sign a form saying they will leave, we needed to take it with a grain of salt because they could ignore it and continue to stay.  Both John and I thought it was likely I’d have to order the Sheriff to physically evict them from my rental property.

I knew we needed to get an eviction order through the Landlord and Tenant Board.  John attended the hearing at the LTB on May 17.  The tenants didn’t even bother to show up!  This was actually a good thing because many tenants will show up with fake maintenance claims in order to stall the whole process  and live rent free.  We were granted the eviction but couldn’t get the Order right there and then.  In Ontario you have to wait to receive the order via snail mail.

Finally May 31st arrived!  This was the day the tenants were supposed to vacate the property according the LTB Order.  My fingers were crossed they would obey the law and leave when the LTB said they had to get out!  John did an inspection and these tenants had not packed a single box!  We couldn’t consider the property abandoned so we had to take an expensive next step…ordering the Sheriff.  Off to the Sheriff’s office John went with the LTB Order in hand to book the Sheriff.  Cost?  $320!

In some places, you can wait weeks before the Sheriff’s office has time to come to your property.  Fortunately, Hamilton is a large city and they work every day of the week.  The Sheriff came and posted a letter on the door stating the tenants had 72 hours to leave and take all their belongings.  The tenants had until June 7 at 10 am to vacate.

I felt relieved this whole ordeal was about to end.  My happiness and relief ended when I thought how much money I was out dealing with the eviction process in Ontario.  The Sheriff cost over $300.  Plus the LTB cost me $170.  I had to pay John for his professional and experienced help.  I also didn’t receive April or May rent.  Now it was June and another month of no rent.  My tax bill and mortgage still had to be paid!

On the evening of June 6 (hours away from D-Day, or E-Day for eviction) I drove by my little property after work to see what might be happening.  Good news!  I saw a U-Haul truck pull up in the driveway.  It looked like they actually started moving furniture out of the house.  I saw their things all over the front yard and sidewalk.  My Lord, they were even having a garage sale!

The next day the Sheriff came.  At long last my property was ‘mine’ again.  These rotten tenants were finally gone!  I was beaming.  The smile on my face was only matched by the spring in my stride as I walked to the front door to take a look and then change the locks.

Then I went inside.  No. This was just too much….. They couldn’t have done this to me…..

Discuss this in the landlord forums here

When kindness doesn’t pay (Part 2)

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

When things go wrong don’t expect any help from the government

July 2011

Late payments, a mountain of garbage building up, the tenants lying about us going through their personal things, strangers coming in and out of the property through the windows, the police monitoring the property…it was getting to be too much!I knew I needed to take a step back and hire professional help.

Fortunately through the Ontario Landlords Association I knew where I could find good help.  I contacted John Schutten from a local property management firm called Ready4Rent and asked him to take over.

John gave proper notice and did his initial inspection of the property.  He went in and inspected for any maintenance or safety issues and took photos.  Like so many unruly tenants who have no respect either for the property or their own safety John found they had removed all the smoke alarms, were storing motorcycles in the house, had ripped off all the screens from the window and the place was a mess!

As a true professional, John communicated with the tenants and gave them an opportunity to change their behavior and start following some maintenance and safety rules.  The result?  They didn’t listen, continued to ignore the rules and continued their destruction of my property.

John had asked me what I wanted to do- I said I wanted them out.  I couldn’t trust them, I was suspicious of their drug activities, the place was becoming a fire-trap, they were wrecking my once beautiful home…I wanted them gone.

Since the Fall I was getting the rent paid by Ontario Works (welfare) every month.  On March 1 the money stopped.  No direct payment.  Not a cent.  I immediately contacted the welfare fraud department.  A while later I received a call from their case worker.  This case worker was different than the one I spoke to in the Fall.

She wouldn’t tell me very much because she said her hands were tied by the Privacy Act.  I told her the tenants were paying me via Ontario Works with a direct cheque, and it suddenly stopped.  The tenants were doing something else with their welfare check.  She told me this was not a fraud situation.  Tenants on welfare are able to stop their check going directly to the landlord with a quick phone call.  She said fraud was only for situations where the welfare recipient was working under the table, claiming other people under them, etc.

I asked the case worker, “So you are telling me that failure to pay rent with the shelter allowance part of a welfare check isn’t fraud?” The rent portion of their cheque is a shelter allowance, and these tenants were spending it on things other than for shelter!

