T Nation

Tenant Issue


#1

I have a tenant that lives in my basement apartment. He moved in December 1 and so far has paid all rent on time and in full. He is the third tenant I've had in the past 5 years. I've never had any issues with my tenants until now.

The apartment isn't huge and is for one person. I've maintained that because I pay the utilities. When I was advertsing for my most recent tenant I turned couples down.

This fellow paid and seems/seemed reasonable. However, since the minute he's moved in, I could hear a woman's voice from downstairs. A couple of times when I came home, I could smell cigarette smoke. I don't allow smoking in the house. When I smoked, I went outside. I make this known before anyone signs a lease agreement. He said he didn't smoke.

I saw him outside smoking one day and went out to mention the smell from the house and to reiterate the no smoking in the house rule. There was some skanky looking chick squatting on the ground by the back door smoking. I asked if she was living there. She said she's my tenants girlfriend/wife. I asked again if she's living here. My tenant said he was going to ask about her moving in. I said, no she couldn't. It's a one person apartment. Since this was two weeks after he moved in, he clearly had no intention of mentioning it and only did because I brought it up. His name is the only one on the lease and she was never mentioned. I found that very sneaky and passive aggressive. Plus he said the smoke was from a lit candle.

I'm pretty sensitive about this because this is my home where I live with my children and I feel like I've been lied to. Plus she is using utilities and costing me more money. I told my tenent, if she continues to stay, I would have to revisit the rent he pays.

I live in a nice home in a nice neighbourhood and suddenly there is this fucked up looking chick smoking in my back yard and hanging around looking like a mental patient.

Before I sound like a psycho myself, I don't try to control my tenants and their guests. I've never had any issues in 5 years but she is clearly living here.

Am I over reacting? Does anyone else have tenants who can offer advice?

Or is this all just creatine rage???? haha


#2

I'm no expert, but it would seem to me that doing anything that is contrary to a clear lease agreement is grounds for eviction.

Have fun with that, though. There are 6 million ways to delay that.


#3

I am going to suggest that you visit this nice page but since your a smart girl I am guessing you have it bookmarked.

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/index.html

But there is a rent raise cap on what you can increase by certain percentage each year. Since you signed it and he did too. This is a legal contract and is the basis for your terms of agreement. Even after the year or term is up.

If its a one bedroom apt and there is a lease he can have anyone he likes stay with him. He can also smoke inside his apt and there is nothing you can do about it.

Also what you did with her letter is grey area legal. Showing them is bad news for you. They can have you charged by the police.

Let me put it to you another way. Say I want to rent an apt from an apt building. 1 bedroom apt. And my mother or sister wants to visit Canada for 6 months. Under the landlord tenant act I can do this. If my sister or mother was a smoker, there are no laws in Canada or Ontario about smoking inside the home.

When you lease an apt from someone in Ontario that dwelling is now their home. You have pretty much no right to tell them what they can or can not do in their privacy. You also have to give 24hr written notice to enter that dwelling you rented out.

The reason I know this is cause in my last apt I rented from a building. I had 4 people in a 2 bedroom apt. The landlord tried to increase the rent for the same reasons you stated and they lost in the tribunal. I was the only one on a 2 bedroom lease.

I am sorry this is not what your looking to hear but that is the facts as I know it.


#4

No I think you are absolutely right. If you have it stated in the lease it is for one person, then he is in the wrong. In the future if you don't have it in there already, you could set a time limit on guests. My landlords have a 3 day limit (they don't really enforce it, but they could if they suspected someone was living there that wasn't on the lease).

And I think that is absolutely awesome that you are taking her mail and returning it to sender :slightly_smiling:


#5

DB I suspect you are right. I didn't have the page book marked but I will check it out. Thanks for the link. I need to see how it affects utilities. Clearly two occupants use more utilities than one.

I wouldn't be so bothered except that it is in my home and I feel like they have been very sneaky. Since they asked if she could move in and I said no, they know there is an issue.


#6

I know I have been to your home I know what kind of setup you have. But you can be issued forms from the tribunal for messing with someones free use of there home.

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111483.html
That is a good section to read.

Here are some ways

Here are quotes from the site...
[i]
Can a tenant be evicted for something that their roommate or a guest they allow into the rental unit does

Yes, a number of the reasons for eviction are based on problems caused by an occupant of the unit (someone that the tenant lets live with them), or a guest that the tenant lets into their building. So, for example, if a tenant?s guest punches a hole in the hallway wall, the landlord could give the tenant a notice of termination and, if the problem isn?t resolved, make an application to the Board to evict the tenant.

Can a tenant be evicted for having a roommate?

No, a tenant cannot be evicted simply for having a roommate. However, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants. For example, if the roommate is making a lot of noise, damaging the unit, or there are too many roommates (overcrowding), the landlord can serve a notice of termination and apply to evict the tenant and any other occupants of the unit.

