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Landlord and "tenant" issues. Need advice..

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  • Sep 30th, 2019 9:29 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Sep 26, 2019
2 posts
GTA

Landlord and "tenant" issues. Need advice..

Hi. This is my first time posting here and I don't really know if this is the best sub-forum for my thread so please forgive me. This is in the Greater Toronto Area and I'd like any advice on what to do how to move forward.

My parents have a living space in our basement renovated to a basement apartment (1 bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and access to our laundry room that's also down there containing OUR freezer storage too).

We've legally had legal documents with previous tenants in the past 10+ years we've lived here, between the landlord (us) and tenants. This is the first time someone makes a mountain out of a nothing burger.

This current "tenant" (we have no legal documents or lease agreement with this person) is basically a long term guest that pays $850 CAD, all utilities included (water, electricity, Internet). We'll call this tenant "roastie".

She has only been here for no more than 4 months, around the beginning of Summer. While our family was searching for a legal tenant to rent to, my brother had a suggestion and was doing a previous friend a favor, and had him move him. He is/was this current "tenant"'s boyfriend. However, they are no longer friends especially after what happened and which I'll get into.

With the "rental" fee she pays us monthly, she has been extremely entitled and disrespectful feeling as if we had invaded her private space (we have to go through her kitchen to get to our laundry room).

Our family's laundry day is usually Saturday. She doesn't like it when we have to go downstairs through her kitchen to get to our laundry room, especially when we want to retrieve frozen food (meat) from our freezer. The thing is, this laundry room is also where the heater is too.

Even though this had never been a problem with us in the past 10+ years of legally renting it out, we agreed and negotiated to a schedule on when both parties (landlord + family and tenant) would be doing laundry. That happened within the past few weeks. However, just last night everything took a sudden nosedive.

After my parents came home from work, my mother had a doctor's appointment. That's when I heard a cordless drill spinning at the only door inside our house that allows us access to the basement (other than the outside side door) to do our laundry and retrieve/store whatever we need in our freezer in the laundry/heating room. I knew what was going on because she had previously threatened to install a lock without our consent on that same door, but on their side.

I unlocked it from our side, opened the door and asked them what she was doing. She was howling like a banshee, throwing profanity and screaming in my face as I literally just put my foot in the door and arm to prevent her from closing the door. As she screamed, she tried to push the door with my foot in the way, turning the cordless drill off. Argument and yelling had ensued and she threatened to call the police, which I told her to do so. Our neighbours saw and heard because Roastie and her friend had opened the side door during the argument.

I dialed 9-1-1 shortly after and told the operator that the "tenant" was installing an unauthorized lock on our door without our consent or permission. It was premeditated because they had waited for my parents to leave. The operator told me that there would be police coming and told me to stay away from her - I never went past my doorframe and stayed on my side of the door. They (likely) had also told her the same because the operator had told me that they received a call just earlier from our address.

Later in the evening, they knocked on our front door to talk to us. Her boyfriend or ex boyfriend, the person that my brother had done a favor by letting him stay for a little while before this Roastie was with her. I should have recorded video with my phone and I regret not having done so. I was called "aggressive" when all I did was stand with my foot literally in the door, with her attempting to crush it with my own door. They also said despite calling the cops, they did not want to talk to them anymore or want them to come anymore.

Not too long after, they powered up the cordless drill to put a lock on their side. I argued with my parents and I told them that they can't do that without our consent. They let it happen. We still have the "schedule" negotiated (Saturdays at 12pm we go downstairs to do the laundry) and that she'll unlock it for us. However, she is a liar and is completely delusional when trying to frame her narrative.

I received a voice mail from the police operator saying that they did not have any officers available to come by to our house to deal with the incident and provided me with a number and extension to arrange one. I personally do not think the police should be involved unless it gets out of hand and that this is a waste of police time and resources.

I'll answer any more questions regarding this if you guys have any, but I'm completely unsure on what to do or where to turn to - the same with my brother and parents. One thing's for sure though, we'll break the lock and door if we have to just to do laundry if they don't have it unlocked in our agreed schedule.
15 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
13002 posts
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Edmonton
Here's my take...

The tenant is entitled to privacy in their unit. As per the RTA (I believe it qualifies in your case, since you share neither a bathroom or kitchen), you need to give written notice to enter their unit. You have been breaking the RTA by not doing so, and the tenant is attempting to protect their privacy by installing a lock to keep you out. I don't blame her, to be honest.

