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Landlord seriously injured in Toronto axe attack!

August 13th, 2012 · Toronto landlords


This incredible story is from Toronto.  A mentally ill machete murderer is back behind bars after a bloody axe attack in The Junction that put his landlord in hospital Friday morning.

Toronto Police say they received numerous 911 calls shortly before 9 a.m. about an altercation at 2425 Dundas St. W., a house just north of Bloor St. W.

“Officers arrived on the scene and found a man at a nearby business bleeding badly from head wounds,” Const. Tony Vella said Friday.

The victim of the “unprovoked attack” was rushed to hospital with “serious” injuries, he said.

Meanwhile, a second man, who was allegedly armed with a small hatchet, was located a few homes south of where the altercation started.

Rallin Edward Lawes, 64, was arrested and charged with attempted murder.


“This appears to be a landlord-tenant dispute,” Cnst. Tony Vella said.

It’s believed the landlord went to his tenant’s apartment to collect a rent cheque and ended up running for his life when he was attacked with an axe.


The Sun has learned that 20 years ago the accused man killed his roommate with a machete in Parkdale.

Afterward, Lawes went to a phone booth, called police and confessed to the slaying.

Carlton Alexander Palmer, 32, was found dead on June 17, 1992, in the top floor apartment of a Spencer Ave. rooming house.

Lawes was charged with second-degree murder.

In February 1993, court heard Lawes suffered from a major mental illness for at least a decade.

He was apparently convinced Palmer wanted to kill him and thought he had to defend himself.

Psychiatrist Angus McDonald testified Lawes believed there was a mass conspiracy against him and that people were out to poison his food, purloin his possessions and assassinate him in any way possible.

Although Lawes was taking “ample amounts of anti-psychotic medication,” his “paranoid concerns have not faded,” the doctor said then.

Justice David Watt found Lawes intentionally killed Palmer but was too mentally ill to appreciate the consequences of his actions.

The judge found him not guilty…get this…by reason of insanity.

Lawes was sent to the maximum-security Oak Ridge facility at the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre while he waited for a review board to examine his case and determine at which hospital he should be incarcerated.

The review board could not be reached for comment Friday, so it’s unclear what ended up happening.

Exactly when he was released from care, and why, was also not immediately known.

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For Ontario Landlords Wanting Success, the Guidebook is Here!

June 11th, 2012 · Ontario Landlord Education

Ontario is a particularly tenant-friendly, anti-landlord province in 2012.

It’s also a province that lacks affordable rental house and has a waiting list of decades for those seeking government housing.

Instead of creating an environment to lead people to invest in rental housing (a fair legislative environment) the Ontario Liberal government has instead made a law that requires every municipality to create an “approved” path to create rental spaces.

This is a recipe for disaster for new landlords!  It look like the government is encouraging you to become a successful landlord.

In reality, it’s a devious trick.  The government is creating a legal way for you to become a landlord, yet won’t change the laws to NAIL YOU once you are a landlord.

The Ontario Landlords Association has a MUST READ guide for new and experienced landlords.

If you want to invest in Ontario rental property, it’s truly a MUST-READ.

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Congratulations to the BC Landlords Association

May 24th, 2012 · BC Landlords Association

All over Canada, small residential landlords are ignored or treated poorly by the government.

Despite being important providers of low cost quality housing, we simply don’t band together, don’t have money to lobby, and are usually treated like red-headed step children by an alcoholic step-parent.  (I know that sounds horrible, but it gets the point across).

That being said, it was great to hear the “BC Landlords Association is proud to be recognized by the government as an important voice for small business landlords across the province.”


Thank you BC Landlords Association.  We agree small residential landlords play an important role in providing high quality affordable housing in our province.  Small landlords need to be listened to, our concerns heard, and actions taken to ensure we have the ability to continue to operate, make a profit, and continue to provide a high quality housing choice for tenants.

We also want to congratulate the Ontario Landlords Association for similar recognition and success.

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May 7th, 2012 · Bad tenants

The Ontario Landlords Association has a great editorial on yesterday’s Toronto Star report on Nina Willis, the “Tenant From Hell”.

You can read the OLA story here.

Here is the Toronto Star story for those who missed it along with my commentary:

Nina Willis seemed like the ideal tenant.

Key word here is “seemed”

She was well-spoken and tidy, posing as an employee for a cellphone company with offices in Toronto and Montreal. She came with glowing references.

Where those references checked?

What landlord Darius Vakili, 63, didn’t know was that the 48-year-old Willis was a tenant from hell, with a track record of bounced cheques and eviction notices.

A Star investigation reveals that the rules governing the provincial Landlord and Tenant Board have allowed people like Willis to flourish. Privacy legislation means her dodgy past as a tenant is kept secret from prospective landlords.

LTB Hearings are held in the public, so why not publish the names?

