Controversial eviction law to be reviewed

An investigation into how MetCap Living Management went after an evicted tenant for two months’ rent has prompted politicians to review housing laws – and landlords agree the time has come.

Lee Strauss, a landlord and investor in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, said that while the law is blurry, eviction laws need to be reviewed in the worst way, as he admits there has been very little recourse for landlords recouping unpaid rent.

“I personally would not go after a tenant after a successful eviction but the process for evictions is completely backwards,” he told CREW. “It can take months before you actually get through the Landlord and Tenant Board.

“If the tenant moves out before the last eviction date decided by the board, the landlord has to find the tenant and take them to Small Claims [Court], which doesn’t get you very far. It’s messed up.”

The comments follow an investigation from the Toronto Star, which detailed how MetCap and its in-house collection agency, Suite Collections, go after evicted tenants for two months’ rent and punish them for not giving the proper 60-day notice.

Cyrilla Hamlet, the tenant evicted in 2012, suffered substantial credit damage as a result, which has prompted a review into Ontario eviction laws.

While the head of MetCap, Brent Merrill, maintains the practice is legal, referring to a past divisional court decision from 1993, the investigation forced the company to suspend the practice for future evictions until the law can be reviewed.

“This practice is unacceptable to me and I’m committed to putting an end to it,” said Ted McMeekin, Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing. “If somebody gets an eviction notice and they move as a result of that notice… the tenant is no longer responsible beyond the date of the eviction notice. That’s the law of the land.”

The investigation also found that a 2013 Small Claims Court decision had previously rejected the 1993 decision. While there is much to be interpreted, Strauss maintains that the whole law needs to be overhauled.

“The eviction process in Ontario is so broken and pro-tenant that by the time it's over, I want to forget it ever happened,” he said. “It’s such a painful experience for both parties, except the landlord is the one that has to float the bill and pay for the tenants rent for three months. It's an absolute joke!”

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  • by 2015-06-23 3:50:55 PM

    The Land Lord & Tenant act being followed by the tribunal is a joke as far as the Land Lords are concerned. It is ridiculous that the laws side with the so called tenants. Most of the tenants will have enough money to pursue their luxury life but not enough to pay the Land Lord. It will take almost six months to evict a tenant. And by the time they vacate the property it will be a mess and so many things are broken. Most of the small so called Land Lords are the most sufferers. They invest in properties not to become Land Lords but to make a living when not in a position to work. The law is one sided.
    I had a tenant living a luxury life and driving a Range Rover etc: He started as a good tenant, gradually defaults, then some times he comes with cash payment. Then he vanished ( I realised late) but putting his close relatives in the property. No rent coming. Every time I am told "he is out of country, coming next month". By the time I could evict these people, it took me more than six months and 8 months rent. By the time the sheriff came they were gone. I had to spent another $ 5,000/= to fix the place.
    The law has to be enforced quicker instead of favouring the tenants only. The property management in this case is right, I wish I could do that. My tenant did not leave any trace where he is. There should be some means to trace such people, make mandatory to provide a SIN.

  • by 2015-06-24 12:10:20 AM

    I agree with what you say - we rented to a similar tenant (questionable - our bad) who we had to evict after considerable damage to our suite. The damage was actually caused by the Abbotsford BC police force breaking exterior and interior doors and finding nothing to charge our tenant and no responsibility to compensate - (but promising they would be back)
    We were probably lucky that the tenant did leave but we were out by about $3,000.00 to repair the damage

  • by Maxy 2015-06-29 3:27:58 AM

    Just wondering whether tenant's rights should trump landlord's rights. Both parties should have equal and balanced protection under a law that makes sense. I have come to believe that something being legal is not synonymous with being fair, right or just. We have seen cases where a perpetrator of an outrageous civil act boldly declares "I have not done anything illegal". Our society is built on or is supposed to be built on ethical and moral codes and these should be the foundation of our laws. Admittedly actions of a few landlords are despicable but that does not justify a law that imposes blanket punishment on or creates severe hardship for all landlords. Both lanlords and tenants should be responsible for their bad behaviours in equal measure as well as have equal protection against bad behaviour by either party.

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