Innisfil Police Department – OOPS!

July 18th, 2011 · 10 Comments · Landlord Advocacy, Personal House

Inner City Two
Creative Commons License photo credit: The Blue Boy

Man o man, landlords sure get a raw deal from the police departments. I get landlords calling me all the time about illegal activities that get reported to police departments who do basically nothing about it. Sometimes it’s just time for landlords to sue the police, then maybe they’ll start doing their jobs.

Caroline’s Story

Once upon a time Caroline decided that renting out rooms in her house was a great idea to help her make her mortgage payments. As it turns out it wasn’t fantastic. She had 4 rooms in her house and rented three out and kept one for herself.

The Prince

No story would be complete without a prince…so when Caroline met hers she started going over to his castle and spent less and less time at her home. She still had clothes and her bed and her room, she just didn’t spend very much time there, except for going to clean up after her boarders.

Quitting The Boarding Business

Caroline decided that cleaning up after after boarders was not really a whole lot of fun. She had two jobs already. So she gave her boarders 30 days notice which was really wonderful of her because she didn’t have to give them any notice at all.

Not Subject To The Residential Tenancies Act

When you share a kitchen and bathroom with your boarders, the convoluted ridiculous eviction system of the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply. So you can do pretty much whatever you like. The 30 days notice was very generous on her part, she could have given them no notice if she liked as long as she gave them back their money if she owed them any.

The Boarders Don’t Like It

Not surprisingly there’s a troublemaker in the bunch. One of them is refusing to leave, even though he has been given notice. Caroline expects this so she contacts the police and informs them that she’s changing the locks… She shows him the nasty texts, the Residential Tenancies Act that says she’s not required to “evict” them using the usual procedures because she shares a kitchen and bath with them. She also didn’t have to give them any specific notice form because, guess what? she doesn’t have to comply with the Residential Tenancies Act.

So Police Officer # 1 attends and waits for the boarders to arrive so they can get their stuff and be escorted off the property. They’ve had 30 days to make arrangements.

Next Police Officer #2 attends and apparently he’s off shift in 20 minutes and he wants to go home to his wife and family as he told Caroline. At some point troublemaker boarder comes home and gets told the news that he’s out the door. He starts saying that he’s a tenant covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Then the “judge and jury” get to work. A decision is made that Caroline does not live at her own property, even though she has a room there. A neighbour friendly with the boarders gets asked if she lives there. The boarders get asked if she lives there. The police even grab her phone from her and ask her fully grown son if she lives there and tells him that Mom’s going to jail.

This Is Where The Police Turn Into Total Morons

Police officer 2 decided that this was a landlord & tenant matter and that Caroline doesn’t live there enough according to the word of the neighbour and the boarders. Even though she was at the Landlord & Tenant Board and was told that her place is not subject to the Residential Tenancies Act. 

The police order Caroline to give a copy of the key to Mr. Trouble and threaten to take Caroline to jail. Apparently she’s lying. The police officer with 20 minutes to get off shift decides Caroline doesn’t live there.

How Much Do You Have To Live Somewhere?

People might say “Well she doesn’t live there very much…” maybe they are tenants. She’s owned the house for 7 years and she’s lived there since then. Her driver’s licence says she lives there, her mail goes there, she has a room there and clothes there. She also hangs out at her boyfriend’s most of the time. She’s in love.

When I was in love I went to Pennsylvania for a whole month or so. Does that mean that I lived there? What about snow birds who vacation in Florida for months? Does it mean they live there? No of course not.

How about if I change the locks on every tenant who takes an extended vacation? or pays rent for security to know they have their own place to live in ? Does that count? Where do they live?

Caroline Is Moving

To make matters a little more complicated, Caroline decided to move, admittedly she wasn’t there  very much, except for the odd night. First of all it wasn’t very pleasant to be there with Mr Trouble around. Second of all, every time she did go there she had to clean up kitchen, bath and common areas after 3 messy guys. She wants out of the boarding business and she’s allowed to make that choice.

The Plot Thickens

When Caroline gave the boarders 30 days notice, she rented the house out to a wonderful fully qualified family due to move in August 1st.  So now it’s big trouble because her new tenants are  out of a new home.

Nice Situation

So the police won’t do their job, the landlord can’t do their job, the new tenants are out of a home and the entire thing is a bloody mess. Sounds like this landlord has a great lawsuit on her hands against the police. Personally I hope she follows through with it, I’ve had enough of the police raising their hands and saying “We don’t deal with Landlord & Tenant matters” when good honest people are victimized by activities that are criminal. Any other business would have the police on board. I’m talking about damages to property,fraud, trespassing, graffiti, threats, harassment and so on that are enabled and even condoned by the police not doing their job because it’s a landlord.

It’s even more reprehensible in this case because it’s not a landlord tenant matter it’s a trespassing matter. The boarders got notice, they have to move out, it’s the law.

What do you think? Are police doing their job of protecting landlords?

 

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • CanuckLandlord

    No, I agree police do not side with landlords. Neither do the politicians who make, and change, the laws relating to residential tenancies.

    I was told by a lady I deal with at the Tenancy Board here, that politicians won’t side with landlords because there are more voters on the tenant side.

    Seems true to me

  • Rachelle

    Totally agree with that. Not to mention the fact that landlords are perceived as rich greedy bastards and tenants as poor innocent victims.

  • Rom

    re: “Are police doing their job of protecting landlords?”

