Toronto

Toronto landlord accuses tenants of fraud, forgery and not paying thousands in rent

A Toronto landlord’s months-long quest to evict two tenants he accuses of fraud, forgery and  non-payment of rent is heading to an eviction hearing today at Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board. 

Ontario’s Landlord Tenant Board will hold a second eviction hearing today

Toronto landlord Mohamed Camara rented out his two-bedroom condo 11 months ago and says the two women who are his tenants haven't paid rent for the past seven months. He is going to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board for a second eviction hearing on Friday. (Oliver Walters/CBC)

A Toronto landlord's months-long quest to evict two tenants he accuses of fraud, forgery and non-payment of rent is heading to an eviction hearing Friday at Ontario's Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). 

It's Mohamed Camara's second attempt to evict the two women in three months.

According to documents filed with the LTB, Camara says he's owed $13,000 in back rent from two tenants, at least one of whom he says used questionable ID to rent his downtown condo.

Camara says the two women named on the lease — who he believes are sisters named Shasteven Reid and Shi-Ronni Tynes — have paid no rent in seven months, have refused to let him enter to inspect his condo even after he'd given proper notice, and presented him with what he believes to be falsified identification, job references and credit reports.

He says police are investigating his allegations, but Toronto police would not confirm that.

Situation 'beyond frustrating,' landlord says

"It's beyond frustrating," Camara told CBC Toronto. "I expect there'll be a number of repairs … plus lawyer fees; it's unbelievable. It's much worse than a case of rent not paid. It goes beyond that."

Camara says he estimates his total loss so far is about $22,000.

Camara first tried to evict the two last December, and was told by the LTB that he'd won. But within days, the women appealed and the board temporarily rescinded the eviction order.

The women told the LTB that they failed to attend the virtual hearing due to internet problems. 

A new hearing is scheduled for today.

Camara says his nightmare began a year ago, when he put his unit at 36 Lisgar St. up for lease. He says his real estate agent and an agent for Reid and Tynes came to an agreement effective April 1, based on stellar credit reports, personal and professional references and healthy-looking pay stubs.

The women agreed to a one-year lease at $1,900 a month for the two-bedroom unit.

Landlord says he was denied access

All went well at first, he says, but by July, their payments were late, and by August they'd stopped paying at all.

That's when Camara applied to the LTB for an eviction. It's also when he says Reid began denying him the ability to inspect his unit on 24-hours notice, as the law allows.

"To always be on the right side of justice, we have avoided entering into any type of confrontation," Camara wrote in a March 1 letter to the LTB. "Since renting the property in April, we had been denied to enter my own property." 

He says between November 2021 and March 7, 2022, he tried to enter the unit five times. 

He only gained access once, with the help of a building employee — and that was only because Reid wasn't home at the time, he says.

"It's not only the money. They are not taking care of the place," said Camara. He said  the building employee who once entered the unit to do a repair  "told me that it doesn't look good inside at all." 

By September, Camara had enlisted the help of his real estate agent, Frederick Oyekanmi, and paralegal Barrington Lue Sang — who has extensive experience in landlord-tenant disputes — to begin double-checking Reid's and Tynes's documents, Camara said in a letter to the LTB.

Reid had provided a letter of reference from a person named David Samuels, who identified himself as the owner of Canada Design Build. The phone number on his reference letter does not appear to be operating.

CBC Toronto received an email from Samuels's address that indicated Reid had worked for him, but he said that after she had a baby, she "was not feeling good so she stopped working in late 2021."

Tynes's job reference came from a company called General Care Nursing. The phone number listed on its website is no longer operable. 

No records for companies in references

CBC Toronto could find no provincial records for either Canada Design Build or General Care Nursing.

In an affidavit sworn by Oyekanmi, the agent wrote: "I was notified by the landlord, Mohammed [sic] Camara that … he had visited the work addresses provided by the tenants, only to discover the location is just a postal address and no real company existed."

According to Camara's filings to the LTB, Lue Sang queried the driver's licence number provided by Reid with Ontario's Ministry of Transportation and discovered that no such licence exists.

Camara says he has still neither seen nor spoken with the second person whose name is on the lease, ShiRonni Tynes.

CBC Toronto reached out to Reid but she declined to speak on the record.

In his sworn statement, Oyekanmi wrote that "on or about September 2021, I sent an email to the tenants advising them that we are going to report to the police for fraud." He said he later received a call from an unknown number, and that the person claimed to be the mother of one of the tenants. Oyekanmi said she accused both him and Camara of harassing her daughter and "claimed that the real estate representative provided them with the forged documents." He said she offered no proof of this.

CBC Toronto has spoken to representatives for the real estate agent who worked with the women. They denied that the agent provided any questionable documents to the women.

Camara says he's owned another rental property, in the Sheppard-Don Mills area, for about a decade and has never had any problems with tenants before. But this experience is causing him to think twice about investment properties.

"I will be extremely careful if I continue. If I continue, then my reference check will be 10 times much more extensive than this one was. And I thought that we did a very good job in obtaining all the information and documentation."

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