I asked her what happens if they don’t pay rent and I report it.  She told me she could hold back the cheques until they produce a rent receipt.  I asked her “what happens if they produce a fake receipt?”  She answered it was not her job to decipher whether or not a receipt is fake or not!  She also said the tenants might be using up their last month’s rent and might move out.  My fingers were crossed!

After I finished with the case worker I felt very suspicious the tenants were going to issue a fake rent receipt so they could keep getting their shelter allowance while living in my house rent free.  I emailed the Ministry of Social Services explaining my situation and looking for help.  Here’s the response I got back:

“Thank you for your e-mail to the Ministry of Community and Social Services regarding your tenant.

When a tenant who is receiving social assistance is not paying rent, the local Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) offices may direct part of a social assistance recipient’s assistance to a third party, such as a landlord or utility company in order to cover rent or utility costs. These pay direct arrangements may remain in effect until it is evident that the recipient is able to manage their financial assistance.

A pay direct arrangement is purely an administrative arrangement that does not change the landlord-tenant relationship or any existing legal obligations. In particular, under this administrative arrangement, the Ministry of Community and Social Services does not take on any of the tenant’s legal or financial obligations.”

And here was my response…..

“I am most insulted with this lame reply.

I am not the first landlord to tell you about the scamming that is going on with regards to tenants having their cheques redirected to themselves only to turn around and use that money for other uses other than its intended purpose- which is to pay for the necessary rent.

Your hands-off approach, with the “it’s a landlord-tenant problem” is getting real old and tiresome.

This email is completely unacceptable as a response…you are the welfare fraud department- THIS IS WELFARE FRAUD!

What does a tenant have to do before they are investigated or charged with misappropriation of funds?

Perhaps the welfare fraud department is really just  a make-work project by the current liberal government who treat landlords as second-class citizens? I realize with these types of comments such as yours, there are no real efforts to stop this complete waste of taxpayers money.    I will forward this email on to the appropriate people.”

My head was spinning over the situation.  Not only were the tenants wrecking my house, potentially doing illegal activities, the police involved, …I was facing months of them living there rent-free!  The government didn’t care and was on the tenants side!

I began to investigate how OW and OPSP really work in Ontario.  Here is what I found out:

-A welfare or ODSP recipient can have their cheques redirected back to themselves at any time with one simple phone call requiring no explanation whatsoever!

-If the pay-direct cheque is coming to you, and it comes late, OW will NOT even confirm to say whether or not the cheque is in the mail!

-If the cheques stop coming, and the tenant goes into rental arrears, the case worker nor welfare fraud department does not care, and will always have the landlord eat the costs

-It has also happened where the tenant did NOT ask for the cheques to be stopped going to the landlord, yet the tenant received the cheque because the case worker made a mistake- too bad, so sad for the landlord, right?!

-Many welfare recipients have more than one address and cheques go to many of these addresses- yet again OW and welfare fraud turn a blind eye!

-Even after the tenant moves out, sometimes the cheques keep coming- yet again no clue for welfare administration – no checks and balances

-Case workers do NOT check with the landlord to validate any information, a tenant can say they are moving out, when they haven’t, and OW has the right to put a stop payment on a pay direct rent cheque- no warning to the landlord of course!

-Welfare fraud department will not follow up with landlord who has reported welfare fraud

I was learning fast. 

Thank God, because things were about to take another turn.  The tenants said they might agree to move…or maybe not….

When kindness doesn’t pay (Part 1)

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Why Landlords Must Protect Themselves From Their Own Good Intentions

June 2011

My tenants gave notice to move and I began showing the property to prospective new tenants.  One family came and were immediately interested.  Nancy, Teddy and their young daughter seemed very nice.  I was happy when she told me the “loved the place” as soon as they walked in.  I had the place looking good and it felt nice when they commented how beautiful it was. Nancy told me “You should have seen some of the places we looked at – they were awful!”  They said they wanted the place. (more…)

Do I Need a Lease?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Answer: Yes, you need a great one!


What Makes A Good Lease?


As a seasoned veteran of hundreds of battles before the Landlord and Tenant Board, it’s clear: something is rotten in Ontario. Is it the legislation governing tenancies? The Landlord and Tenant Board? Irresponsible landlords? Predatory tenants?


