I've written a number of posts lately about Ontario tenants
who abuse the system and the calls from the judiciary to have
tenancy laws reformed. A
decision released recently is another
all-too-familiar example of how residential tenants can game the
system to their advantage.
The tenant entered into a one-year lease agreement with the
landlord on July 15, 2015. He took possession of the unit on July
20, 2015. He paid his first and last month's rent but did not
make any of the other rental payments (which were to be $1,400 per
This tenant in this case was "proactive" (if you will)
and brought his own application to the Landlord and Tenant Board
asserting that the landlord damaged his possessions and harassed
him. The purpose of this application was to set-off against the
rental arrears that were owed.
The tenant failed to attend the Case Management Hearing for the
application that he had initiated and his application was
dismissed as abandoned on Nov. 17, 2015.
The landlord's application in respect of the rental arrears
was put over to Dec. 18, 2015 and then again to Jan. 15, 2016 and
once more to Feb. 23, 2016.
The tenant did not attend the hearing on Feb. 23 and the board
ordered the tenant to pay the arrears by March 3, failing which the
landlord would be permitted to file the Termination Order with the
Sheriff to have the tenant evicted.
The tenant did not pay the arrears and was served with the
Termination Order on March 4. Instead of vacating the unit, the
tenant filed a Notice of Appeal on March 10, which automatically
served to stay the pending eviction.
On March 22 the landlord's lawyer advised the tenant that
the landlord would be bringing a motion to have the appeal quashed
and asked the tenant to provide dates in March and April for the
motion. The tenant indicated that his counsel was not available
until the first week of May.
When the motion came up for a hearing on May 11 the tenant
showed up without counsel. The tenant claimed to have not received
the motion materials and sought an adjournment, which was granted
by the court and the matter was put over to May 24.
When the motion was heard on May 24, the landlord put forth
evidence that this was the third case where this particular tenant
had been involved in a landlord and tenant appeal following an
eviction notice, allowing him to live rent free before the appeal
The court found that the tenant's pending appeal had no
merit and quashed the appeal and lifted the stay of the eviction
order. Although the landlord sought partial indemnity costs of
$7,500, the court only awarded the landlord $5,000 in costs.
All in all, the tenant was able to live rent free for 10 months,
at a cost of at least $14,000 to the landlord.
Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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