Man wants to move into his London, Ont., home, but tenant won't leave or pay $15K in back rent
Singh says he's borrowed from friends and family waiting for a hearing with the Landlord Tenant Board
A London, Ont., man says he's $20,000 in debt and suffering extreme stress due to seven months of unpaid rent and legal fees spent trying to evict a tenant.
Parvinder Singh said he can't move into his own home because his tenant won't adhere to the mutually agreed-upon date to vacate the property. With no response from the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) on a hearing date, Singh said he's at his wits' end.
"I can't be in debt just to pay my mortgage," he said. "I'm a simple 9 to 5 working guy and all I want is just to get into my house."
Singh bought the home in the city's north end in 2020, and rented it out while awaiting a job transfer from his employer in Brampton. The initial lease was for six months, but Singh said he and the tenant then agreed to a month-to-month lease when the transfer didn't materialize.
The tenant initially kept up with his monthly payments of $2,236, Singh said. He even signed an N11 notice (an agreement to end tenancy), which CBC News has seen, confirming he would move out by April 30.
But in February, Singh said the tenant stopped responding to his calls and messages. That's when he said he presented the tenant with an N12 notice (which notifies about the intention for the landord or a relative move in), giving him 60 days to move.
"After that, there was no communication. So April 30 comes, and I was there with my family and all my stuff to move into my house, and he didn't open up any doors," Singh said. That's also when the rent payments stopped.
A few days later, Singh said, he returned to the house and was told by the tenant's friend that he must pay $20,000 and the tenant will leave.
"I was shocked," Singh said. "I cried in front of him. I even offered $7,000 for two months' rent or help him move, anyway I can assist him to move out of my house, but he didn't agree on anything."
It's taking a toll on my mental and physical health because I feel exhausted by this.- Parvinder Singh, 26
CBC News spoke to the tenant, who claims the landlord and the person he's been dealing with are two different people. He said it's because the email he was using to e-transfer the rent has a different name attached to it. The tenant didn't want his name used to protect his safety.
Singh said he uses an email address he's had for more than a decade and used his legal name on all documents, which the tenant co-signed.
The tenant also alleges he signed the N11 under duress because he was intoxicated when Singh came over with the document. The tenant said he's submitted two T2 notices against Singh for harassment and illegal entry.
'Clients absolutely desperate': paralegal
Singh filed for a hearing with the LTB six months ago, but said he hasn't heard back due to a backlog that's impacting many other landlord and tenants in dispute. He's also hired a paralegal, increasing his debt load, to try to get the tenant to leave.
Singh's situation is common, according to Kathleen Lovett of KLP Paralegal Services and Landlord Solutions. Lovett said these kinds of scenarios are recurring at a fast pace.
"Tenants are very aware that there's a great backlog at the LTB and some, certainly not all, are taking advantage of the fact that there are great delays," the Toronto-based paralegal said.
Lovett said her team is swamped with landlords in situations that are similar to what Singh is experiencing.
She said newly announced changes to LTB proceedings to help clear the backlog — prioritizing landlord applications asking for above guideline rent increases until the end of the year — doesn't help small landlords, who have no choice but to wait for a hearing date.
"Our clients are absolutely desperate and they're at different stages of desperation," Lovett said. "Some will try paying cash for keys, and a lot of tenants are aware of this and looking to make some good money for that purpose."
Lovett believes the LTB needs to look at all the variables and focus on urgent matters that can put landlords or tenants on the brink of bankruptcy, if not dealt with immediately.
With no other place to go, Singh said he's currently living at his sister's house in Brampton. He's also had to borrow money from his loved ones to help pay his mortgage.
"It's taking a toll on my mental and physical health because I feel exhausted by this, I'm not even sure how much I owe my friends and family and I'm not sure what to do next."
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