A Typical Day at the Landlord and Tenant Board

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011


It’s 9:00am on a sunny Tuesday. Landlords, tenants, and agents are lined up to sign in to the attendance record at the Landlord and Tenant Board for their hearings. (more…)

If you could change 3 things about the current laws for Ontario Landlords…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

The Ontario Landlords Association for small business landlords has received a request to create a list (with follow-up explanations) of what changes should be made to the Residential Tenancy Act and to the Landlord  Tenant Board.

Here’s a chance to get your views to those who make the decisions. Please keep it to 3 main points, and if you can add an explanation or personal experience regarding the matter, please do so.

Please post in the HELP FORUM and get YOUR VIEWS HEARD!!


Friday, January 28th, 2011


•  Pro Bono Assistance to Peace Officers Responding to Landlord/Tenant Disputes!

•  Obtain the Statutory Authority to Back You Up!

•  Free Educational Seminars to Police Services ANYWHERE in Ontario!

•   10% Discount to Police Officers Who Are Also Landlords!

•  Tenant Crime is NOT a Civil Matter! Let’s Work Together for Justice!


705 812 2267

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Home wreckers


Her rental property damaged by her former tenants, owner Nancy Lowe is now trying to repair the damaged and receiving little help from authorities or her insurance. Nancy looks though one of the several broken windows left by her former tenants.

Nancy Lowe can only describe her house as a pigsty.

Walking into her rental property on Campbell Avenue the day after her tenants left, Lowe discovered damage to every room in the house.

“There’s stains everywhere, there’s holes in all the walls, it looks like they had anger management issues and punched holes in the walls and doors,” she said, shaking her head as she surveyed the damage.

Lowe bought the house in the Barrie’s central neighbourhood in June 2009 as a rental property.

She was impressed with the brand-new carpets, new hardwood floors and fresh paint job.

To keep her heating costs down, she put on a new steel tile roof and began interviewing prospective tenants.

After meeting the parents of one young man and calling the young woman’s boss, she felt she’d done due diligence and let the three friends move in.

While monthly payments weren’t the issue, a few incidents she now considers red flags cross her mind as she remembers the year.

Once, her husband dropped by the house after a large snowfall and had to tell the tenants not to snowboard off the roof of the old garage.

Another time, Mitch Martin, the upstairs tenant, called her about the destructive noises coming from below.

“It sounded like they had a couple of brawls,” said Martin, 29, who lived in the apartment above the tenants for the full year.


There was confusion over the thermostat levels and blown fuses a few times that weren’t a big deal, he said.

However, loud music caused enough of a disturbance, the next door neighbour called the police on several occasions, he said.

“You don’t put your nose into other people’s business,” said Martin.

But when he heard a loud crash as if something was smashed against the basement door — he shares the stairwell and the sounds travels — he felt compelled to call the landlord.

The hole in the basement door suggests he might be right.

Lowe’s complaints — while some are simple wear and tear from a bit more than gentle use of the floors and carpets — stem from the three broken windows, a toilet that was rarely if ever cleaned, and huge gouges out of the enamel on the bathroom tub.

Fortunately, she said, she has before and after photos that show the extremely clean condition before the tenants moved in.

A walk through the central Barrie house now shows ripped tiles, a six-inch ragged hole made through a kitchen cupboard into a bedroom for an extension cord, and broken kitchen patio doors; Lowe can put her fingers through the broken frame.

Lowe complained to Barrie police regarding the destruction of her property, but there’s little they can do.

Const. Toni Dufour said there’s not enough evidence to lay a charge.

“We did contact one of the tenants, who said the damage was done by an unknown person — there’s been several parties since he moved in — but unless there’s a witness, we can’t lay charges,” said Dufour.

Her advice to the landlord is follow up in a civil court of law.

However, Landlord Legal owner April Stewart said she’s literally got binders full of judgments she hasn’t been able to collect on.

“You can’t get blood from a stone,” said Stewart.

The local paralegal said the services she’s created to assist landlords collect from destructive or non-paying tenants has kept her running off her feet trying to collect outstanding money owed to landlords.

“I want to stress, this isn’t necessarily a problem with 20- year-olds. I’ve seen just as many adults, right up to 60, who are irresponsible. And they’re enabled by this legislation.”

