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Locked: Landlord's house destroyed. Tenants criminally charged

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  • May 9th, 2009 9:26 am
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Apr 30, 2009
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Landlord's house destroyed. Tenants criminally charged

The women Darlene Rich showed through her Newtonville rental home more than a year ago were incredibly, notably polite.

Ms. Rich now believes that should have been her first clue things were going to go terribly wrong.

"I knew they weren't doctors and lawyers and such, but they were very polite," she said.

But, since renting the home to a family of four which eventually grew to include eight or nine people and a menagerie of animals --- including an array of birds housed in an antique display case owned by Ms. Rich, from which the glass was removed, replaced with some sort of wire --- she's found out from other landlords that tenants who might eventually be trouble "over-do the politeness."

It wasn't long before Ms. Rich felt there were problems, enough that she began eviction proceedings. She says she first served the tenants with notice in January, 2008. But, in large part because of stipulations of the Residential Tenancies Act, getting them out became a protracted exercise.

After appearing before the Landlord and Tenant Board multiple times, she was finally successful in getting them out --- but it took 14 months. The house was finally vacated March 31.

And what Ms. Rich and her husband, Pete Gareau, found when they were able to get into the once-stately century home is enough to lead them to believe they were more than justified in their many attempts to evict.

Walking in the front door of the Hwy. 2 home, the smell of animal urine and feces is over-powering. Windows, which Ms. Rich said they just fixed a few months ago, are broken and filthy. A torn playpen, with an unused toddler training diaper in it, sits alone in a room. In carpeted areas, stains and stench remain, presumably from the many dogs and cats Ms. Rich says were living in the house. The animals' presence is even more evident in the side yard, where landscaping has been torn up, and huge piles of animal feces dot the ground. In both the back room and the adjacent barn, garbage is piled high --- never was any garbage placed at the curb, Ms. Rich said.

But, the most disturbing remnants of the tenants is found in the blood-stained garage. There, it seems, a deer was butchered, much of it left behind. Entrails have been stuffed into a recycling bin; deer hide is stretched on the floor. A table and garage sale sign are coated in blood.

A blood-stained machete hangs by the door. There's an orange tarp covering something, but Ms. Rich is afraid to lift it and find out what.

The Ministry of Natural Resources was called in to investigate. Because the deer had a broken leg, it's believed it was road-kill, so from the ministry's perspective "there's nothing to indicate anything illegal had been done," spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said.

Beyond the deer mess, there is an array of broken appliances -- among them a number of stoves that appear to have experienced some sort of explosion and a dryer, a marijuana bong inside -- in the garage.

Every light fixture and even many of the light bulbs in the house have been removed. Each of the two toilets has been rigged to run continuously --- which will be Ms. Rich's problem since water bills can't be put in tenants' names.

"I'm terrified to find out what the water bill is going to be," she said.

Even the mirrors have been removed from bathroom walls. Sand was dumped into the toilets.

"Every single door frame" in the house is broken, Ms. Rich said, pointing to one cracked frame.

"They're 150-year-old door frames," she said. "They've been here 150 years. It took these people a few months to destroy them."

Beyond that, the house is largely empty -- another problem, since it was rented furnished. Ms. Rich called Durham Regional Police, alleging the tenants were packing her items onto a moving truck.

In all, it's a far cry from the "before" pictures, taken prior to the tenants moving in, Ms. Rich has.

The matter is under investigation, DRPS spokeswoman Nancy van Rooy said.

The experience has been draining --- mentally and financially, Ms. Rich said. She's not sure what it will cost to make the century home inhabitable again, but expects it to run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"We bought this house as an investment, thinking somewhere down the road, it could have some commercial potential," she said. "It's gut-wrenching to go through this whole process."

Ms. Rich said she and her husband wound up in front of the Landlord and Tenant tribunal several times as they attempted to evict. On occasion, they were asked to make repairs to the home. Each time, they left unable to evict, something Ms. Rich blames on the act governing landlord and tenant issues.

"The Residential Tenancy Act of 2006 --- it's been changed, and a lot, not for the better," Ms. Rich said.

