Enercare Extorts Landlords…

March 27th, 2014 · Commercial Property, Landlord Advocacy, Property Management, Rental Property

grumpy mary Enercare Extorts Landlords...
country_boy_shane / Foter / CC BY-ND

Oh Enercare, I think it is beyond time that the Ombudsman got a report about your behavior. Long story short a tenant from hell left one of the most beautiful condos in the city of Toronto a complete disaster and a large electricity bill. After the landlord regained possession by evicting the tenant, she called Enercare to get the electricity turned on. Enercare will not turn on the electricity until she pays her tenants’ electricity arrears. Enercare won’t even bill the landlord but insists that she pay the tenant’s arrears. Enercare won’t even show the landlord the tenant’s bill, because of privacy concerns.

Landlords Forced To Pay For Tenants Utilities

I’ve discussed this before regarding municipalities forcing tenant’s water arrears onto landlord’s tax bills. With an example like that what would stop companies like Enercare from extorting landlords? Nothing even though they know it’s illegal.  Mostly because of this ruling… Bracebridge Hydro Electric Commission v. 796479 Ontario Ltd. (Gen. Div.), 1991 CanLII 7049 (ON SC)

Because there is a very definitive ruling on the legality of what Enercare is doing, I wrote them this email several days ago. When the owner called today, they had no record of the email.

Monday March 24th 2014,

 

Enercare Connections Inc

Customer Care Center

P.O. Box 4638 Station A

Toronto, Ontario

M5W 5C7

 

Attention Legal Department,

 

Re: 907 – 90 Stadium Road Toronto, Ontario M5V 2Z7

 

It is my understanding that you have told the owner that she must pay Enercare the outstanding electricity arrears owed by the tenant.

According to current law, Enercare is not allowed to withhold electricity from the unit and by doing so is harming the owner. The unit cannot be rented until the electricity is turned on.  The landlord continues to lose money because of Enercare’s extortion.

The landlord has no obligation to Enercare to pay the electricity consumed by the consumer . Enercare has even refused to share the bill with my client because of “privacy issues” Surely the 3 lawyers employed by Enercare (as disclosed by the CSR) could recognize the absurdity created by this situation.

Enercare had every opportunity to mitigate their losses, first by requiring a deposit or by turning off the power.  The landlord had no such opportunity and it is for that reason that the landlord will not pay the electricity bill.  The landlord had no agreement with Enercare, nor were they invoiced or advised that they were responsible.

If Enercare continues to harm the landlord by failing to provide electricity as they are required to by law, damages will continue to accumulate as the unit remains without power and unrented.

The landlord has agreed to pay the reconnection fee $240.00 which must be invoiced to her.

 Rachelle Berube

Bracebridge Ruling

Here’s the interesting part… and the part that consistently gets municipalities water billing policies overturned when fought in court. Because if you don’t want to get a lawyer and fight you have no rights…just whatever people tell you to do. Below is the very specific excerpt from the lawsuit.  See those utilities are in business to make money and they do make money, but now they want the landlords to take all the risks when they are the only people who can do something (like get a security deposit) to avoid risk. Or shut off the Hydro or the water. The landlord is specifically forbidden to do that.

The issue is whether the Commission has the authority to require the landlord to sign as guarantor for the tenants in order that the tenants may receive a supply of hydro from the Commission.

As counsel for the respondent pointed out, none of the tenants are parties to this application, nor have they been served with notice of the application. They would therefore not be bound by any decision in this application.

It is the respondent’s position that there is no statutory authority for the Commission to demand such guarantees as it is the respondent’s position that the Commission is a statutory body and only has the power to do those things which the statute permits it to do.

The respondent further argues that the Commission is requiring the landlord to do things which he is not permitted to do under provincial statute. In particular, the respondent argues, the Landlord and Tenant Act, R.S.O. 1980, c. 232, does not permit the landlord to obtain a security for deposit for non-payment of hydro supply. Nor does the Landlord and Tenant Act permit the landlord either to cut off the supply of hydro for non-payment by the tenant of his hydro, nor can the landlord request that the Commission cut off the supply of utilities for non-payment.

Section 84(1) [subsequently rep. & sub. S.O. 1987, c. 23, s. 3] of the Landlord and Tenant Act provides:

(1) A landlord shall not require or receive a security deposit from a tenant under a tenancy agreement entered into or renewed on or after the 1st day of January, 1970 other than the rent for a rent period not exceeding one month, which payment shall be applied in payment of the rent for the last rent period immediately preceding the termination of the tenancy.