Second, you violated the RTA by opening their door without their permission and questioning her about the lock. Again, the basement is HER space while she's renting from you, whether you put "rent" in quotes or not. Keeping your foot in the door to prevent her from closing it is another example.

If you (or she) take this to the LTB, I don't think it will go well for you. If you don't want to be a landlord, stop renting out your basement. Take it back for personal use and adjust your budget to compensate. Otherwise, do a remodel to allow you to get to the shared space without traipsing through the tenant's kitchen.

C
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
6477 posts
3484 upvotes
Toronto
tekz77 wrote: I'll answer any more questions regarding this if you guys have any, but I'm completely unsure on what to do or where to turn to - the same with my brother and parents. One thing's for sure though, we'll break the lock and door if we have to just to do laundry if they don't have it unlocked in our agreed schedule.
I sympathize, and there's a lot here that needs to be addressed, but first and foremost she is an actual tenant if she doesn't share a bathroom or kitchen with you (laundry doesn't count), and therefore I strongly suggest not breaking into someone's home just to get to something of yours that's stored inside. The RTA appears to apply, and so you should approach this like a landlord/tenant business relationship, not just it's some disrespectful person living in your house so you can do what you want with them. It's pretty unwise to have no lease or legal documents with a tenant, so I'd suggest being careful. Again, this is not a guest in your home, this is a tenant who appears to know that they have some rights. If they haven't given you access via a legal document, this is a pretty messy situation.
Deal Addict
Feb 27, 2013
1952 posts
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Toronto
Does the RTA and LTB really come into play when they do not have a legal lease agreement? Just seems like a guest or really an unauthorized person in your house trespassing at this point?
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
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Edmonton
XSnapSX wrote: Does the RTA and LTB really come into play when they do not have a legal lease agreement? Just seems like a guest or really an unauthorized person in your house trespassing at this point?
Yes, it does. It just makes things messier if it comes to a LTB hearing or court case. In the absence of any written documentation, it becomes a he said/she said situation, and it will be up to the board or JP to determine who's telling the truth. But in any case, the RTA leans heavily to the tenant side in Ontario, and that would be the "default" position. Tenants can't sign away their rights in any case, as even in a written lease, clauses that violate the RTA will be voided in a hearing.

C
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Jan 2, 2012
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tekz77 wrote: My parents have a living space in our basement renovated to a basement apartment (1 bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and access to our laundry room that's also down there containing OUR freezer storage too).

We've legally had legal documents with previous tenants in the past 10+ years we've lived here, between the landlord (us) and tenants. This is the first time someone makes a mountain out of a nothing burger.

This current "tenant" (we have no legal documents or lease agreement with this person) is basically a long term guest that pays $850 CAD, all utilities included (water, electricity, Internet). We'll call this tenant "roastie".
It doesn't matter if you had a lease or not, this just means she is a month-to-month tenant and not on any fixed length term. As a tenant she is covered under the RTA which overrides any lease you may have had anyways.

If you want her gone it's relatively simple, just serve her an N12 form saying your family needs the space back for personal use. Then file an L2 form with the LTB to start process of getting an eviction order in case she causes difficulties. You would give 60 days notice and owe her 1-month rent compensation. Then actually use the basement for personal use for the next 1 year and don't rent it out. After 1 year, you can look at renting it out again.

This only won't work if your parents are desperate for the rental income.
One thing's for sure though, we'll break the lock and door if we have to just to do laundry if they don't have it unlocked in our agreed schedule.
I would advise NOT to do this.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 3, 2011
6517 posts
3779 upvotes
Thornhill
Okay so what happened to cause this
we agreed and negotiated to a schedule on when both parties (landlord + family and tenant) would be doing laundry. That happened within the past few weeks.
to escalate to this?

In any case, three things:

First - contact the landlord tribunal and find out if the need to access the laundry room through the kitchen could be considered sharing the kitchen. If you have this particular sharing access in writing, even better. If by chance it qualifies as sharing the kitchen, you can seek eviction via the police.

Secondly - Neither tenant nor landlord may harass or abuse the other. You're both guilty of this, So it's best to stop forcing access and engaging in confrontation yourself so as to show it's one-sided on her part.