The experience has left her feeling as if "landlords have no rights," she added.

It's not a feeling she'll repeat.

"We will never be landlords again," Ms. Rich said.

http://newsdurhamregion.com/news/clarin ... cle/123419


I found this internesting: The tenants were criminally charged.

[QUOTE]Jennifer Crosbie, 28, of Oshawa, and Russell Breathat, 35, of Clarington, are charged with occupant injuring a building, and theft over $5,000.[/QUOTE]

http://newsdurhamregion.com/news/clarin ... cle/124224
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18 replies
Member
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Jul 25, 2008
369 posts
5 upvotes
Omg, that's just so disturbing. It's unfortunate that landlords have so few rights when it comes to cases like these.
[OP]
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Apr 30, 2009
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licious wrote:
May 2nd, 2009 7:25 am
Omg, that's just so disturbing. It's unfortunate that landlords have so few rights when it comes to cases like these.
I agree.

Who will invest in this sector when people can rob you blind with government protection.
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Jul 26, 2006
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Scarborough
It's unfortunate that tenants like that can take advantage of you, and I feel for Ms. Rich, however, there are far too many Slumlords who don't properly maintain their properties. I was at the L&TT last year, and let me tell you, out of the 10 cases heard, mine was the ONLY ONE where the tenant (me) was granted anything. In every other case, the landlord steamrolled over the tenant.

Now, I agree that these tenants should not have had the chance to do what they did, but until someone can get a copy of the L&TT packet, we can't say if the Member was correct in his/her decision. However, I'm glad they are going after this woman criminally to charge her for damage, and theft.
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Nov 6, 2005
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White trash?
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Apr 1, 2004
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Personally, a big part of the problem is that the act covers both big and small landlords with the same rules. Working from the presumption that there's a fundamental dichotomy in bargaining power between landlords and tenants that justifies government regulation of the tenancy relationship, there's still a wide variety in the types of landlords (small investors with 1 or 2 units vs. giant corporations with tens of thousands of units). I tend to think rules that may apply to the giant corporations aren't quite the same that should apply to an individual landlord.
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Aug 9, 2004
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_Allan_ wrote:
May 2nd, 2009 9:22 am
It's unfortunate that tenants like that can take advantage of you, and I feel for Ms. Rich, however, there are far too many Slumlords who don't properly maintain their properties. I was at the L&TT last year, and let me tell you, out of the 10 cases heard, mine was the ONLY ONE where the tenant (me) was granted anything. In every other case, the landlord steamrolled over the tenant.

Now, I agree that these tenants should not have had the chance to do what they did, but until someone can get a copy of the L&TT packet, we can't say if the Member was correct in his/her decision. However, I'm glad they are going after this woman criminally to charge her for damage, and theft.
The big difference here, is that a tenant with a rotten landlord can move out pretty easily, and is at most out a couple hundred bucks. Whereas a landlord can be stuck with a nightmare tenant for months, and lose 10's of thousands, or in some cases, over a $100,000 (grow ops). not all landlords are rich fat cats. Many are working stiffs, have mortgages on their properties and just chose to invest in real estate instead of the stock market, rrsps, etc. A bad tenant can have the same impact to them as a stock market crash...worse actually. At least when your stocks crash you dont have to pay out of pocket ASAP to "fix them" again.

This deadbeat probably cost the landlord a significant portion of her life savings, and will most likely not pay a dime after declaring bankruptcy.
but until someone can get a copy of the L&TT packet
what could possibly be in the packet you are referring to that would justify the actions (destruction and theft) of the tenant in this case?
Thanks for the memories, RFD.
Good-bye.
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Nov 17, 2007
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We purchased a property (where we have our business) and it has an apartment above it which had tenants when we purchased the building. The people were losers. They had two babies and the guy used to beat the crap out of his girlfriend on a regular basis, from the looks of her face and the constant black eyes.

We were able to finally get them to move, but did it in a friendly manner so as to not provoke any stupid moves on their part. I'll never forget the day I went into the apartment to check it out, after they moved. I had to cover my mouth and nose as it stunk to high heaven. It was filthy. I opened the fridge and gagged at the disgusting mess that was in it. If I was dying of thirst, and there was an unopened bottle of water in that fridge, I'd not drink it, it was that dirty.