The biggest problem is the current landlord tenant act favours the tenant, she said.

Police can’t always prove mischief, or the tenant may even have a previous eviction notice, but the sheriff can’t legally tell a prospective landlord about it.

“There’s no freedom of information about this. There’s nothing in the system to protect the landlord,” she said.

In the future, Stewart said, when a landlord is approached by younger renters, ask the parents to act as guarantors for their children. Perform a credit check; it will show if a tenant has bounced cheques. And, ask to see photo identification; some renters will use a family member’s ID if they know a sibling has a better credit history.

“Visit in the first 30 days to see how they live,” said Stewart.

Landlords are required to give 24-hour written notice, but regular drop-ins are worth it.

Last month, a new tenant moved into the house on Campbell Avenue

He’s put up posters to cover the worst of the damage, steam-cleaned the carpets and carried the majority of the last owners refuse out to the garage — or just thrown it out for the trash.

He said he’s rented quite a few apartments, but “never saw anything as bad as this.

“I’m a patient man, I don’t mind waiting for her to fix this,” said the new tenant, who requested that his name not be used. “It’s not her fault, but it’s her responsibility to fix it.”

Barrie Area Landlords: Have your Say in Improving the Law

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

The beautiful City of Barrie is leading the way in creating laws that are fair to small business landlords which will in turn create clean, beautiful and safe communities. Please take note of your invitation to attend two Open Houses where you will have a fair chance to provide input in a review of the Property Standards By-law and the Clean Yards By-law.

The OLA commends Chris Alexander, Supervisor, Property and Zoning Standards, City of Barrie for his excellent work and leadership and hope other cities will take note of his progressive approach.

We also thank April Stewart of Landlord Legal for helping the OLA organize landlords to make sure all stakeholders get their input heard. The “Terminator” is a true champion for landlords.


Dear Resident/Stakeholder,

The City of Barrie is undertaking a review of both the Property Standards By-law No. 2006-26 and the Clean Yards By-law No. 90-355. These by-laws govern the maintenance and up-keep of all properties and structures in the City of Barrie.

The City is looking for input from all stakeholders including property owners, tenants and property managers for the yard maintenance standards that the community wants. This input will be considered for inclusion in the revised by-laws to be presented to Council in the Spring of 2011.

There will be two Open Houses held in the Sir Robert Barrie Room located on the second floor of City Hall 70 Collier Street from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on:

Thursday January 13th and Thursday January 27th 2011

There will be an opportunity to review the proposed property standards. Staff will also be on hand to answer questions, accept comments and suggestions. If you are unable to attend either one of the Open Houses, please visit under “What’s New” to view a copy of the proposed standards and get a copy of a survey that you can complete to share your opinions.

Attached is a listing of current issues that the Property Standards Section of Building Services investigates and the standards that are in place. Also attached is a survey soliciting your input on the issues we investigate and what standards that you would like to see. Completed surveys can be forwarded to Building Services for inclusion in the Review.

Should you have any comments or questions about the Review or the process involved, please contact Chris Alexander, Supervisor Property and Zoning Standards at or (705) 739-4220 ext. 4313.

Thank-you for participating in the Review and we look forward to hearing from you and getting your input.

Yours truly,

Chris Alexander
Supervisor, Property and Zoning Standards

I could have never imagined how hard it is to evict someone.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

To anyone interested in the services of Landlord legal –

I could have never imagined how hard it is to evict someone until I was faced with having to do it myself. It wasn’t until I started the process that I realized that it is impossible to do on your own without proper legal counsel. There are so many “t’s” and “i’s” that need to be crossed and dotted and if you miss one, you could lose a lot of time and money. That is when I contacted Landlord Legal.

The best part about April Stewart and her team at Landlord Legal is that they’re specialists. Evicting “bad” tenants for “good” landlords is all they do! I could have NEVER evicted my bad tenant on my own. He was a professional con who played the legal system with expertise. But what my bad tenant didn’t know was that April is more diligent and a lot smarter than he was. April’s a hard working, super persistent woman who is at the top of what she does and gets the job done, period.

I hope I never have to use April’s services again but should I ever need to, you better believe that the only person I will call before anyone else is “The Terminator!”
– Nick S, Toronto