[/i]

Also about the mail you are harassing and interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of the unit. That is a form 2. Also you admitted it to both of them. That could be bad news. If they find out you did it again. Cause then it shows intent and messing with postal services in Canada is criminal offense and one that could go against you in a tribunal.

I am sorry to tell you all this. I had to do the same with my sister. She rented out her basement apt and she had some idiots. All you can do is follow whats there. Don't get into conflicts with them for any reason. Keep everything professional and document everything they do wrong and serve them notices under the tribunal laws on the site I gave you.


#7

Well, I guess legally you don't have a whole lot of recourse.

If you want him to stop or move out, just make the whole living situation for him as legally uncomfortable as possible. Im sure there are lawyers up in Ontario who know exactly what you can and can't get away with, and the best ways to get some to comply with reasonable requests.


#8

That is awful. I don't know if you care what your neighbors think, but once they see this homely girl, they will wonder what else is going on in your house.


#9

It's funny you say that because that is part of my thought. Not so much what they think but how she appears. My last tenant had construction worker friends who would hang out and I didn't mind them at all. I could give as good as I got and had a laugh with them. This woman looks like a psych patient though and gives me the willies like I may find my cat dead.

I just had a chat with my tenant and happily, he seems altogether uneducated about his rights. He said his girlfriend wasn't living there and I had some conspiracy theory in my head. I enumerated everything that had happened and told him, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a fuckin' duck.

All I know is if I had gotten a look at her before he moved in, he wouldn't be living here.


#10

dont get into yelling matches with a tenant or thier guests . if the situation is not to your liking and you believe that a breach of lease exists , hand it to your attorney .


#11

Get the tuna and shrimp out. plaster the house in it..

they'll move out eventually.

Just make it as hard/intolerable as legally possible for them to live there.

Scott


#12

She sounds scary like coming home to find a stuffed rabbit boiling on the stove scary. That sucks. Bake them some cookies to make up. Lace is with poison. Preemptive strike, problem solved. haha jk :slightly_smiling:


#13

I know you're kidding.

I appreciate everyones advice. Sometimes it helps to get other people's perspective. I've dialed my anger back considerably since this morning. He really isn't a bad guy it's just that his chick creeps me out.

Maybe I'm the one that's the angry psycho. That certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility :slight_smile: I just needed a reality check and your provided that quite nicely DB. Thanks.


#14

You actually said that?

I can picture the lecturing right now :slight_smile:


#15

The smoking depends on what you put in the lease. If no smoking is on the lease, they can't smoke in the apartment.

If it's not on the lease, they're free to smoke, whether you tell them not to or not.

The roommate, i don't know. You can do a background search, and if she's a convicted felon you can kick her out on those grounds, stating you never let felons live there.


#16

Yes. I actually said that. I'm not exactly the sweetest person around.

Also, lately for some reason, I've had a real temper. It's been coming out of the blocks hot and fast. Maybe I should be on medication. I bet the manager at my gym thinks I should be. Last week, he was the one in my gun sights.


#17

Looks like you're between a rock and a hard place.

I guess if asking him to move doesn't work you could try a couple of different routes.

The only quick legal way is to evict on the grounds that you need the space for a family member. The family member must however live there for at least six months.

Basically make there life extermely uncomfortable. Sucks having to do shit like that. It's not like it's a rental property, it's your home and you need to feel comfortable there.


#18

After reading about all this bullshit it's just another reason to not live in Canada. FFS your landlord/tenant laws are almost as bad as the People's Republic of Kalifornia. I'm familiar with US policies by reading the forums at www.reiclub.com They may have some Canuks on there that can help you but it's predominantly American.

I'm not sure how this works in Canada but could you try and file some bullshit and get a restraining order against the wife/girlfriend/skank? Then just have her arrested for trespassing each time she shows up on the property. However, the major downside is the guy will probably skip out on the rent, ruin the unit or both.

Best course of action would be to probably offer him some money or a little free rent to move immediately...shit hire a moving company to pack up his shit for him. This really goes against my personal beliefs but it seems like Canada butt fucks landlords and the tenants have all the rights.


#19

O, is it clearly written into the lease agreement that there is not smoking allowed in the house? There was a similar situation here last year, where a tenant was smoking in a rental unit and where it was a condition of the lease not to smoke in the house.

The landlords took the tenant to court and won the right to evict her, I believe it set some sort of precedent in Canadian rental laws. In Quebec, smoking in your rented housing unit was considered to be a freedom until that case.
Good luck, this is the reason we didn't buy a duplex.


#20

That is very true, getting someone evicted can take a really long time, even if they are not paying the rent. There was a guy hoarding cats in his apartment in our city last year, live and dead ones. The other tenant in the building complained multiple times, but the guy changed his locks and would not give the owner permission to enter the unit.

It took almost a year for her to fight the rental board, but before she won her right to enter into HER property, the police were called in. The smell of decomp was so bad they were sure there was dead bodies in the unit. He had over 60 live cats and a freezer full of dead ones, plus garbage to the roof.

Fucking physco, and the rental board was on HIS side for a long time.