Amidst a shortage of available units and the multi-decades high demand for rental, Toronto’s overheated rental market is a landlord paradise. Some landlords would explore various avenues to tap into this lucrative market, leaving tenants at the mercy of property owners’ whim and greed. Rental hikes are one of the tools at landlord disposal. Although rental increase capped at 1.8% by the government, the average rental rise across the city is currently at 5.5%, with some landlords resetting their rent at a much higher rate by evicting the existing tenants and renting to new ones. While landlords who evict a law-abiding tenant without a genuine intention to move in themselves break the rule, the cases of “bad-faith” were rarely sanctioned by the LTB (The Landlord and Tenant Board), according to the Globe investigation.
名下具有数百万产业的王大伟先生进入了《环邮》的调查视野。拥有$850万房屋资产的王先生及其旗下公司管理数栋多单元住宅，通过向房客递交驱逐令提高房租而进一步获利。一年之内，王先生将多名租客赶出家门，让他们流离失所也无处伸冤。这些房客中，有多伦多遗产委员会成员Whaley女士;软件开发人员Peter Quinsey和乔治布朗学院的学生Jessica Qi。所有驱逐令都是以N12条款为由，即王及其直系亲属将需要在该单元自住，并在此居住至少一年。
Entering the picture was Mr. David Wang, who has built a multimillion-dollar property empire. Mr. Wang and his companies owned $8.5 million properties and managed several multi-unit dwellings, raising profit margin by frequently slapping an eviction notice on his tenants and then raising rents. Within a year, he booted several tenants out of their home, putting them out on the street with little recourse. Among them were Ms. Whaley, a board member of Heritage Toronto; Peter Quinsey, a software developer, and Jessica Qi, a student at George Brown College. All evictions were using N12 justification that Wang and his immediate families would move into the unit for at least a year.
But it was Ms. Khader, a social worker and Ms. Dearing a graphic designer, who stood up for their rights and filed a complaint with LTB tribunal. They believed N12 was a convenient tool for Wang to kick them out and that Mr. Wang’s evictions represented a pattern of bad faith. They discovered convincing evidence that strongly supported their claims. Wang sent them an eviction notice in May 2017, claiming he and his mother would move into their apartment respectively. However, a just a month earlier, he had also given N12 to Ms. Morgan, a basement tenant at the same building, saying his mother needed her unit, too!
The tribunal heard their complaint in September, where Wang maintained that he withdrew N12 notice sent to Morgan and that Morgan’s moveout was voluntary. Ultimately, the tribunal ruled in favor of Mr. Wang, ordering Dearing to move out by Nov. 1, 2017 and Khader to leave by Dec. 1. Although Wang did not move into any of the units that he claimed on the eviction notices, Wang was able to get away with it and continued to purchase real estate and evict tenants. Wang has declined to comment to the Globe about the tenants’ allegations.
房租仲裁庭处理的另一个案件显示其对房东滥用N12驱逐令现象执法无力。一名房客在收到房东 N12 驱逐令后向仲裁庭投诉，并提供了有利证据证明房东根本无意搬进该单元。房客发现在发出驱逐令后一个月在Kijiji上刊登广告将其单元出租，且提供了房东承认她不会搬入单元的口头录音。当房东的一句口头声明，即她与男友分手后改变了计划，就足以彻底驳回了房客的投诉。
Another case at tribunal painted a similar picture of N12’s enforcement lacking teeth. A tenant filed a complaint after being sent N12 by her landlord, providing the claim with evidence that the landlord had no intention to move into her unit as she claimed. The tenant found that the landlord listed her apartment on Kijiji within a month of her eviction notice and provided a recording of the landlord’s admission that she had no intention to move in. But the landlord’s verbal claim of a plan change –after breaking up with a boyfriend -- was enough to have the complaint dismissed entirely!
Renters’ concerns about illegal eviction grow rapidly across the city, leading to a soaring number of N12 eviction disputes before the LTB, according to the Globe article. However, the LTB has found few bad-faith cases, allowing more landlords to exploit the N12 loopholes and take advantages of tenants. The board would rule in favor of landlords just based on their verbal assertions at a hearing and has never kept a tab on their claims to move into the evicted unit. At the time when home and rental prices are skyrocket high, the N12 loophole would only fuel the affordability crisis engulfing the city.
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