Windsor

MPP calls for more rental dispute adjudicators after reports on 'startling' wait times

After learning how "broken" the rental dispute system is in Windsor, local MPP and NDP housing critic Percy Hatfield is calling for more adjudicators to reduce wait times.

Percy Hatfield says more adjudicators are needed to deal with long waits for hearings

A Windsor landlord is forced to clean up the mess left behind by an evicted tenant. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Ontario's NDP housing critic is calling for more rental dispute adjudicators in Windsor to cut down on wait times that leave families living in freezing and rodent-infested housing waiting more than a month to get a hearing.

Percy Hatfield, who represents the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh, said the system needs an overhaul, following a CBC Windsor series on rental issues in the city.

"It's startling," Hatfield said.

Numbers obtained by CBC News show tenant application wait times to get a hearing before the Landlord and Tenant Board have nearly doubled since 2013.

Wait times above provincial standard

On average, from the time a tenant files paperwork to the day they appear before an adjudicator, it takes 37.9 business days — well above the provincial standard of 25.

"Where this service standard is not being met, the LTB often looks to leverage adjudicative by having Members reassigned to the regional area in need of resources," a Landlord and Tenant Board spokesperson said in an email.

Percy Hatfield, MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh, described CBC Windsor's series on the rental dispute system as "startling."

But Hatfield said something is clearly not working.

"I don't think the province has enough adjudicators to hear the cases when the complaints come in. That should be fixed," said Hatfield. "There should be a speedier response, especially in the cold winter months."

Tenant lives with hole in roof while waiting

Nicholas Casey-Adam, along with his girlfriend and infant son, was forced to live in a cold unit with a hole in the ceiling while waiting for a hearing.

There should be a speedier response, especially in the cold winter months.- Percy Hatfield, Windsor-Tecumseh MPP

He stopped paying rent because the hole let in cold air and left the apartment at a frigid 11 C, but was unaware that refusing to pay is illegal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

"My son is only seven months old. He was wrapped in multiple blankets and he was still freezing cold all the time," said Casey-Adam. "It took way too long to solve a problem they could have solved right away."

Hole in the ceiling not fixed right away, tenant says

Windsor

3 years ago
0:55
A tenant, his girlfriend and their infant son lived in a freezing cold apartment unit with a hole in the ceiling for months before it was fixed in Windsor. 0:55

Hatfield said he gets many calls to his constituency office in Windsor about rental problems.

However, he doesn't foresee the issue being discussed at Queen's Park before the upcoming election.

"The agenda is pretty full right now with the government stumbling to the finish line and getting ready for the next election."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca

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