Landlord 101 – Finding a corpse

October 27th, 2017 · Property Management, Rental Property

People who have difficult and traumatic jobs often use humour as a means of lightening the mood and making it easier to cope with difficult situations. Observers and family members would consider their jokes horrifying and completely inappropriate. Having said that, it’s pretty common for property managers and building staff members to “check the stairwells for bodies” or “see if someone died in there” when investigating an apartment or walking around the building.

I don’t think I’ll be making that kind of joke anymore in the future, but the corpse I found is still quite fresh in my mind… not actually fresh, but you get the picture.

How To Find A Corpse

A quite desperate owner called me from the Unites States with a problem. His tenant owed rent and wouldn’t call him back or respond in any way. He had delivered the N-4 notice for non payment of rent and the tenant had considerable rent arrears. The rental unit was in a downtown condo. He had no idea if the tenant was still living there, and with the considerable rent arrears I thought it would be quite likely that the tenant moved out and just ghosted him.

My immediate advice was to check the activity on the security device (FOB) and see if there was any signs of entry and exit of the building recently. In this case, there had been no activity for over a month on the FOB, and the last activity had been a few days before the end of the month. I assumed that the tenant had skipped out because they owed so much rent.

The owner had no keys for the unit, so we spoke to building management and arranged a locksmith, and building security to go with us to do what we expected would be a simple lock change after all it had been more than a month since the last movement was detected on the security system. During this several week process, because of the curious disappearance of the tenant, I often joked that maybe he died… you just never know, it’s weird when a responsible tenant just seems to disappear.

Enter the Apartment

I entered the apartment, the place was squeaky clean but the furniture was all there. I dunno, maybe the tenant just packed up his stuff and left. I walked in… and spotted some legs through the bedroom door, I startled and turned away and walked back towards the front door of the apartment. My immediate thought was that I had disturbed someone sleeping in his bed. I walked back towards the front door of the apartment thinking I would go knock really loudly and shout “Manager” to wake them and not intrude on their privacy. Simultaneously my brain was registering that the legs I had seen were not very healthy looking and in fact were probably very dead legs. I had seen similar legs on concentration camp victim pictures.

I told the security guard, and she went and verified that he was fully dead and not sick or anything.

The next step was to call the Police which I did, and I told them the entire story I just told you and they declared it a crime scene. The Police arrived first and then Fire Fighters came to help with resuscitation efforts which were overdue by approximately a month so they took one look and left. Another Police officer came by to guard the door from anyone while waiting for the Police Detective and the Coroner to come and check the scene. I just sat outside the apartment with the Police Officer for a while.

As I was waiting around until everyone was done asking me questions, it became very boring as the bureaucracy of death slowly plodded towards its conclusion. I had to call a few people “Sorry I found a dead guy so I have to reschedule”, but they didn’t seem to mind.  Finally around 6pm I left and went home.  The dead guy hadn’t even been removed yet, but no one involved was in rush. The apartment was sealed off for investigation. The next of kin had to be notified and that was it.

The Cat

The building had a cat on their records as living in the suite so I got scared and thought maybe the cat hid away when the police was there and was trapped in the apartment. I do have a history with cats, last year with Jimmy the Cat and the year before with 9 cats from the cat hoarder. The detective was extremely nice about it, and sent someone over to check if there was a cat.  Thankfully no cats… but I did manage another panic before it all got sorted.

Next of Kin

Next the family had to be notified and thankfully the Police did that, and then we touched base to co-ordinate me getting the keys after they had moved out all the belongings. They were very nice and I managed not to say anything ignorant or unkind.

Suite Repair

Something unspeakable had soaked into the carpet so we changed it. Other than that and a vacant smell, the apartment is rent ready. So if you know someone who would love a suite in a downtown condo, just give me a ding.  It’ll just be you and the ghost and goblins. Also comes with parking.

I’ve also told myself no more “whistling in the graveyard” type jokes, it’s not funny when you  actually find a corpse. But for the record, it’s better to find someone has passed away, then to evict them for non payment of rent, and find out 6 months later they died in the hospital of a bleeding ulcer. Not that the cause of death was a surprise, I’ve never seen so many bottles of Jack Daniels in my life. Generally the family informs you that the person has passed on and the estate quickly takes care of their belongings.

Happy Hallowe’en

 

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Successful Tenant Rent Collections in Ontario

September 24th, 2017 · Property Management, Rental Property

 

Rent Collection Checks

I told all you readers a while back that I would be performing an experiment to challenge the idea that continuing to try to collect rent from deadbeats after they have moved out is throwing good money after bad. That picture is the three checks I got from the paralegal from old tenants that were evicted, all for non payment. I was told this for a long time when I worked in buildings and in property management.

It’s a lie. So far I have doing very well, with very little bullshit chasing them around for money. It’s really refreshing after begging and cajoling for years in some cases, to just be able to seize a bank account or garnish a wage. All of these checks are seizure and garnishment checks and I have recovered my legal fees as well.

