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Need Help - dealing with unauthorized lien on property title - Ontario Home Services / Home Trust Company

[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote

Need Help - dealing with unauthorized lien on property title - Ontario Home Services / Home Trust Company

Hi All,
I'm pretty much new here, and I was searching online and stumbled upon several posts who got scammed about these Home Services offering installation of AC / Hepa Filter cleaner.
So lets get to the story right away. I rented my house in Brampton Ontario and I didn't have problem with my tenants. They were decent people and paid on time and no issues at all.

Now, fast forward this year of March 2018, I decided to sell my house only to find a week before closing date that I have a lien against my property title that I didn't authorized at all.
Looking at it, it's saying about "Hepa Filter Air Conditioner". For some reason Ontario Home Services managed to have my tenants to agree to install an AC in my property while telling them that they won't be paying anything. From my tenants understanding, they were already paying the "Enercare" maintenance plan and the sales agent made it sound that it's part of it. Anyhow I'm trying to get more info about this fiasco since I only have about a week left to clear or have this lien removed on my property which by any means it's impossible to do so.
Somehow, Ontario Home services managed to issue a contract that apparently has my authorization which is hilarious because I didn't sign any contract and I did not see any contract.

I ended up contacting both Home Trust Company and Ontario Home Services. I questioned them how did they managed to issue a contract and also register a lien on my property title without my authorization and without me knowing this. I only found out to my tenant that they are paying around $300 a month on their enbridge bill due to additional charges that Ontario Home Services managed to add a week before my house closing date May 2018. I pretty much got the "Pass around" scenario between them. I called Home Trust Company and spoke to an agent about the lien they registered against my property and they told me that their managers just told them to do so and they just follow it without even a question. I was told by their agent to call Ontario Home Services about this which didn't get me anywhere. The most annoying part was that the Ontario Home Services agent told me "Well, you signed a contract and it's under your name or somebody did authorize it and it's showing your name". I told them I did not see any contract and I did not agree to any contract. I asked them, if they even verified the person who signed it; I was told "well, we didn't". The agent then tells me that signature pretty much don't mean a thing since they can't even verify my real signature to begin with.
So this is where I am getting totally pissed.
I spoke to my tenant about this; my tenant told me they don't remember signing any contract, and the agent from Ontario Home Services basically just asked them about my name(landlord) and they issue them a receipt of installation??? I asked them about a contract if they did sign and they told me they didn't sign any. However, they gave them bunch of papers which I have to see and I am waiting to see especially the "Signature" part. They were told by the agent that they're getting this install for free and they shoudn't get any bill. It seems that the AC was installed around summer 2017 time and they were told they are doing maintenance; my tenant was under the impression it's part of the "enercare" maintenance package that they paying and it covers it. Here's the funny part, around November, that's when they finally got a visit from a manager from ontario home services to pay up or just add it in their Enbridge monthly bill and they have to pay around $10000+ worth of charges and now it's part of their monthly bill. Real Smooth play by this company and somehow, lien was registered against my property on Nov 2017. Come to think of it, who does install of AC during November month? So it seems that they purposely let the bill to be unpaid for few months until they could register a lien against my property.
The sad part of this was how I just ended up finding about this lien today, and since it's attached to my house I am responsible to deal with it and work my old tenant.

What I don't understand is how this company "Ontario Home Services" can just issue a contract without the real owner of the house even while my tenant told them multiple occasions that they are only "tenants and renting" and the owner is not available. I asked them to send me a copy of the contract they told me they will email it to after I provided them my email address. The funny part, they didn't even email anything. Seriously? Especially I told them, I want to see the part at which it shows that I signed the contract?
Totally a scammer company. Who the heck deals with tenants to install something and managed to register a lien against the property title. By the way below is break down of the AC install.

AC Cost - $6858.52
Hepa Filter System - $5143.89
By the way my house is only a 1000 sqft house.

AC cost that much? That's super crazy.

I hope this serves a warning to landlords out there. Before you sell your property, ask your lawyer to do a title search right away to see if there's any unauthorized lien against your house.
I'll definitely be doing more research on this because there's no way I will let them get a way with $12000 worth of hard earned cash.
Last edited by hypercool on May 24th, 2018 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
21 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 24, 2012
5358 posts
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Space
Sounds like you’ll be suing the tenants. Unfortunately you’re pretty screwed at the moment. I’d pay the cancellation or remaining balance and then go after the tenants or the company(ies) that perpetuated fraud.
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
1766 posts
789 upvotes
Alliston, ON
How did the tenants install an AC and air filtration system without first checking with you, the owner of the house?? Something doesn't seem right there.

