Confiscation of property

Karen Selick: The law will confiscate your property if you can’t make your tenants behave.

Sad, but true. Infuriating, but true.

In Ontario, and in many other provinces as well, the law can and will confiscate a landlord’s property if tenants behave badly.

In the case described in this article, an Ontario couple lost their rental building, valued at about $400,000 because tenants used it as an “instrument of unlawful activity.”

Police were there many times and were, apparently, unable to do anything about that criminal activity. Presumably people were charged with offenses and allowed to return to the building rather than serving time – a failure of the legal/justice system?


All the landlords’ fault.

The article doesn’t detail whether the landlords were involved with the LTB – but since both the LTB and the Sheriff’s Office in Ontario do little or nothing to help landlords get rid of problem tenants, in my experience, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’d gone that route at least once, discovered it was a total waste of time, energy & resources, and given up on getting any help that way.

So…. the state strips landlords of any power to solve the problem of troublesome tenants, exonerates itself of any responsibility for dealing with criminal behaviour and then decides that it is entitled to walk in and take landlords’ property?!

Oh, Canada! What a freaking nightmare mess you have become.


landlord1I’ve started a new group on Facebook for Ontario landlords; would love to have you join me there to talk about your landlording experiences.


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A little extreme, perhaps

Happened to see this article on my Facebook wall today: Rental dispute leads to Edmonton home being torn apart

The tenant, apparently, didn’t pay rent for June – and the landlord allegedly first removed the front door of the house, and when that didn’t get her out, came with a truck and a bobcat and started ripping the house apart.

It seems more than a little extreme, especially if the tenant is telling the truth about having missed only this month’s rent.

But as a landlord that has been through more than one tenant-from-hell situation, I can certainly understand the impulse to take drastic measures.

We definitely wanted to when the Legalized Theft Board failed us; joked about it even. But after the damage our ~tenants~ did to our homes, we certainly weren’t inclined to really do even more, ourselves. They cost us more than enough as it was.

In any case, I’m guessing there is a whole lot more to this story.

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Troublefree landlording

As you can see, I haven’t posted on this blog in awhile. Like as in since last May!

My bad!!

Lots of issues in the news and so on that I could have should have written about over that time – but since my own landlording has been going so smoothly, I guess I just haven’t been irked enough.

And honestly, still not irked.

I am very happy to report that after 2 Christmases totally ruined by tenants-from-hell, we don’t have any tenants-from-hell at all right now. The Peterborough house was sold, to a guy that planned to use it pretty much as we did when we bought it; live there while going to school, rent out rooms. I hope he has a better experience with it than we did!

We do still have one property that includes two units – but good tenants in both. You know – the sort of tenants that pay their rent without a hassle and can be counted on to let us know if there’s a problem (there haven’t been, actually – but I know that if there were, they would tell us rather than expecting us to just know). That’s all it takes to make me happy.

Christmas without the stress of terrible tenants is definitely my best gift this year. Here’s hoping ’tis the same for you, too.

Happy landlording! christmas ribbon tree

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Comments & Misconceptions

Oh well, now THAT is annoying!

Went back to catch up on the discussion on the Nina Willis article on the TO Star site…. lots I would have liked to respond to (in addition to the ones I already had, that is) but they’d closed the comments down again.

Seriously…can people really be that uninformed? (that’s a nice way of saying stOOpid, in case you were wondering) Clearly, many can – and yet that doesn’t prevent them from putting forth what they (don’t) know as fact.

Whole lot of blaming the landlord, of course… that’s pretty much a given in any conversation about landlord & tenant issues…. the landlord is perceived to be the side with power & money; tenants are powerless & poor. Not, of course, at all true in reality in many cases – but that is the perception that persists. The reality, however, in Ontario at this point in time is that tenants have a great deal of power – and landlords actually have very little.

landlord1People think that landlords can get rid of tenants for any number of reasons – including even just the end of the lease. It is true that in some provinces the end of the lease/rental agreement means the end of the tenancy – parties must renegotiate, or the tenant moves on – but in Ontario, the end of the lease means nothing… a landlord is not permitted to require that a tenant leave … what happens is that the arrangement automatically becomes a month to month agreement – in theory, it is to continue to be subject to the terms of the original lease or rental agreement – but in practice, in Ontario, it often results in tenants no longer bothering to consider themselves subject to the agreement but yet entitled to stay as long as they like.

