I would recommend putting this book on your gotta read list, co-written by Bruce Patton of The Harvard law school, myself ths book amazed me, the basic principal would apply, and benefit any partnership/relationship, even outside of the Law. While studying Law, as part of the curriculum, we were required to do many assignments, one of which was, we were required frequently to attend select courts and Tribunals, to sit, observe and based on an course outline, we were required to write a summary of the proceedings and what we observed, to be evaluated. Not long ago for two days, I sat in on proceeding at the Residential Landlord and Tenant Tribunal hearings, and I would like to share it with you. Landlord & Tenant Tribunal Visit by Terry Kinden on Thursday, November 22, 2012
The Landlord and Tenant board now belongs to a newly formed group, of social justice Tribunals in Ontario, ex; Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and The Social Benefits Tribunal. The Mandate of the Tribunals is to provide all Ontarians with a choice of effective dispute Resolutions to issues that may have a major impact on their everyday lives. The board was created by the R.T.A on January 31, 2007, and it’s main functions is; Try to resolve disputes that can happen between Tenants and Landlords either with Mediation or adjudication, control rent increases in Residential rental units, and provide information to landlords and Tenants about their rights and responsibilities according to the Residential Tenancies Act 2006. Their decisions stand alone and can’t be influenced by any Government Department or Agency, the Board is an independent Agency. That being said, the following is what I observed.
The Adjudicator Mr. Ron Nolan started with an opening statement, informing clients of two Board mediators that were available if anyone was open to mediation, they could proceed there now and add their name to the list, their matter would be stood down, he advised the landlords to proceed to another court room. Also if anyone required legal advice, to proceed to the duty counsel’s office and add their name to the list. He then read the list of preliminary matters that were non-payment of rent N-4, (s.59)
- The first case he called and from what I could hear, the details were about; the tenant was holding back his rent, he was in arrears for more than $8000 due to maintenance issues, the adjudicator ask if they were interested in mediation and they both agreed to try mediation.
- The next matter was a request for adjournment, legal counsel was unable to attend, and the adjournment was granted.
- Baycrest Drive the tenant was in arrears for $894.48, but agreed to a Standard order (11 days to pay or the eviction is ordered). There were five more matters with payment arrangements and were also Standard orders.
- 366 Frank Street was in arrears $6566, it was stood down for mediation.
- 1404 Rosenthal Ave was in arrears $2328, but he was not disputing the arrears, due to job lost he fell behind and had since obtained another job, the matter was stood down for mediation.
- 210 Woodridge crescent the tenant had an operation and was off work, but had a full-time part time job at the Bay, the landlord stated that she fell behind three times in the past, the city bailing her out once for $4000, she still has unresolved medical issues, but she did agree to pay $ 500 today and made payment arrangements for the remainder, that was the end of day one.
Day two started the same with opening statement by Mr. Nolan, starting with preliminary matters first.
- Again the first matter, counsel was not available the landlord requested adjournment, both parts gave reason for and against, the adjournment was denied, the adjudicator send both party’s to reception to reschedule the hearing.
- The next matter the tenant gave a check for all rental arrears just before the proceeding began; the judge gave a standard order, if the check did not clear the order stands. The two matters that followed were also standard orders.
- The next matter was an M-13 application for eviction and was the most interesting matter by far. The tenant an unemployed lawyer was living at 140 Bronson Ave in apt 6, 2nd floor, the building was owned by the City of Ottawa but managed by an outside firm. She received an eviction order under (s.83) of the Residential Tenancies Act. Her issue was kind of bizarre, she complained of a mole infestation in her unit, mainly in her bedroom on the wall a few months before to the Landlord. They did do an investigation and found there to be mole growing in one room on the wall, it was removed, plastered and painted. Sometime later the mole returned and again she contacted the Landlord to complain, at this point City Inspectors were brought in to investigate.
The Property Standards inspectors determined that the unit was not fit for habitation; it was a danger to her health and advised her to move immediately, as did the Department of Health. The landlord offered her a 3 bedroom unit for the same rent as her current 1 bedroom unit, all moving expenses paid and a few other extras, she declined, because signing of the agreement the landlord had produced, she would be giving up her rights. She had good evidence for sure and prepared well, but the adjudicator told her maybe 5 times he could not award her anything, because he did not see her application in front of him and if he did he could maybe do something, she did not get the hint.
The application that he had in front of him was filed by the landlord; they were evicting her for the sake of her own health, going out of their way to help, she kept going back to the breach of contract under (s.83). The adjudicator told her he was not going there again, my decision is based on the Law and what is best for your health, and the city has already told you it’s bad for your health and to move, and you are requesting an extension on the eviction order that already gives you until January 31, 2013 before moving out, that’s 2 ½ months, is this not sufficient time enough to get your matters in order? And why do you want to stay there that long? When you should move out today! The Landlord has a permit to demolish all the inside walls to eliminate the problem permanently, to do so though she had to move, the estimated time to complete the repairs is 3 months, they were willing to relocate her and pay all expenses, she wouldn’t agree so they filed for eviction. The adjudicator finish by saying he is obligated to respect the law and order the eviction but reserved decision and advised both party’s his decision would be in the mail.
- The final matter was a mediation failure, an application by a tenant regarding his fridge supplied by the landlord, making excessive noise, so bad he said he had to shut it off at night at times causing the food inside to spoil. The landlord called a technician for service, his finding were, the compressor was making the noise and needed to be replaced, but it would cost more than the fridge was worth. The fridge did work, keeping items cool inside and frozen in the freezer so the landlord would not replace it. The tenant is asking for a new fridge and compensation for the wasted food, the adjudicator also reserved decision, my decision will be in the mail.
There were many decisions the adjudicator made, most were standard orders for non- payment of rent, There were a number of matter’s that the adjudicator referred to mediation, two of which failed. Then there were two cases that he reserved decision, my thoughts on the reason he reserved decision on them is further research, he did mention at a certain point “case Law” and maybe to go over the evidence a little more clearly, or he just decided to exercise his right to reserve. From what I saw in regards to the merits and weaknesses of the cases, I did notice that every tenant that was there was honest and did not dispute being in arrears, they were just looking for more time to pay, which some got and others didn’t, according to Law, they got 12 days to pay or get out..So if we stop and think for a moment, at one time or another we all hit that wall life throws at us, sooner then later we must stop, look and listen, decide to climb, go around, go over or just break through that wall, because in reality, the Tribunal is the last avenue of relief or solution for most, rather than admit defeat, knowing full well they are outside of their rights, but looking for a last escape of possibility.
Originally Posted Jan 20, 2013
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