Thirdly - even if you may have been seen as abusive or harassing, even entering the tenant's space without proper notice - and that latter depends on the answer to the first point, a tenant may not alter the locks without the consent of the landlord and so, you might want to bite the bullet knowing full well that your wrists are going to get slapped monetarily for harassment and improper entry if the shared kitchen doesn't qualify, but nothing stops you from applying for eviction citing abuse by the tenant and her changing of the lock without authorization. The relationship is broken, volatile and where police become involved, the tribunal is more amenable to terminating the tenancy.
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 26, 2019
2 posts
GTA
CNeufeld wrote: Here's my take...

The tenant is entitled to privacy in their unit. As per the RTA (I believe it qualifies in your case, since you share neither a bathroom or kitchen), you need to give written notice to enter their unit. You have been breaking the RTA by not doing so, and the tenant is attempting to protect their privacy by installing a lock to keep you out. I don't blame her, to be honest.

Second, you violated the RTA by opening their door without their permission and questioning her about the lock. Again, the basement is HER space while she's renting from you, whether you put "rent" in quotes or not. Keeping your foot in the door to prevent her from closing it is another example.

If you (or she) take this to the LTB, I don't think it will go well for you. If you don't want to be a landlord, stop renting out your basement. Take it back for personal use and adjust your budget to compensate. Otherwise, do a remodel to allow you to get to the shared space without traipsing through the tenant's kitchen.

C
We were given permission. She told us to knock and let her know vocally in advance on the day of doing our laundry at her request when negotiating laundry schedule. There are times outside the schedule where we may have to retrieve frozen meats from the freezer to bring upstairs, and we knock very loudly, telling her vocally that we are coming down. There was never an issue about it until she decided to install a lock to the only door that is able to access the basement.
rob444 wrote: It doesn't matter if you had a lease or not, this just means she is a month-to-month tenant and not on any fixed length term. As a tenant she is covered under the RTA which overrides any lease you may have had anyways.

If you want her gone it's relatively simple, just serve her an N12 form saying your family needs the space back for personal use. Then file an L2 form with the LTB to start process of getting an eviction order in case she causes difficulties. You would give 60 days notice and owe her 1-month rent compensation. Then actually use the basement for personal use for the next 1 year and don't rent it out. After 1 year, you can look at renting it out again.

This only won't work if your parents are desperate for the rental income.



I would advise NOT to do this.
She wrote us a letter with her signature that she was moving out on November 1st, 2019. Our family did discuss about the N12 and potentially an L2. We'll take that into consideration. We also decided not to "bust down the door" because we can access the basement from within the garage that only we can open and use, as well as keys to the side door. We'll dismantle that illegal lock if it has to come to this - and she specifically said last evening that she would unlock it on our laundry schedule. I'm expecting that we have to dismantle that lock tomorrow.
licenced wrote: Okay so what happened to cause thisto escalate to this?

In any case, three things:

First - contact the landlord tribunal and find out if the need to access the laundry room through the kitchen could be considered sharing the kitchen. If you have this particular sharing access in writing, even better. If by chance it qualifies as sharing the kitchen, you can seek eviction via the police.

Secondly - Neither tenant nor landlord may harass or abuse the other. You're both guilty of this, So it's best to stop forcing access and engaging in confrontation yourself so as to show it's one-sided on her part.

Thirdly - even if you may have been seen as abusive or harassing, even entering the tenant's space without proper notice - and that latter depends on the answer to the first point, a tenant may not alter the locks without the consent of the landlord and so, you might want to bite the bullet knowing full well that your wrists are going to get slapped monetarily for harassment and improper entry if the shared kitchen doesn't qualify, but nothing stops you from applying for eviction citing abuse by the tenant and her changing of the lock without authorization. The relationship is broken, volatile and where police become involved, the tribunal is more amenable to terminating the tenancy.
The heating system of the house is also in the laundry room. She raised her voice at me first, spewing abusive language at me first so I returned in kind. I'm no longer engaging in any sort of confrontation with her after yesterday evening. She installed a lock without our permission and we'll proceed to dismantle it. Nothing changed in our interactions for it to get to this point of escalation - we believe she is mentally ill. She requested an unreasonable schedule that heavily favors her and we reluctantly agreed to her terms. We followed those terms and she is creating problems.
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
13002 posts
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Edmonton
tekz77 wrote: We were given permission. She told us to knock and let her know vocally in advance on the day of doing our laundry at her request when negotiating laundry schedule. There are times outside the schedule where we may have to retrieve frozen meats from the freezer to bring upstairs, and we knock very loudly, telling her vocally that we are coming down. There was never an issue about it until she decided to install a lock to the only door that is able to access the basement.