This isn't something that will be resolved in a week, you'll likely have to pay them off to get the lein removed so your house can close
Deal Addict
Nov 18, 2005
4639 posts
1035 upvotes
Kitchener
You didn't notice a new ac at your house?
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
Well here's the thing, As part of the lease, they had to get an Enercare/Enbridge Maintenance plan for our furnace which will take care of the issue if there ever is a problem with the furnace.
When I visited the site lat 2017 summer; they told me they installed a new filter which I have seen and it was just this little box at the HVAC vent. I was told by them that it was part of the maintenance from Enercare so was I told by my old tenant. As for the AC part, I believe I was out of the area since I actually live outside the province. They told me the tech replaced the fan on the AC because it broke??? I was ok, are you sure it was just the fan, yes and they again told me, they were advised it was part of the enercare maintenance. Regardless, even if they installed these items, my tenant told them we are not the owners and they are not signing a contract. By the looks of this, these scammer company just asked for my name from my tenant and gave them a receipt. Then few months later showed up on their door asking them to pay up or just put the bill in their enbridge monthly plan. Part of me just want to punch the crap of myself since it should have clued in and question if the AC was replaced at all. The sad part was, my old tenant, as nice as they are, they are pretty much clueless as to who knocks on their door offering them stuff whether it's legit or not. Yes you are right, this won't be solve in a week. The issue here is who signed for that loan? I am pretty sure I did see any paper work nor I signed any contract. And it's sad to think any company can just put a lien against your property without you knowing it an no authorization. It's really a shrewd business.
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
That's what my lawyer told me too. put a hold on the trust fund for now to satisfy the condition from my buyer then do some more digging to find out who the heck these guys are. Even if I have to go public I will. The fact that from my tenants point of view, they told them they are only tenants and the landlord does not live here. Yet they insist and mislead my tenant telling them it's free and won't cost a thing only to come back few months later with hefty bill. Very expensive mistake. The sad part of having a rental property outside province.
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
I wish I did visited the site after the fact. However I visited it before they installed it. These guys are real slick implementing scam.
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 8, 2007
6400 posts
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Way Out of GTA
Solsearchin1 wrote:
May 25th, 2018 1:10 am
Sounds like you’ll be suing the tenants. Unfortunately you’re pretty screwed at the moment. I’d pay the cancellation or remaining balance and then go after the tenants or the company(ies) that perpetuated fraud.
A quick search on that company an it's easy to see this isn't a isolated case. And abusing the lien system is very easy for these con artists to do. OP is in a bad spot here. They've been known to target those with poor English or just plain simple people.

I am a supporter of banning all rentals of waterheaters, furnaces, etc. It's one thing buyer beware, but the legacy of scammy practices and the nasty contract terms make it clear...we would all be better off if the whole practice was banned.

tricked-ontario-consumers-home-services-1416490/

I can't make the situation more clear than this post:
https://www.reddit.com/r/toronto/commen ... ices_scam/

Also:
Lesser known than the door-to-door scam is the Assignment and Assumption Agreement (henceforth referred to as "Agreement"). If you are buying a house and asked to sign an Agreement for a rented furnace and/or air conditioner make sure you see the contract you are assuming. The agreement will only have the monthly rental amount and mention "the Term". "Postponement of lodgement" will also appear on closing documents. UtilEbill Credit Corp. (under CW Maxium) creates the Agreement, but Ontario Home Services Inc. may have gotten the original homeowners to sign a rental contract at the door. The original contract has the terms and conditions you will be bound by. These terms can include a 10 year rental period, yearly interest increases, the ability to put a lien on your home without having to notify you, a $20,000 buyout, etc. You will not be protected by the Consumer Protection Act b/c if you have a lawyer you won't be considered to have a lack of information or bargaining power. If the Agreement is present the previous homeowners don't have to give you the original contract nor does your lawyer have to request it since it is assumed you know you are assuming the original contract or "the Term"
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
2018 posts
1411 upvotes
hypercool wrote:
May 24th, 2018 11:27 pm
...
For some reason Ontario Home Services managed to have my tenants to agree to install an AC in my property while telling them that they won't be paying anything. From my tenants understanding, they were already paying the "Enercare" maintenance plan and the sales agent made it sound that it's part of it.