I’m really happy I did this experiment, so far we are enroute to collecting on all the Orders.  This year I’ve had several people skip out inexplicably in the middle of the lease one after one month in the place. That is going to court as well.

In fact it’s going so well, that if you have any tenants who have ripped you off, and you aren’t going to follow through with collection of any kind, I would love it if you would assign the Order to me so I can follow up and try to collect. It’s a good debt for up to 6 years.

Keep in mind, I am putting up my real money or the owner’s real money to collect on these debts. You must pay the paralegal up front, and depending on how much work he has to do, it can be $500 to $1500 or more you have to pay. In any case, if you don’t plan to do anything, please pass it over so I can shell out some justice, Landlord Rescue style. Frankly if more landlords followed though these tenants would just have to stop.

The paralegal I am using for this Small Claims work is Masoud of quicklegal@gmail.com or you can call him at 416-880-4600.

Happy Collecting

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My Mental Hospital is Full

August 31st, 2017 · Property Management

August is the busiest time of year for us rental agent/property managers. Last night I was up late because I closed a lease late, after waiting around for an appliance delivery from 11-3.

This morning I was tired, my car was out of gas, and I was halfway to Oshawa when I realized I did not have the lease I was going there to sign.

Dina called me while mediating the latest iteration of a multi year tenant dispute. Yep you read that right, a multi year tenant dispute. She’s tells me “My mental hospital is full !” and I started to laugh, and laugh and laugh. I laughed for so long my stomach hurt, but a good kind of hurt that I needed because my mental hospital was also full.

Patient A & B

The multiyear tenant dispute is hard to deal with and the result of the tenants just hating each other combined with the stress and strain of community living. There is just something about duplexes, that leads to a lot of tenant disputes that you don’t see in apartment buildings or condo buildings. There is something about sharing a house, that seems to increase territoriality in tenants.

We get long emails from each party alleging issues that can’t be proven, or aren’t actionable.  So it goes on and on, year after year.

Patient C & D

I had a lovely couple move into a fantastic condo, and claim there was a horrific cockroach infestation and mold. The owner lived there for 7 years in a condo and obviously never saw a cockroach, although we will freely admit to a lack of cleaning behind the washer dryer unit and oven. Anyhow I just got a message to come and pick up the keys.

Patient E

When a landlord asks you on a rental application if you have been evicted…

Yes ; because of the legal delay caused by the multiple fires at _____________ due to the electrical faults of the house wiring of the landlord, I missed my first ODSP hearing and then I was too far behind financially to pay for both food and rent for my apartment that was medically necessary for my physical functional impairment disabilities. During the LTB hearing, my doctor, ____________ gave expert testimony of my substantial risk, saying that I was not strong enough physically to withstand moving and also that there were no environmentally safe housing options open for me to move to anywhere in Ontario. A LTB Adjudicator without any medical training made a decision before I could solve the ODSP legal issues. Upon being evicted and unable to find any safe housing that is correct for my disabilities, I almost lost my life twice in the last year.I have used my military survival training that I was fortunate to receive in the 90’s during minus 40 degrees weather, camping outdoors in Algonquin Park, plus other extremely advanced mind-over-matter strategies to save my life. Since the mid-80’s I have trained with many of the finest doctors in the world and from 1988 to 1991, I was the manager for an international teaching doctor who gave me accolades for “doing the impossible”

Patient F & his stalkers

This lovely man moved in to a lovely house. He claims that there are people who are following him from place to place, talking to him and I have to kick them out. There are no other people that anyone else can see. It just makes me sad.

Patient G

This ladies application was turned down and after multiple calls from her & her boyfriend I was going to allow her mom to co-sign the lease for her.

It was a big no from mom, because what if she moves again, landlords are shysters, and she doesn’t want to be on the hook for it. If your mom won’t sign for you… you got problems.

Patient H & I

Dina & Rachelle, your friendly property managers, soon to be in straight jackets, it’s the new de rigeur wardrobe for property managers on the go.

Tomorrow is another day, and some of my patients will be discharged, and Dina and I will be ready for new challenges and the occasional new admission.

We manage properties, so you don’t have to. 🙂

 

 

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Downtown Toronto Trump Building Renamed

June 28th, 2017 · Kids & Family

So there’s a good chance most of you have not been following the nightmare that Trump Tower was to investors. My understanding is that the promised returns were exaggerated and expenses understated.  Not really a surprise, but investors were misled. You might also say, they were bled dry, because a lot of them didn’t or couldn’t close.

Then the developer Talon defaulted on it’s loans.

Not surprisingly it seems like the Trump brand is waning at least in Canada and the building which is supposed to be a posh hotel, attracted protesters of all kinds even though Trump just plastered his name on it and manages the hotel. He doesn’t own the building.

Then the new owners of the hotel, paid Trump 6 million ?? to take his name off the building, which all things considered is a fantastic deal.