There are some pretty misguided notions as to how much control a landlord has over who winds up in their properties, also.  A lot of commenters blame the landlord for having rented to Nina Willis …. and sure, that’s reasonable… a Google search of that name will, in fact, bring up stories about her tenant history, and clearly, any landlord that chooses to rent to her in spite of that can be blamed for being ripped off (although still wouldn’t deserve the months & years of delay and fees and other assorted BS it takes to get rid of her because Ontario’s landlord & tenant system is so messed up, even so) …. but seriously …. do you honestly think that she is applying for places using the name Nina Willis? All she ever has to do to get around her notoriety is to get a friend to apply in their name – not a damn thing the landlord can do about it, since the Legalized Theft Board says landlords have pretty much no say about who can actually live in an apartment as long as occupancy bylaws aren’t broken.

In both of the tenant-from-hell situations I had, by the way, the tenants I rented to were actually fine …for months. But once they hook up with jackass boyfriends and move them in and stop paying rent (#1) or start doing major damages (#2), it all goes to hell in a handbasket. You do not, as a landlord, have any say at all as to who your tenants hang out, move in, sleep with, etc …. and as I learned the hard way to the tune of over $10k even when the jackass boyfriend actually signs a rental agreement with you, the LTB won’t necessarily consider them a legal tenant and will remove them from the order so that they won’t have any requirement to pay. Occupants don’t have to pay rent, according to the LTB.

Then there is the notion that a credit check and references are the solution to everything and thus it is fair to blame the landlord and not shive a git about the thousands of dollars they lose over the course of dealing with a bad tenant in an even worse ~system~ ….   sure, it’s pretty easy to run a credit check …. by joining the OLA, can do that relatively easily (it’s the only one of the things the OLA claims to offer that it actually does, actually) …. but since the person that’s applying is not necessarily the person you’re going to wind up with – and since landlord & tenant issues don’t actually wind up on credit reports most of the time, that is hardly the panacea that many seem to think.

Anyway …I could go on and on about other misconceptions people have about landlording in Ontario but this post is already long enough for a blog post so I shall shut up for now…..  will likely write another though, in response to the charming individual who suggested that I was “stupid” for thinking that any of this had anything at all to do with politics, and especially the Ontario Liberals …. later!


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Nina Willis again

for rentNightmare tenant Nina Willis battling with new landlord, , Toronto Star, 30-May-14;

Am so glad that the Toronto Star continues to keep track of what is going on with this woman – although I’m quite sure that Willis herself feels more than a little put upon by the whole thing.

And well she should, actually – she gets all the press for her bad actions ….and hundreds, if not thousands, of other terrible tenants just like her get away scot free. Not only do their thefts not make the paper – potential landlords aren’t even able to find out a damn thing about them. They’ve got rights, you know…. landlords, on the other hand, have none… the Legalized Theft Board releases their names without question… it’s only the tenants that are protected. Cause, you know…. tenants are incompetent victims of landlords, who are evil greedy bastards who deserve to be screwed at every opportunity not only by tenants, but also by the Ontario government via the Legalized Theft Board, the Sheriff’s Office, and local police as well.  I wish I were exaggerating…. but seriously, that is the ~fair & balanced~ Ontario Liberal approach to landlords & tenants issues.

The only defense that landlords in Ontario have is to do a credit check …and even that isn’t going to help if they’ve got judgements from the Legalized Theft Board against them (credit agencies aren’t interested, won’t take that info – believe me, I tried!) ….. one has to count on the fact that if they’re the sort that screw their landlord, they probably also screwed others who gave them a chance. Unfortunately, if someone is on OW or ODSP for any length of time, there is a good chance that they aren’t going to have much in the way of credit history – either positive or negative – on their file…. so if they only rip off landlords, you’re beat.