Section 121(4)(a) [subsequently am. S.O. 1989, c. 72, s. 18] reads:

A landlord shall not,

(a) withhold reasonable supply of any vital service, such as heat, fuel, electricity, gas, water or other vital service, that it is his obligation to supply under the tenancy agreement or deliberately interfere with the supply of any such vital service whether or not it is his obligation to supply such service during the tenant’s occupation of the premises and until the date on which a writ of possession is executed …

The respondent argues that the Commission has power which the landlord does not have. These powers are adequate to protect the Commission’s interest and the Commission can require the tenant to give a security deposit to obtain utility. The Commission can cut off the utility for non-payment of the utility account by the tenant. The landlord has no similar powers. The Commission’s requirement that the landlord give a guarantee is unnecessary when considered with the Commission’s other rights.

The respondent argues that the requirement of a guarantee by the landlord is, in effect, asking the landlord to do something which the landlord cannot do under the Landlord and Tenant Act. It is contrary to the principles of the Landlord and Tenant Act. The landlord argues that if it has to give a guarantee then the landlord would need a security deposit and the right to cut off power for non-payment of the power account to support its guarantee.

Enercare stop your extortion, take your lumps like every business and stop whining like a little bitch and trying to get the landlord to pay you money that they don’t owe. It’s just sad and dirty and sleazy. Did I mention that there’s an inquiry into Hydro One billing practices at the Ombudsman office? I wonder how nice it would be if it were extended to Enercare? Surely getting landlords to pay tenants electricity bills would be something that would interest the Ombudsman…

Happy Thursday!

 

 

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League Investors Join Forces

March 17th, 2014 · League REIT Updates, REIT

ballet 3 League Investors Join Forces
rolands.lakis / Foter / CC BY

League investors are getting together to fight. So far the monitor PWC and the investors’ lawyer Faskens has not had any good news at all about recovery of the $370,000,000 taken from 4200 investors that are victims. They are breaking out of the shame and guilt and working together for the following stated goals.

Goals of the group

  1.  Getting invested money back
  2.  Making sure culprits are punished
  3. Getting a law passed by Canadian Federal Government to prevent such crimes in the future.

Benefits of the group

  1. Collective brainpower
  2. Collective influence
  3. Collective resources such as time and effort

The idea is to use the least money possible for the best possible gain. We count among the 4200 investors people with uncountable intellectual and professional resources that are currently untapped as the group waits ineffectually for “someone” to provide an answer and direction.

Contact Information For The Group

Closed Facebook Group For League Investors

leagueinvestors@gmail.com

Please share these addresses with as many League Investors as you can.

As one of our current fantastic members said  ”I hope it is understood that “United we stand; Divided we fall”. Everyone involved has a family, business and other things to take care of. It is important that we spend time to recover what we invested as equally important to earn in future. This means we need to everyone to participate in attending calls, volunteer to part of this project related activities mentioned in the plan.”

“The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.” Criss Jami

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Why Can’t Menkes Fix A Dishwasher ?

March 10th, 2014 · Property Management, Rental Property

amanece en la dehesa my first explore Why Cant Menkes Fix A Dishwasher ?
Big Max Power (BMP) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I manage a number of brand new condos and one of them is at 215 Sherway Gardens Road, Toronto, Ontario. So the apartment was rented and the tenant moved in and the very first time she went to use her dishwasher it started flooding her apartment.  This was on February 16th 2014. So I call the Menkes telephone number on Tuesday, the first weekday after Family Day to get someone to repair the dishwasher. It is after all a brand new condo. When I call them I give them the tenant’s telephone number so they can communicate directly to make an appointment to do the repair/look at the problem. I am happy because Menkes actually said they could send someone by that day to look at the problem but first they have to call her.

This is the email I sent the tenant…

I contacted the building and they will go by your place today to deal with the water leaking. They will call you to confirm an appointment.

 

Illegal Entry

After a few days of not hearing any news I assume it’s been taken care of.  February 20th I get an email from the tenant asking me for an update on the repair, I ask her if Menkes has been in touch and she says no. I’m thinking in my head, I hope they haven’t entered the suite without her permission because they were pretty serious about fixing the leak. Then I give her the number for Menkes and she calls them and there is no record of my call.

So I sent this email to customer care…

Dear Customer Care,

Tuesday I called in about a leaking dishwasher in the above suite. I gave the telephone representative the resident’s telephone number for contact. She assured me she would call and repair the problem. Today the resident who is cc’d on this email called me to find out what the status of the repair was. She had not been contacted by anyone. I advised her that I had been told that the building would be in touch with her and had said to me they would try to perform the repair that day. I hoped that the repair had not been completed and that the building had not made the mistake of entering the suite without making some kind of contact with the resident.

The resident just called your office only to be told that no call had ever been made to their office about a dishwasher leak. This is untrue as I reported it myself.

It would please me greatly if Menkes would at this point figure out what is going on and email the resident and let her know when the dishwasher will be fixed. Sooner rather than later.

Many Thanks,

Rachelle Berube
President – Landlord Rescue Inc.

After this email we found out that Menkes staff had entered illegally and assessed the problem and determined that it was a drain hose.