This whole development story is something else. Anyhow hopefully now the new buyer can hopefully turn this building into a going concern.

Bye Felicia.

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Harmony Village Sheppard Site in Limbo As Fortress Appeals The Sale Of The Property

June 26th, 2017 · Property Management

A few people seem to think that Fortress has financial problems and can’t follow through and close deals and build buildings.

Show me the money for St Regis development.

Sky City Center Development Investors Not Getting Paid.

The following quotes are sourced from the bankruptcy filings of the Harmony Village Developments.

Stalking Horse Bid was predicated upon Fortress assuming the Debtor’s agreements of purchase and sale with the Purchasers. It was also,in part,a credit bid. Although DSFI was to have been paid in full on closing, the purchaser was to have assumed the existing debt secured under the second and third charges.

On the afternoon of April 6, 2017, the Receiver was advised that Fortress would not complete the purchase of the Property pursuant to the Stalking Horse Bid, as it no longer wished to assume the Purchasers’ agreements of purchase and sale.

    As such, the Receiver reported that as a next step it would contact those parties who had expressed an interest in the Property during the Stalking Horse Process to invite them to submit offers.

The deposit paid by Fortress thereunder of $350,000 forfeited to the Receiver.

Receiver Actually Refers to “Lift”

Fortress planned to assign its rights under the Stalking Horse Bid to a builder/developer with whom the Receiver had not had prior dealings. Upon learning of this, the Receiver obtained assurance from counsel to Fortress that the assignment would not result in Fortress receiving a financial “lift” that would otherwise flow into the Debtor’s estate if the Property were sold directly to the assignee.

It seems like the receiver is concerned that Fortress is trying to make money as the middleman in the transaction between the Receiver and the Buyer.

Put On Your Big Boy Pants

Given Fortress’s repudiation of the Stalking Horse Bid and its prior plan to assign its rights as purchaser (which suggested that Fortress’s control over completing a transaction may be limited), the Receiver, through its counsel, advised Fortress’s counsel that a substantially larger deposit, in the range of 10% of the purchase price for the Property, would be required and the Receiver would need to be satisfied of Fortress’s financial ability to close.

Boom

In the email, the Receiver’s request for an increased deposit was rejected.

Boom Boom

On April 20, 2017, the Receiver was notified that Fortress’s first mortgage financing commitment to purchase the Property had expired.

On April 24 and 25, 2017, counsel for Fortress and the Receiver exchanged emails in which it became apparent that Fortress did not have the requisite financing in place.

On April 27, 2017, the Receiver’s counsel again requested evidence of Fortress’s financial ability to complete the Fortress Offer. No such evidence was provided to the Receiver.

Another Offer Appears

Fortress wrote a letter to the Receiver accusing them of malfeasance because the buyer decided to cut them out of the deal. So this is the Receiver’s reply.

The Receiver vigorously denies your allegations that it has acted in a manner which is inappropriate. There is no existing contract between the Receiver and your client. Following your client’s termination of the Stalking Horse Bid, the Receiver informed the Court and all stakeholders at it would continue marketing the property for sale.

In re-marketing the property, the Receiver has not breached any of its duties. The Receiver has been taking reasonable steps to market the property to all potential purchasers. Your client’s second offer, which was submitted following its repudiation of the stalking horse bid, has not been accepted by the Receiver and the Receiver is at liberty to continue marketing the property for sale.

Len Gangbar counsel for (redacted) contacted David Preger on an unsolicited basis and advised that (redacted) was making an offer on its own. Mr. Preger suggested that (redacted) work with Fortress.

The Receiver, through its counsel, has repeatedly informed you that it requires your client to provide evidence of its ability to close a sale transaction. Notwithstanding those requests, the Receiver has not been provided with evidence of your client’s financial ability to close.

The Receiver has continued to market the property, as it disclosed it would and would have been breaching its duty if it had not. The Receiver was and is prepared to consider all offers submitted.

The Sale is Approved

No one knows what the final purchase price is, we only know that the sale amount from the Developer (Pinnacle) is less than the existing mortgages on the property. How much is not yet revealed. No one knows except the receiver and the courts what the losses are.

The Sale is Appealed

Then Fortress decided to appeal the sale. Ok then.

The learned motion’s judge made palpable and overriding errors of fact and law resulting in the occurrence of a substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice.

The learned motion’s judge erred in accepting that the Receiver’s recommendation that offer to purchase the Property from Pinnacle International Sheppard Lands Inc. (“Pinnacle Offer”) be approved as it was the best offer to purchase the Property from the point of view of the majority of stakeholders.

Sorrenti, as trustee for the investors in the syndicated third mortgagee, will incur a loss in excess of $10,000 should the Property be sold to Pinnacle pursuant to the Vesting Order. If the Sorrenti Motion had been granted and the Fortress Offer accepted, the investors in the syndicated third mortgagee would not incur a loss on the sale of the Property.

So there you have it, the appeal.

More to come…

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