And then if/when you do wind up at the Legalized Theft Board – even though they have actively prevented you from discovering whether your tenants have previously been identified as tenants-from-hell, they blame you, the landlord, and consider it fair ball to actively support the tenant to rip you off to the tune of thousands of dollars … or hundreds of thousands, even … they don’t care … it is your fault you rented to them …and anyway, you are a landlord, therefore you are a rich greedy bastard and can afford it.

I no longer have to deal with finding tenants …. we are down to one house which will also be sold as soon as the current tenants give their notice (because of the incredibly ~fair & balanced~ situation in Ontario, in case you were wondering) … but I do still care very much about the whole bloody mess.

Not because of landlords like us getting screwed, so much though, although that does infuriate me… but because of the impact all this ~fair & balanced~ bullcrap has on lower income tenants. The Ontario Liberals are forcing landlords to discriminate against low income tenants. Which is, of course, not only illegal, it is also wrong – but if every time I get a bad tenant who is on any sort of assistance, I know that I am going to be on the hook to provide them with free housing & utilities for six months or more with no possibility of recovering a single cent of those costs how can you possibly expect me to continue to do that?

The only possible way that Ontario landlords can protect themselves is to rent only to people with excellent credit ratings and a job (that can be garnished if necessary).

No OW. No ODSP. And no one who is at higher risk of developing any sort of debilitating disability such as dementia, either, btw … because in Ontario, it is the landlord’s responsibility to accommodate, don’t you know…. the rhetoric around that is every bit as ~fair & balanced~ as the Liberals claim to be in landlord & tenant matters … but the reality is, increasingly, that if your tenant becomes disabled it is your own damn problem and it doesn’t matter HOW much it costs to accommodate them – and you certainly can’t end their tenancy because of it. It’s not because tenants on assistance are any more likely to cause a problem than any other, though, just to be clear – it’s because if there is a problem, the system is so broken that even when you win it can take months to actually get your property back – and you can not recover a cent.

So… by protecting tenants like Nina Willis, the Ontario government is actually creating a situation where the very tenants they actually SHOULD be protecting are being harmed. Single moms such as I once was? Can’t rent to them. People with disabilities? Sorry. Older people? Sorry.

Good job, good credit rating; that’s it, that’s all …. all the rest are SOL.

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Well drat!!!

Was clearly trying to do too many things at once this afternoon – managed to delete the theme I was using from here instead of from my husband’s work site….. and now can’t seem to get it back 🙁

None of the themes I’ve  tried, in any browser is letting me upload a new image – I had this problem before but then was able to just change browsers and the button appeared. *sigh*   Oh well… one of those days! Will figure it out eventually …and in the meantime, this will have to do.

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One Down!

Closing on our Peterborough house today!!

Just waiting for the lawyer to call and let us know the cheque is ready.

One step closer to not having to deal with the craptastic system in Ontario any more.

Thinking about landlording? Can’t recommend it, at least not in Ontario.

NO protection, NO fairness, NO balance, NO accountability from the Ontario Liberals – if you’re already an Ontario landlord, I feel for you…  If you’re just thinking about getting into it, seriously, do your research.

It is WAY too easy to lose everything you invest and then some – the LTB (Legalized Theft Board) likes it that way.

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SO frustrating

So … our tenant from hell has moved out…. several weeks ago, according to what we’re hearing.

Unfortunately, she seems to have forgotten a few things.

backyard Tons of garbage and other assorted bits, a cat, a dog…. oh yeah…and – minor little detail – a kid or two.

One for sure – 15yo boy who, even after I met with CAS and was assured he was going to go live with his dad, is absolutely NOT living with his dad. Rather, he seems to wait until we leave for the day and then do whatever he needs to do to break in.

The other – a 10yo girl, is supposed to be with her dad, as is the younger boy – but Dad bold faced lies to CAS worker about the care he is supposedly providing them. In truth, the youngest is usually with the grandmother, and the 10yo girl – who not very long ago was the victim of the mom’s boyfriend’s violence – has apparently been staying at least part time with the 15yo – unsupervised – in MY house.