Response To Tenant From Menkes

Further to our conversation, I wish to express our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience to you.  We assure you that going forward, Customer Care staff will not enter the suite without the express written consent of the Property Owner.  We regret the misunderstanding, however, we acted on the direction provided by Rachelle Berube to address the reported leak without delay to avoid potential damage.  This has been an unfortunate situation and we will endeavour to improve the communication in this regard.

In short they blamed me.

After that they gave me Transglobe’s number because my tenant had been abusive to them. So I called Transglobe and made arrangements with them to fix the dishwasher today March 10th 2013

Today’s Illegal Entry #2 Incident – Dishwasher Still Not Fixed

So today the tenant gets home, and finds a notice on her door stating that the technician came by but according to their records the issue was repaired on Friday March 7th 2014. The tenant calls the building and they say that I gave them permission. Except I haven’t spoken to them since February.

According to the technician, he tried to call both of us and neither of I or the tenant have a record of these supposed calls.

Obviously the tenant is really upset, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like it if building staff lied, went into your unit and claimed you never called. I am also unhappy.

 

The dishwasher is still not working almost a month later.

 

 

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Large Rental Deposits – Double Edged Sword

March 5th, 2014 · Kids & Family

napali 11 Large Rental Deposits   Double Edged Sword
paul bica / Foter / CC BY

While searching on Canlii a few days ago, I can across this fresh new Divisional Court Decision. I’ve discussed before about how new immigrants are often discriminated against and they have to pay large multi month deposits before landlords will rent to them. Well, guess what, those landlords now have to pay interest on those large deposits. In this case $90,000 so it’ll add up quickly.

Alison Corvers v. Tanveer Bumbia

Frankly I find this kind of deposit to be overreaching on the part of the landlord.

Shame.

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More On Rental Deposits

March 5th, 2014 · Kids & Family

french house in the hills More On Rental Deposits
A Guy Taking Pictures / Foter / CC BY

My most popular post is about rental deposits. Considering that it’s a simple subject, I’m surprised there is so much controversy and confusion regarding the rules. Today I got a question from a tenant about this subject and so I’ll take another kick at the can. Hopefully I can add some clarity to Ontario rental deposits.

Reader Question

We looked at a place paid a deposit and signed a lease for a rental unit for June 1st. We signed Feb 28. Something major has come up an we may not be able to move. Are we able to break the lease?  Can we assume our deposit is non refundable?

Rachelle’s Answer

The answer to your question is two part because the law has changed somewhat. In the past a rental deposit would be automatically forfeit and the landlord could rerent the unit upon hearing that the tenants were refusing possession. However, a landlord cannot collect double rent for a unit so if the unit is rerented the deposit must be refunded.  This is a decision made by the Court of Appeal for Ontario Musilla v. Avcan Management Inc

Specifically this section here is very precise…

[10] In particular, we agree with the following observation [at para. 22]:

When one looks at the words of s. 107(1), it is notable that the landlord is to return the deposit if vacant possession is “not given” to the prospective tenant. The words “not given” suggest that it is the refusal or inability of the landlord to provide the premises that triggers the obligation to return the deposit to the prospective tenant. In the present case, however, it was the tenant’s action in refusing to take the unit that prevented her from taking possession, not any act of the landlord.

[11] This interpretation accords with common sense and fairness. To permit a tenant, who is legally obligated to take possession, to regain a rent deposit where the landlord has done everything it was required to do in order to give possession would render meaningless the concept of a rent deposit to secure the tenant’s obligation to pay rent.

[12] However, we would add one qualification to what the Divisional Court said about a landlord’s ability to retain a rent deposit.

[13] Sections 105(1) and 106(10) of the Act provide that a landlord may only take a deposit as security against the payment of the last month’s rent. The landlord may not take a deposit to secure any other obligation. Thus, if a tenant breaches a tenancy agreement and the landlord, in accordance with its obligation to mitigate its damages, is able to re-rent the premises without suffering any loss of rent, the landlord is not entitled to retain the rent deposit. The landlord cannot realize double payment by use of a deposit, nor can it apply the funds to any other purpose.

How I would deal with this situation is like this…

  1. Inform the landlord that you cannot take the place as soon as you can in writing.
  2. Apologize for backing out of the contract.
  3. Ask for your deposit back.
  4. Inform the landlord of their obligations by letting them know of their legal obligations by giving them a copy of the legal decision in Court of Appeal for Ontario Musilla v. Avcan Management Inc
  5. Don’t act like they should know, no one is going to spend their spare time looking for bizarre rulings on Canlii (Ok, one person)
  6. Give them a chance to rerent the unit.
  7. Monitor if the unit is being advertised where you found your ad.
  8. Wait for money
  9. June 1st 2014 if you did not get any money back go check the unit.
  10. If they are legitimately trying to rerent the unit and the unit is not rented June 1st tough luck to you.
  11. If the unit is occupied or they are not trying to rerent the unit then threaten them with legal action. The earliest date you can do this is June 2nd so be nice before this date.
  12. Keep fingers crossed.

Best of Luck

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