She wrote us a letter with her signature that she was moving out on November 1st, 2019. Our family did discuss about the N12 and potentially an L2. We'll take that into consideration. We also decided not to "bust down the door" because we can access the basement from within the garage that only we can open and use, as well as keys to the side door. We'll dismantle that illegal lock if it has to come to this - and she specifically said last evening that she would unlock it on our laundry schedule. I'm expecting that we have to dismantle that lock tomorrow.


The heating system of the house is also in the laundry room. She raised her voice at me first, spewing abusive language at me first so I returned in kind. I'm no longer engaging in any sort of confrontation with her after yesterday evening. She installed a lock without our permission and we'll proceed to dismantle it. Nothing changed in our interactions for it to get to this point of escalation - we believe she is mentally ill. We requested an unreasonable schedule that heavily favors her and we reluctantly agreed to her terms. We followed those terms and she is creating problems.
Get an N11 signed by her now, if you can, since she's already given you "notice". It's best (I believe) to get the "actual" forms signed by both you and the tenant.

If you give her an N12, you have to give her 60 days notice plus pay her a month's compensation, so you're not getting her out before November 1 anyways.

You can file an N5 as well, giving her 20 days notice for eviction for changing the lock and not providing you access. She would have 7 days to remove the lock, or you can file for an eviction. You're still not likely to get her out before Nov 1.

The heating system being in the laundry room isn't relevant, AFAIK.

C
Deal Addict
Apr 18, 2017
1047 posts
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Toronto
And after she leaves, I suggest to NOT rent out the basement for now. Renovate it completely so that people living upstairs don’t have to go through the basement to access anything important. If money is an issue, you can always get a HELOC to do this. It’s best to renovate it before renting out again so situations like this don’t arise again.
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Jan 2, 2012
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tekz77 wrote: She wrote us a letter with her signature that she was moving out on November 1st, 2019. Our family did discuss about the N12 and potentially an L2. We'll take that into consideration. We also decided not to "bust down the door" because we can access the basement from within the garage that only we can open and use, as well as keys to the side door. We'll dismantle that illegal lock if it has to come to this - and she specifically said last evening that she would unlock it on our laundry schedule. I'm expecting that we have to dismantle that lock tomorrow.
As mentioned above, see if you can politely ask the tenant to sign an N11 to get the date locked and on record.
Then I believe you can also simultaneously file an L3 form with the LTB which will confirm the eviction in case she later tries to back out and causes more problems. The L3 doesn't specifically mention the N11 but does state it's for a "written agreement to end the tenancy" which is basically what an N11 is. Someone can correct if this is not correct.
http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/documents/ltb ... 190415.pdf

At least the good news is she wants to leave.
Jr. Member
Jun 3, 2018
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OP, your family doesn't sound like they should be in the business of renting.
Deal Addict
Jun 7, 2017
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zeroxmarquis wrote: OP, your family doesn't sound like they should be in the business of renting.
This.
Deal Guru
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Jun 26, 2005
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zeroxmarquis wrote: OP, your family doesn't sound like they should be in the business of renting.
When there's money needed or to be made, people will
Deal Addict
Jan 13, 2014
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This is one of those posts where i will sympathize with the renters not the landlord. You cannot make up your own rules and clauses and then threaten to break down stuff. A paying renter also needs their own privacy and has a right to refuse you if 24 hour notice isnt given. If youre trying to take away their rights by calling them a guest then youre wrong as well. If you need to be in the renting business then do it property and not by a hackjob way. Move your stuff out from the basement and give tenants their privacy. Also just because your furnance is in the basement doesnt mean you should get uninterrupted access 24/7.
Member
Mar 20, 2017
433 posts
857 upvotes
Is this thread serious? I had a good laugh imaging a landlord walking through a tenants apartment getting frozen pork for BBQ. LOL

To OP, you have to re-examine your arrangement and decide why you need to keep a second meat freezer where you can not access without going through someone else's living space. Stop shopping at COSTCO !! buy only what you can fit in your own primary freezer. If I had a landlord like you, I'd so more than install a lock. Good luck on your tenant not trashing your place out of revenge or not paying rent out of spite.

Ghetto landlord and their ghetto basement suites. LOL If you can't afford to do it properly, don't get into the landlord game. This will be a recipe for disaster. If I was a single woman, I wouldn't want people going through my apartment all hours of the day getting their meat or laundry.

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