Pretty sad when I’ve spent more time with the CAS worker trying to make sure these kids are properly taken care of than the mom has, innit?

wall upstairsIn any case, when I returned on Thursday of this week – because they said they wanted into the house to move their stuff and we would be thrilled to have that happen – discovered the 15yo in “his” room sound asleep. Woke him up, had yet another discussion about you don’t live here any more and you are under age, you CANNOT live here any more…   he told me he’d come in through a kitchen window, but later discovered that the basement door had been forced open (and damaged in the process *sigh*).

Put in a call to the CAS worker, and another to the police; CAS never did bother to get back to me; the police did… 5 or 6 hours later, but whatever….at least they did show up. And give what I think is likely the best advice we’ve received to date, i.e. to remove the mattresses so that the house will at least be less comfortable for him.

Anyway … stuck around all damn day … talked to T, who claimed he had the truck and helpers … asked me to move my car to let the truck back up to the door… then left to go visit his dog and never bothered to come back.

After I left, got a message demanding that I be there again today at 11 to allow him to move stuff (because I have, apparently, nothing better to do than to hop to when they say) … I work on Fridays… but hubby went down today so they could have taken anything and everything they wanted… but once again, stopped by to say he’d be right back with the van he was going to use this time… left …and that was the last he saw of him.

Fun times!

The mom still hasn’t bothered to talk to me…. two letters full of lies and other assorted nonsense delivered via kids, is all. Perhaps I’ll post them at some point… I take pictures of each letter I get from her, plus my responses.

downstairs bathroomShe can’t seem to grasp the fact that she doesn’t have a leg to stand on here. In addition to the minor little detail that it is MY house and that she signed the rental agreement (complete with initials re: the clause about me retaining the use of the attic with access through the house and the use of the kitchen) and therefore, I have the right to be there whenever I want AND she is not and has never been a tenant as per the RTA …she moved out! A minimum of three weeks ago confirmed – but probably longer than that ago in reality.

Remember up there I mentioned the boyfriend injured the 10yo?  Mom decided that it was unreasonable for her to be expected to break up with him just because the lawyers and CAS worker says he can no longer be anywhere near the child. When he got out of jail, she dumped the kids and moved in with him. Because, you know, priorities.

The house is a disaster – they’ve broken no fewer than 10 windows (lowest quote we have for window replacements is $6,800) so it cannot be heated. There is nothing edible in the cupboards or refrigerator – well, nothing you or I would eat. There are no sinks in the bathrooms, they’ve destroyed the shower stall – oh yeah, and there are no undamaged doors, either…. the place, as it is right now, is not fit for habitation by the cat she left behind, never mind the kids!

She called the ministry of housing today and tried to make something of the fact that I had given her the option – to avoid eviction as of 21-Sept. – to sign an N11 for 31-Oct. Which I did – even though I did not NEED, legally, to go through the formal eviction process (shared kitchen = homeowner can evict immediately, no cause required). I did so in a misguided effort, actually, to impress on her that she REALLY needed to do something about finding another place… to give her time to make arrangements for herself and more importantly for her children. And I was HOPING that the piece of paper would make it easier for her to perhaps access some help via OW or the Peterborough Housing Resource Centre.

Have actually been trying to get her to at least talk to the PHRC ever since I discovered the disaster – for weeks she told me she had a meeting (complete with day & time)… but then when I would ask what they said, she’d say things like oh, they never called me back so I haven’t got an appointment yet. One lie after another.

Anyway, the deal was that she could remain with her kids until the end of October; that she needed to continue to pay the 3/4 of the rent that she was able to pay, and she would ensure no further damages (which should have been doable, since, according to her, D did all the damages and D no longer lived there – that’s why she couldn’t pay the full rent any more).

Except, of course, for the fact that since D has been gone …and since I have been ensuring that I am there at least one/two days a week if not more …. I am fully aware that they have continued to demolish things on a regular basis.  I cleaned up the nail polish SHE herself threw all over the kitchen walls, cupboards, stove & floor. I cleaned the blood off the hall of the stairway.  T broke a couple more windows just cause; the 15yo has demolished 2 more walls, and God only knows who has done all the rest… but suffice to say that even with D gone, the carnage continues.

And STILL we were resigned to waiting until the end of the month to see the back of them!