...The most annoying part was that the Ontario Home Services agent told me "Well, you signed a contract and it's under your name or somebody did authorize it and it's showing your name". I told them I did not see any contract and I did not agree to any contract. ...
Reads to me like you are a victim of a fraud. It may be intentional or unintentional.

And while your tenants do not "remember" signing any contract, it is obvious that the transaction happened between the company and your tenant. Someone had to sign the work authorization form and in all probability it was your tenant. Perhaps when talking to your tenant about it you should stop referring to it as a "contract" and just asked if they signed anything?

Time to talk to a lawyer to see what your options are.
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
It was definitely a well lay out scam. Unfortunately my tenant for the lack of better term, I'd say decent people but very naive. It's still amazing how they managed to issue the rental contract. For some reason they managed or whomever issued it, declared my tenant as my spouse which is strange because my tenant is also married. They probably realized a month or two later that my tenant is not my spouse and they made my tenant sign a "Mutual Release and Indemnity" papers which is invalid because they put my name and my tenant's name beside each other on signature block as well but I don't have my signature with it only my tenant's signature. When my tenant told me about it, they got a visit from one of the managers? from ontario home services asking them to pay up around $10000+ or sign the Mutual Release and Indemnity which will put the bill as installment plan with their enbridge monthly billing. So they pretty much got scared and just signed their life away with it. Talking about a way to totally mislead someone The sad part was that my tenant did not contact me at all prior to signing this. This is the sad part of this. Gathering all the evidence that there's no way at all that I authorize this transaction.
Member
User avatar
Feb 25, 2004
488 posts
99 upvotes
Longueuil
Solsearchin1 wrote:
May 25th, 2018 1:10 am
Sounds like you’ll be suing the tenants. Unfortunately you’re pretty screwed at the moment. I’d pay the cancellation or remaining balance and then go after the tenants or the company(ies) that perpetuated fraud.
Why would he sue the tenants? Whether the tenants did a mistake or not seems irrelevent to me since they don't have the power to decide to have an AC system installed. To me, it looks like Ontario Home Services didn't do a proper check and simply ended up with an invalid contract that is completely worthless. They are the ones that did the mistake (honest mistake or fraud, you decide), I don't understand how they can do anything without a valid contract.
Try not! Do or do not, there is no try...
Newbie
Jun 18, 2018
1 posts
Hi, I have the same problem with you. a sales man came to my house on Feburary, and said my AC and Furnace had security problem,and can be replaced for free. but Home Trust company register a lien on my house for 10 years (180$ per month). I really need help to proceed. could you give me a ping?
Newbie
Aug 8, 2018
1 posts
Hi, I’m currently dealing with the exact same situation. They’ve supposedly put a lien on my property. How are you currently dealing with this? I’d appreciate any help I can get
[OP]
Newbie
May 23, 2018
5 posts
1 upvote
Oh mine was a sh!t show. I managed to basically resolved it but I offered them to buy out the overpriced hardware that they installed. Technically I could go after them since someone forged my signature. After all said and done I ended up paying 5K to remove the lien of 17K under my house. Talk to them, and if they did something illegal or fishy, point it to them and have them resolve the issue. They are going to offer you some sort of exit payment but you can probably haggle the price down. My house was closing soon for sale so I had no choice but to just agree to pay the 5K. Otherwise I would have been stuck with a very long legal battle. I hope that helps.
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
2689 posts
804 upvotes
Newmarket
hypercool wrote:
Nov 26th, 2018 7:12 pm
Oh mine was a sh!t show. I managed to basically resolved it but I offered them to buy out the overpriced hardware that they installed. Technically I could go after them since someone forged my signature. After all said and done I ended up paying 5K to remove the lien of 17K under my house. Talk to them, and if they did something illegal or fishy, point it to them and have them resolve the issue. They are going to offer you some sort of exit payment but you can probably haggle the price down. My house was closing soon for sale so I had no choice but to just agree to pay the 5K. Otherwise I would have been stuck with a very long legal battle. I hope that helps.
Couldn't you take them now to small claims with all your evidence?

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