My landlord kept evading the City of Toronto Building Inspector, who came looking for him many times. I saw him taking notes on the fire escape. I bet he needed more paper to describe the visible issues.
I decided to file a complaint with the Landlord/Tenant Board. I was really mad about the extra Hydro I had been paying, and all the other issues. I read the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act backwards and forwards.
The lease I had signed looked official. It had the logo of the Toronto Real Estate Board on it. One thing I had not done, that was in my lease, was get apartment insurance. The ORTA states that if you agree to something in the rental agreement – even if it is not a legal clause – then if you do not abide by this you could be evicted. By law a landlord cannot make you get insurance – but I had agreed to this, sigh.
I went to an insurance broker and explained what I needed. I brought my lease with me. He read it, then read it again and sort of sputtered. He excused himself to run around the office to show this to his colleagues. When he came back he explained what was going on. While my lease said that I had to get apartment insurance, with a value of $ 30,000, this insurance was to be made payable to my LANDLORD !!! Incredible. He sold me a policy, payable to me.
This revelation made me more creeped out about my asshole landlord. Was he going to burn the building down to collect on insurance – his and mine ? This clause was not an accident.
The woman upstairs came with me to a couple of meetings at the Landlord/Tenant Board. Her situation was a little different in that they had been paying extra rent for the child, who had never come to live with them. There had also been ongoing issues with a lack of heat and other stuff. She found the whole experience of just going to the office super stressful. She said she was going to file but I guess she never did. They moved out soon after.
I didn’t want to file, but I also felt that my landlord had acted in extremely bad faith. He had to know that I would be paying for the water heater electricity ?
After he was given his notice to appear the landlord was really angry. I was, too. He offered me $ 1000.00 to move out. This was not even one months rent ! He threatened to evict me and said he was going to move in. He tried all kinds of things. I would not speak with him on the phone, and would only communicate via email, so that I had a record of who said what to whom, when.
Meanwhile I started looking for another apartment. I hated the constant viewings and the stress. A couple of apartments in the area came up, in the same price range. I went to look at one, but it was just as bad, and the actual situation seemed sketchy with the person leasing it not being the landlord. Paying for movers was also expensive.
The hearing at the Landlord/Tenant office was pretty unpleasant. The landlord didn’t show up, and sent a paralegal, Fatima, to represent him. She claimed that he had a previously booked flight to Greece and Egypt, which was non-refundable, and that he was at the airport, waiting to board. She showed what was allegedly his flight itinerary to prove this. This all seemed very odd as I knew that a conditional offer had been made on the building. Why would he leave the country while this was happening ?
He was allowed to appear via speakerphone. The mediator seemed like he intensely disliked me. I had prepared notes, and had organized copies of hydro bills, emails, a letter from the electrician. Despite his dislike, I guess my actual documentation helped. I was granted one month’s rent ($ 1500.00) to compensate me for the excess hydro bills, which had violated my rights.
The landlord attempted many ridiculous angles, claiming that I had no right to have any contents on the “deck”, and that it wasn’t a deck but a rooftop. I had the Realtor.ca listing which described this “600 sq ft communal deck”. I guess that helped. In the meantime I had locked up the vintage patio furniture that was indeed, on “the deck” as the landlord had approved when I moved in. I also had photos of the deck from all angles to better illustrate this, and my contents thereof. That argument went nowhere. Sheesh.