But when the 18yo kid called and demanded I get in my car and teleport myself to Peterborough to give her her rent cheque back – and when I said sure, but then your mom has to go too and she told me that her mom moved out weeks ago so that was no problem….?  Seems to me that demanding the rent cheques back (mom wants hers too – well no, she, like the kid, wants ME to cash them and give her the money but that’s not happening) …and the fact that she’s abandoned her underage kids there without food, heat, or even the most incompetent modicum of supervision…?

Yeah, you can take that N11 and …well, you know…

CAS doesn’t want the kid(s) there any more than I do.

The police have been through it and have no concerns about my having demanded they vacate.

And the woman from the ministry of housing – once she got past the sob story she was given and heard the truth – washed her hands of the whole mess.

Initially she wanted me to allow them until the 31st to retrieve all their stuff at least – but after a few minutes discussion, she even gave up on that…  agreed to let them know that they need to get what they want this week. Period.

Which would be great, if they only ever followed through. We keep going there so that they CAN get their stuff… but when we get there, buddy comes over and says he’ll be right back with the truck (Thursday) or van (Friday) and then never returns. At this point, we’ve spent an awful lot of time hanging round for their convenience…  done with that. They’ll have to get it at our convenience or it’ll be headed into a dumpster. Soon.

This whole situation is beyond ridiculous and I am SO out of patience.




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Have you seen the mess the freeman-on-the-land left behind?

I watched the tour on CTV …. wow!

She got off awfully easy.

I am, as a matter of fact, quite jealous.

We’ve been talking to realtors and various contractors about our rental property in Peterborough … gathering quotes, figuring out what we’ll need to do to fix the damages our tenants have done.

In the Alberta case, the house was a mess …. but rent a dumpster, fill it up, and give it a good cleaning and it looks like she’ll be good to go.

We, on the other hand, will have to replace every door and window in the house plus  two sinks and a shower stall; drywall a whole lot of walls; and scrub and paint the entire place before it will even be passable for renting, never mind selling.

And we will still be out the appliances that have gone missing – a dishwasher & fridge, both of which were bought new for the house.

We’re easily looking at thousands of dollars – not one cent of which we are ever likely to recover. Again.

Could, I suppose, take her to small claims court and get a judgement … but since she’s on assistance, there doesn’t seem much point to that.  Might do it anyway, just for spite, if she doesn’t get the hell out by the end of the month as promised, though.

I am SO done with landlording in Ontario.

Given the total lack of support for landlords here, there really is no point to it … one bad tenant is all it takes….  and it’s not even that you don’t make money … it costs you. Big time.

And not only that – you get blamed for it. Even though we are not allowed to discriminate, and according to the OHRC we’re not even supposed to ask questions about sources of income, etc…  even though we’re not permitted to find out a prospective tenant’s rental history or criminal record… it’s all, always, the landlord’s fault when things go bad.

In both of my tenant-from-hell cases, we chose to rent to single mom’s in desperate need of housing. Both had enough income to cover the rent, and references.  And both were fine for  about 8 months.

But none of that matters….  I was supposed to look into my crystal ball and see the jackasses they were going to hook up with months/years down the road and refuse to rent to them on that basis.

My bad….  I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball.


What did you think of the freeman-on-the-land situation? Have your say in our forum.


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Another one bites the dust

So ….even though we were just there on Wednesday, hubby went to ~visit~ our house in Peterborough again today….surprise!

We can do that because, according to the tenant agreement, the attic apartment has never been theirs… it is not included in the rental, and I reserved the right to access it whenever the heck I want to – and also to use the main entrance and share the kitchen.

Given the extraordinary level of damage that is being done to our house every time we blink, frequent unannounced visits are definitely necessary.

So anyway … there is this one (relatively new) guy who has been hanging around and expressed interest in renting the place. Has a job and references and all that ~good~ stuff …BUT were leery because of the company he keeps – i.e. the current tenants.

Turns out our reluctance was well-placed…

apparently last night he announced that since we were replacing all the windows anyway, and since he was going to be renovating the house for us (for money) he could do whatever the **** he wanted – and he kicked in one of the few remaining unbroken windows.

Hmmmm… how to win friends, influence potential landlords, eh?

I think we’ll give that deal a pass.


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