    Of course not – it’s not the job of the police to “protect landlords”. It’s the job of the police to uphold the law.

    Though your framing of the question as you did does convey both your LL-centric view and pitiable ‘under siege’ mentality.

    Let me tell you about the police’s failure to uphold the rights of a T?

    How about a police officer who comes to the door of a T, having been summoned by the LL who, having NOT given any written notice to the T regarding entry, wants the police to compel the T to permit entry?

    How about that T greets the police at the door with a mere 2 pages printed out, from the RTA, so as to attempt to convince the police that the LL has no such right.

    How about that the T was thusly prepared for the police because the T has *already* encountered the gross ignorance of the police regarding matters of RTA in their dealings with this LL?

    And how about when the T, trying to assert their right to peaceful enjoyment of their apt, and asking to read the relevant sections of the RTA (regarding non-waivability of rights – s. 3 – and notice requirements for entry by LL – s. 27) to the police so they can know in fact what is the law?

    And how about when the police (initially) refuse outright to receive (hear) that information and continue to press the T to permit the LL entry?

    And when the one cop eventually says, regarding this availability to the police to know what is the actual law surrounding entry by way of these 2 pages: “*I* am the law.”?

    (To which was replied, ever so meekly: “So the statutes don’t mean anything?” And yes, the T did ultimately prevail in the upholding of their rights but not without a period of touch-and-go where it wasn’t known if the T was going to be charged with failure to comply or some obstruction offence … all due to police ignorance.)

    So don’t feel so put-upon – police ineptitude and ignorance is a filthy, infectious sword … that cuts both ways.

    Though it is truly unfortunate that you can only see, or would only solicit, half of the consequences of that reality.

    “Victim mentality”, anyone?

    • Rachelle

      I would expect the police to investigate a report of drug use in an apartment, especially with a witness. Just think, they could have picked up some criminals who were wanted had they done so.

      • Rom

        re: “I would expect the police to investigate a report of drug use in an apartment,”

        Rachelle, I think that you’ve crossed, in your mind, this blog post with the other one about Pandora.

        Remember, my point here was to simply:
        - observe your chosen phrasing of “police protect LL’s”
        - observe how the incompetence of police harms both LL’s *AND* T’s

        Hypothetical: would you consider working with a T group, if their intent was to simply better educate the police about the whole platter of both party’s rights & responsibilities?

        Better policing for LL’s also means better policing for T’s, too.

        Or would their being a pro-T group be fatal poison in your eyes?

        BTW, here’s the best, free, 40 minutes of legal advice you’ll ever get, IMO:
        - 20 minutes by a law prof:
        http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4097602514885833865

        - 20 minutes by ex-cop, now law student:
        http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6014022229458915912&q=&hl=en

        And both titled: “Don’t talk to the Police”

        Caveat orator, indeed.

        • Rachelle

          Would I work with a tenant group? Sure I would, in many cases landlords and tenants are closer together than they think. For instance and this is just one example…the $170 application fee that is required of landlords is actually prejudicial against the tenants who are already struggling to pay their rent. Once they have gone to the Board, that fee is just added to their arrears. Many do actually pay their arrears. So these tenants are actually penalized the most. Yet a slum lord who has serious maintenance issues has not one cent extra to pay to reimburse the tenant for court fees.

          • Roomba

            re: “Yet a slum lord who has serious maintenance issues has not one cent extra to pay to reimburse the tenant for court fees.”

            Nope. $45 fee for T to file T6 (+$5/unit for pile-ons).
            http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111530.html

            Recoverable, as a T6 is an ‘at-fault’ App I expect.

            But if they’re a “slum lord” let’s say they have $1K+ in abatement due, so the $45 recoverable fee isn’t any sort of impediment anyway. Even a $150 fee isn’t massive (yet it could be an impediment to a T to file the T6).

            Anyway, the RTA is apparently, specifically designed to *not* *penalize* such “slum lords”:
            - s. 31.1 empowers the Board to levy an AdminFine for T Apps, and specifies that most (but conspicuously not all) of the T apps which may lead to an AdminFine
            - since s. 29 (1) 1 is excluded from that list
            - and s. 29 (1) 1 is the s. 20 (1) (maint) breach

            maintenance breaches are *specifically excluded* from being the cause of an AdminFine (under all normal circumstances).

            Which is curious, since it would appear to protect the worst maint offenders only.

            Perhaps an Interesting opportunity for Legislative change to s. 31 (1), since changing this to “pp *1* to 6 of 29 (1)” be subject to AdminFines is perhaps one area where both T’s, and *good* LL’s, have a /mutual/ interest.

            Making it expensive for shoddy landlords to conduct shoddy business helps lift the rental-rate ‘basement’ (against which the good LL’s have to compete).

          • Rachelle

            I was recently brought to the Landlord & Tenant Board by a tenant who needed a storage room key, he didn’t have to pay a cent to file his case.

  • Do Police Help Landlords ? | Property Rental Agency & Property Management Services - Landlord Rescue

    [...] few days ago I wrote about Caroline the landlord locked out of her own house by the Innisfil Police. I got a hilarious story by email from Pandora about police ineptness and unhelpfulness in the face [...]

  • Rom

    Re; $0 filing fee for storage-room case

    Yes, because that was a T2 – Tenant’s Rights App; filing fee=$0

    Your “slum lord” would fall under the T6 – maint issues, which demands a $45 + filing fee.

    One is a T2.

    The other is a T6.

    Very different animals.

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