The bathroom was unbelievable. The toilet was like nothing I'd ever seen. Again, I'd have peed my pants before I'd put my behind even 10 inches near that disgusting thing. We had to gut the bathroom and replace everything. We replaced the appliances too as there was no way I was going anywhere near them to clean them.

These people were pigs, plain and simple and the saddest thing was they had two little babies that would have been crawling around in that squalor. Funny thing though was my husband knows the father of the guy who was renting. When he came in, hubby said to him, "geez Eddie, you son is a pig. You should see the disgusting way he left the apartment. It's going to cost me big money to fix the place up". So Eddie gets all angry, saying, that little SOB, what the heck is wrong with that kid, blah blah blah.........all put off with his kid. So then he went up to the apartment with one of our employees to see for himself, what a pig his son was and while up there, he was all "geez, this doesn't looks so bad, what the heck is Joe talking about?"

So, further proof that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. LOL That was around 8 years ago and lucky for us we have not had any problems with any of our tenants but unfortunately we have to rerent it effective this month as our tenant bought a house. He is a great guy but it's his time to move on. We had a few people come to see the apartment and I can tell you I'm not thrilled with the ones we've seen so far. I know you can't judge a book by it's cover, but OY.

I've heard of all sorts of other horror stores that don't favour the landlord.
Newbie
Sep 8, 2008
5 posts
Eastern Ontario
We had the same thing happen to us but not nearly as severe.

Our house was not as nice but tenants still managed to do damage and left owing thousands in arrears. We filed 3 times for arrears (twice they paid up and got to stay) and once for some damage which they were supposed to fix which they didn't. Third time arrears we got them evicted. We had to garnish her pay after we found were she moved to and where she worked, but after collecting half of the arrears and not yet even preparing the small claims court case, she filed for bankruptcy.

Would anybody know if I can still file at the the small claims court for damages since this debt does not exist yet and hence can't be discharged like all the other debts?
It may be a few years before she gets discharged since it is her second BK and she must go to court to get discharged.

This happens all the time in Ontario and unfortunately the good tenants end up paying higher rents to cover the costs lost from uncollectable tenants.
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May 31, 2007
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I am becoming a landlord for the first time on Monday, I hate reading these stories. I am doing a surprise visit to their apartment tomorow to see what their apartment looks like when they open the door.

What tricks and tips have you guys learned over the year to protect yourself?
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Nov 13, 2008
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Jungle wrote:
May 3rd, 2009 3:00 pm
I am becoming a landlord for the first time on Monday, I hate reading these stories. I am doing a surprise visit to their apartment tomorow to see what their apartment looks like when they open the door.

What tricks and tips have you guys learned over the year to protect yourself?
I'm not sure landlords are allowed surprise visits.
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Dec 6, 2004
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EmperorOfCanada wrote:
May 3rd, 2009 3:26 pm
I'm not sure landlords are allowed surprise visits.
Yeah landlords have to give 24 hours notice before visiting.
Heatware: spikyazn (11-0-0)
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May 31, 2007
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EmperorOfCanada wrote:
May 3rd, 2009 3:26 pm
I'm not sure landlords are allowed surprise visits.
This is a surprise visit to their "current apartment" that they are "moving from". I am not the landlord there.
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Aug 9, 2004
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Jungle wrote:
May 3rd, 2009 3:00 pm
I am becoming a landlord for the first time on Monday, I hate reading these stories. I am doing a surprise visit to their apartment tomorow to see what their apartment looks like when they open the door.

What tricks and tips have you guys learned over the year to protect yourself?
I like to surprise visit someone place BEFORE giving them posession. For example, when interviewing a tenant, I'll intentionally forget to ask a question on the appllication, then pop by saying "I forgot to ask one of the questions on the form, and was in the neighborhood....".

Not many other "tricks" really. Its all just a gamble.
Thanks for the memories, RFD.
Good-bye.
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Nov 22, 2004
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^that is an awesome idea, will keep that in mind

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