Toronto

Toronto woman fights 'baffling' eviction notice, says landlord wouldn't tell her how to pay rent

A Toronto woman says she's being evicted after it took her landlord weeks to provide basic details on how to pay her rent — despite her reaching out multiple times to the property management company over a more than 50-day period.

Sheena Callaghan says it took more than 50 days for landlord to provide payment details

Single mother of two Sheena Callaghan worries she might have to move again and uproot her two children from their new school. But she says it took more than a month for her landlord to provide rent payment details, and after getting that information, she's paid rent ever since. (Martin Trainor/CBC News)

A Toronto woman says she's being evicted after it took her landlord weeks to provide basic details on how to pay her rent — despite her reaching out multiple times to the property management company over a more than 50-day period. 

The saga started over the summer when Sheena Callaghan's friend got a new condo and decided to move out of his spacious east-end apartment.

The single mother of two jumped at the chance to move into the $1,800 a month two-bedroom-plus-den unit, and on July 12, her assignment agreement to take over the remainder of the lease on Aug. 1 was approved.

That's when things got "frustrating."

Multiple times, by email and phone, Callaghan said she asked Greenwin, the property management company, for e-transfer rent payment details. And multiple times, she said the company did not provide basic information on how to pay her rent, by e-transfer or any other method.

Then, on Aug. 8, a few days after she'd moved into the unit, Callaghan received an N4 notice from Greenwin to end her tenancy "for non-payment of rent." The N4 notice gave a rent payment deadline of Aug. 27. 

"It's worrisome that I moved to a new area, my kids are going to start at a new school, and I don't even know if I'm going to live here," Callaghan said in an emotional interview with CBC Toronto.

CBC Toronto also contacted several Greenwin employees by phone, email, and in person, but were told by two representatives that the company will not be commenting. 

'It was a pretty simple request'

In an Aug. 14 email to multiple Greenwin staff members, Callaghan wrote that she had been "making attempts to acquire payment information" since mid-July.

The next day by email, a senior property manager apologized "for the confusion" and asked her to contact the office in Callaghan's building. The response did not outline rent payment details. 

As the days passed, Callaghan grew worried about the looming rent payment deadline — which came and went with no concrete details provided about how to pay.

Then on Aug. 29 — two days after the deadline — Callaghan received an email from another Greenwin representative outlining all her rent payment options and the personal account number she needed to know in order to make a payment.

The next day, she was slapped with a formal eviction notice from the legal team for her landlord, Starlight Apartments.

Callaghan was baffled. Soon after getting the rent payment details, she paid all the rent she owed, and showed CBC Toronto multiple confirmation emails from her bank. But her landlord is still seeking to evict her, she said. 

"It's not like I didn't have the money. I was just waiting for [them] to tell me how to pay my rent. It was a pretty simple request," she said, adding that she works-full time.

"Now I'm going to court but I already paid ... so what are we going to court for?"

'Baffling situation,' says lawyer

The eviction notice provided to CBC Toronto states that Callaghan owed $1,800 in rent as of Aug. 30. She maintains that, since finally receiving rent payment details, she paid her outstanding rent in full and has since paid every month.

Callaghan now has her own lawyer — and fired back at her landlord's eviction notice with a tenant-rights application to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

In her application, she states she met with her landlord "well ahead" of the Aug. 1 tenancy date to complete the paperwork but was not provided payment information nor copies of any paperwork.

"This is a very baffling situation," said her lawyer, Caryma Sa'd. "She had done all of her due diligence ... It seems like there are a lot of black holes in communication when it comes to this company."

A joint hearing for both the eviction notice and Callaghan's tenants-rights application is expected in the weeks ahead.

Now, Callaghan worries her landlord will "seek any way" to evict her, which could lead her to move again and uproot her two children from their new school.

"It's been five months I've been dealing with the stress of — am I going to be evicted? Am I not going to be evicted?" she said.

About the Author

Lauren Pelley

City Hall reporter

Lauren Pelley is a CBC reporter in Toronto covering city hall and municipal affairs. Contact her at: lauren.pelley@cbc.ca