'I didn't even know people like her existed,' Vaughan landlord says of 'nightmare' tenant

Three Toronto-area landlords are warning others about Israt Khan, claiming she moves into apartments, stops paying rent, makes repeated false calls to the police and fire departments, and then refuses to move out.

3 landlords claim Israt Khan harassed them, made false claims; Khan denies wrongdoing

Abdul Mohar stands in front of his Vaughan, Ont., home. He rented his basement apartment to Israt Khan and says she was a 'nightmare' tenant. (Farrah Merali/CBC News)

For more than six months, it became an almost daily routine for police to visit Abdul Mohar's family home in Vaughan, Ont., at all hours.

"One day, around 1:30 on Sunday night, the cops came up to my door and said she had laundry in the machine, can you open the door," said Mohar, who told CBC News that a locked laundry room door was just one of the reasons his previous tenant called police.

"She called the cops every day — for no reason — saying: 'He stole my laundry, he stole my detergent.'"

Mohar is one of three Toronto-area landlords wanting to warn others about Israt Khan — a woman he describes as a "nightmare" tenant.

Their stories are strikingly similar. They claim Khan moves into apartments, stops paying rent, makes repeated false calls to the police and to fire departments, and then refuses to move out.

"I didn't even know people like her existed in the world," said Mohar.

Khan did not respond to CBC's request for comment. (Facebook)

Khan has made headlines previously. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador issued a public warning about her in 2016 for advertising an illegal investment opportunity.

CBC News made repeated attempts to reach Khan by phone, email and text, but she didn't respond to messages. After this story was published, Khan contacted CBC News and denied any wrongdoing.

Calls to police, fire, claims of assault

Mohar said Khan and her partner moved into the basement of his Vaughan home in August 2018. Almost immediately, he said, Khan stopped paying rent.

"The next month, she paid me half and after that, she didn't pay me anything at all," said Mohar.

Instead, he said, she made repeated calls to emergency services.

"She claimed that I assault her, that I take her pictures when she's sleeping naked, and I'm taking pictures from the window. One day she called the cops saying, 'Oh, he stole my laundry.'"

York Regional Police confirmed to CBC News they were called to Mohar's property on "numerous occasions for landlord/tenant disputes." But no charges were laid.

Mohar, shown inside the unit he rented to Khan and her partner, says she stopped paying rent almost immediately. (Mark Boschler/CBC News)

Mohar said he served Khan two eviction notices: one for non-payment of rent, the other arguing he wanted to take the unit back for personal use. The first notice was served in November, however, Khan didn't leave until March, he said.

"It was really frustrating, because the Landlord and Tenant Board process is quite lengthy," said Mohar.

In addition to those calls, Mohar told CBC News that Khan was running two businesses out of his basement, selling plants and catering. Two months after she moved out, Mohar said he's still cleaning up the mess.

A photo submitted by Mohar that he says shows the state of his basement apartment after Khan moved out. (Abdul Mohar)

Mohar estimated the damage to his basement is in the range of $15,000.

Same story, different landlords

Two other landlords say they had similar experiences with Khan.

Avtar Singh Cheema rented a unit to Khan and her partner in a Brampton home he owns. 

"[Khan] said our basement was illegal … and said, 'I'm not going to pay you rent,'" said Cheema, speaking in Hindi through an interpreter.

Cheema said Khan also complained to police that he and his two sons were sexually harassing her.

He evicted her after five months. Over that period, he said, he collected a total of $500 from her for the $700 monthly apartment.

Avtar Singh Cheema says he too rented out a unit in his Brampton, Ont., property to Khan and her partner. He claims Khan made repeated false calls to police, never paid rent and refused to leave. (Farrah Merali/CBC News)

"Every day [Khan] texted me two or three times and gave me lots of hard times," said Mohammed Amadadul Hoque, who rented out the basement of his Scarborough home in September 2017 to Khan and her partner.

He said Khan made repeated false calls to the city about heating issues and the fire department. Hoque filed a police complaint against Khan after she sent him a message he believed was a threat against his young kids.

"I was so scared — especially for my children," said Hoque.

CBC News reached out to Khan's partner in an effort to contact her, but he said he's no longer allowed to have contact with her because of a court order and would not comment for this story.

Part of the challenge for all landlords is the length of time it takes to get rid of a bad tenant.

Landlord advocates said there aren't enough adjudicators to hear cases.

"It's taking longer for disputes to be resolved. And that's not good for landlords nor is it good for tenants," said Tony Irwin, president and CEO of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario.

Tony Irwin, president and CEO of the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, says a lack of resources at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board means it often takes longer for disputes like these to get resolved. (Mark Boschler/CBC )

Irwin said while he doesn't hear of many cases like these, some problem tenants are aware of the backlogs as well as the fact they don't need to pay rent while an eviction is being challenged.

N.L. government warning

CBC News first reported on Khan in 2015, when she made headlines in Newfoundland for her alleged treatment of employees at a St. John's thrift store she ran.

Khan was accused of harassing employees and not paying them properly.

One month later, Service NL — a provincial body — issued a public warning about Khan, claiming she was running an unregistered company called Bambi Land Inc. that was illegally advertising investment services in newspapers and social media.

Warning to others

None of Khan's landlords CBC News spoke to did a background check on her prior to renting out their units.

Mohar said he's speaking out because he doesn't want the same thing to happen to others, but also to encourage landlords to do their homework on prospective tenants.

"I would tell every single landlord to check their backgrounds. Check with their previous landlords," said Mohar.

"I didn't do that, but had I done that I wouldn't be in that situation right now."


Farrah Merali is an award-winning reporter at CBC Toronto with a passion for politics, investigative journalism and urban health issues. She previously worked as the early morning reporter at CBC Vancouver. Follow her at @FarrahMerali