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August 18, 2022, 12:41:16 am

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Common Tenant Problems - Harassment by Landlord

This section is for renters to discuss issues regarding being harassed by their landlords.

You do not have to accept harassment from your landlord or their employees or representatives!  Harassment is something that you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to have redressed, information regarding filing a T2 application at the Landlord and Tenant Board due to harassment is available here.

In addition to this forum there are some terrific information resources available on this topic:

• From Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), Landlord Harassment.

• From Steps to Justice, My landlord is harassing me. What can I do?

Author Topic: My harassment story  (Read 991 times)

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My harassment story
« on: May 05, 2022, 12:35:26 pm »
I have a landlord who plays all sorts of tricks in order to harass tenants. I just finished a long T2 harassment case with the Board that ended with me losing. I've learned a lot from that incident and wanted to share it here so that people in the same situation will find it useful.

My landlord likes to demand money he's not entitled to, then when the tenant refuses to pay, the illegal entries, threats and invasions of privacy start. They started doing this to me a few years ago when they decided that the air conditioner fee on my lease wasn't enough for them. Nasty collection letters, threats of eviction based on false accusations, surprise inspections, demands to get rid of my pets - you name it.

After three years of putting up with this harassment every spring and summer, I finally filed a T2 with the Board in 2019. Months later the hearing took place. I was terrified to present at the in person hearing. The landlord's rep approached me asking if I'd be willing to mediate, so I said yes out of anxiety. I was also afraid my landlord would take reprisals if I won the case. The settlement basically said that the landlord agreed to follow the RTA for entries from then on.

Only four months later in 2020 the landlord was doing a major plumbing repair to replace all the pipes in my walls. I was told to remove all of my belongings from the kitchen and bathroom, and I had to stack them in my living and dining areas. I was told to cage or confine any pets outside the work areas. They ripped the walls and ceilings out of the kitchen and bathroom. There was plaster dust and debris everywhere. I had to cover my two bird cages and put my two small dogs in a pen which was also covered. I tried to cover everything so my belongings wouldn't be exposed. The repairs took two weeks to complete.

Two days into the repairs, my landlord snuck into my apartment while I was home and in the bedroom to stay out of the way of the plumbers. He removed covers from cages and my belongings to snoop underneath. He then served me with a threatening letter demanding that I get rid of all of my pets, and accusing me of flooding the floors, causing vermin, and "harboring caged animals". I was given 5 days to get rid of the pets and "bring my apartment to a habitable state". That letter was the only way I found out that he had illegally entered my apartment.

But it gets better. Less than an hour after I received the letter, an inspector from Ontario Animal Services was at my door demanding to enter and perform a cruelty inspection. You can guess who called them. All he found was dust around the cages (gee, ya think?). There was nothing wrong with my pets and he told me I was taking good care of them, especially under the circumstances.

My landlord came back twice for followup inspections as soon as the work was completed. He rampaged through my apartment in search of a washing machine (I don't have one) and claimed he saw one when he was in my apartment recently. He pointed to my belongings and demanded I get rid of them - my pets, my bicycle, my grocery shopping buggy, even my walker. I was rudely informed that he would keep coming back every two weeks until I got rid of what he wanted. Luckily the lockdowns began.

I wanted to take the landlord to court over this breach. I contacted the local legal clinic and they told me to file an Application to Reopen my previous mediated case. That turned out to be a big mistake. The reason is that the burden of proof to reopen an LTB mediated settlement is much higher than just opening a new T2. You have to convince the Member to reopen before they will hear your case. I had a lot of pieces of evidence for my original 2019 case. I was wrongly told I had to submit them with the Application to Reopen for the 2020 incidents. Then I was wrongly told by duty counsel to submit the old evidence again when it was time for the evidence disclosure for the hearing.

The hearing (May 2/22) was a fiasco. The board Member was in a big hurry and was disorganized and unprepared to hear my case. Despite the fact that I had submitted my evidence a week early, she didn't have a copy of it, and became angry with me because she couldn't find it. I had to resend it to her, then another burst of anger because there were so many pieces of evidence. I tried to get her to look at the Evidence table of contents I had submitted (required by the Board when you submit evidence) and she couldn't find that either.

The Member only ended up looking at one piece of my evidence, the threat letter the landlord served to me after his illegal secret inspection. The landlord's rep was a drama queen, trying to start arguments with me, throwing hissy fits and interrupting any time I said anything against his client. If he wasn't interrupting me, the Member was. I don't think I was able to complete a single sentence at any time in the hearing. He started whining that I had no proof that the landlord had entered my apartment illegally because the letter began "It has come to our attention". He tried to accuse the plumbers and anyone else he could think of, of snooping and reporting to the landlord. The Member demanded to know if I had any evidence proving the landlord was the one who entered, I told her he admitted it to my face. She claimed that's not evidence and shut down my application. By the way, under the RTA a landlord is responsible for the actions of the people he hires, so even if the plumbers were the ones who ransacked my belongings, the landlord would have been responsible anyway.

Lessons Learned
- NEVER mediate a T2 case. The landlord will just sign it in bad faith and then reoffend, and then get away with it because it's so hard to get a Member to reopen a mediated case. Landlords try and talk a tenant into mediating at the last minute because it's to their advantage, not yours. If you do mediate and they reoffend, just open a new T2 and mention the file number of your first application so they know this isn't the first offense.
- Make sure your evidence is brief, organized and relevant. If you have a group of items that relate to each other (like right of entry notices all connected to the same issue), you can merge them into one PDF file. You can also use video and sound recordings as evidence.
- Consider getting a doorbell/peephole camera, this will document any entries AND it also documents what time or if a landlord served a notice. Also consider cameras for inside your apartment. Install them where they are easily seen so whoever enters knows they're being filmed (prevents illegal behaviours)
- keep all correspondence from the landlord for at least a year. That includes instructions if they're doing repair work in your unit. You never know when you might need proof of illegal behaviour. If you have access to a scanner, scan them and save them electronically.
- be very wary if a landlord or their contractor is doing repairs in your apartment, video, pics and document everything. If you can, supervise and escort anyone who enters your suite for any reason.
- take legal advice from duty counsel or legal clinics with a grain of salt. These are not lawyers, they are students for the most part. Their advice is not infallible. Do some research on your own to verify their advice.


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Re: My harassment story
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2022, 10:01:25 am »

That's not right.

If u have a disability under the human rights code you may want to pursue that avenue.

There is a very extensive policy paper, ableism and human rights. Google it.

It is also my understanding that the Ontario Human Rights Code is superior to all other laws unless specified.

That is in the policy as well.

My experience with the oltb at an agi hearing was disastrous

They didn't accept email evidence and would not allow me to participate in virtual mediation.

What I can't understand, is they bought properties with investors in 2017.

Offered investors 122% return over 5 years.

Spent over a million for cap expenditures. Wasn't ordered.

Know they put application to demolish buildings and build condos.



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