Willis denies any wrongdoing. “There is a lot more to it than what you have been told,” she said, but did not provide details. “I don’t have anything to hide. I have done nothing wrong.”

Nothing except attempt to destroy a couple of old folks.

Landlord Vakili, who owns a small rental home in Don Mills is one in a long series of at least six landlords who have had trouble with Willis. Vakili is locked in a battle to evict Willis and recover more than $7,000 in unpaid rent.

Key point: he still hasn’t been able to evict her.

Like landlords who have sought information on Willis, the Star was told by the Landlord and Tenant Board individuals cannot request a tenant’s history. We had to use court records and interviews with past landlords to piece together Willis’s rental history. In the six cases we were able to find, the Star found that Willis rents a house, falls behind, issues cheques that bounce or only pays portions of what she owes.

Common tricks of the trade.

When a landlord tries to evict her she complains of shoddy maintenance and appeals to the Landlord and Tenant Board. She has lost every case, but sometimes appeals to court, which further delays her eviction. Along the way, Willis has frequently issued allegations of harassment and discrimination against her many landlords.

More common tricks of the trade.

Recently, she was charged with fraud and forgery by Toronto Police for allegedly providing “fake” employment information and writing bad cheques.

Charged but not convicted.

In interviews Willis’s landlords say they feel powerless in front of the provincially funded board.

In Vakili’s case Willis has been fighting off eviction orders for more than six months by paying portions of rent, claiming Vakili’s property failed to meet health and safety standards and asking for adjournments to present evidence that Vakili was harassing her.

“You feel you are helpless, you complain to the authorities and they take her side,” said landlord Vakili, who originally planned to give the house to his daughter but says he may be forced to sell the property. “I really don’t know what to do. If she stays another year I will be totally demolished.”

Get ready for at least another 3 months.

The six cases found by the Star date back to 2005.

Liberals took power in 2003.

An April 2012 ruling by Landlord and Tenant Board adjudicator Vincent Ching “failed to find (Willis) credible in any way.” Ching ordered Willis to vacate Vakili’s property, after he rejected her lawyer’s defence that she was “trying to make amends.”

The order doesn’t mean she is out. Ching estimated the time it would take from the order to the sheriff arriving could be up to four weeks. At any time Willis can pay the full amount of what she owes and stay.

Look for her to pay or appeal the morning the Sheriff arrives.

Vakili was one of two landlords who reported Willis to police. A date for the trial has not been set. Willis told the Star the fraud allegations were false and she intended to sue.

She might turn the tables on these two landlords.

The Star obtained information related to six properties Willis rented in the past seven years through files from Divisional Court and interviews with landlords, lawyers and paralegals.

The Landlord and Tenant board (formerly the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal) was created in 1998 to keep eviction and maintenance disputes out of Ontario courts and ensure fair hearings for the tens of thousands of landlords and tenants who appear before the board every year.

Why the secrecy?

Critics say those protections have also allowed a small number of tenants who manipulate the system at the taxpayer’s expense and ruin small landlords.

“The process in and of itself is good intentions gone awry,” said lawyer David Strashin, who specializes in landlord and tenant law and who has represented three of the Willis landlords.

The RTA is a lawyer’s best client pusher these days.

In 2007, the Residential Tenancies Act came into force and the tribunal was renamed the Landlord and Tenant Board. That, according to advocates for landlords, is when evicting tenants like Willis became even more difficult.

The new rules mean every person facing eviction has increased rights to mediation or a hearing, the board must consider any issues raised by a tenant related to non payment of rent, and tenants can pay the money they owe at any time to stop an eviction.

Willis’s landlords want her record and the record of tenants like her to be made public.

Good luck with that.

Prior to 2003, people could pay a fee and the board would produce reports on repeat tenants. The practice was stopped after the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario ruled that even though the hearings were public, releasing names, addresses and the amount of rent owed was a violation of the privacy act.

Landlord and Tenant board spokeswoman Donna Mrvaljevic said the board has chosen not to release information on tenants’ history because provincial privacy legislation “gives an institution the discretion to refuse to confirm or deny whether records exist.”

It is only when Willis appeals a board eviction notice that the file moves to court and into the public realm, where landlords can access a file for a fee. Critics say landlords should have ready access to records and not have to go to court to see if someone is a problem tenant.

If you didn’t know her history Willis seems like a perfect tenant.

She wouldn’t look so good after a credit check.

When she approaches the owners of small homes in the north and east end of the city she is friendly and well-dressed. Willis also claims to make a good living, and has a good relationship with her family and loves to garden.

Her husband, she has assured potential landlords, is handy and can handle small repairs. In the case where she claimed to work at a Toronto/Montreal cellphone company, the Star contacted the company, which said it had no record of Willis working there.

Tony Poupolo said Willis seemed like an “angel” to his elderly parents, who rented a house to her in 2008. She promised to take care of the property and deal with small repairs, then the rent stopped.

At the tribunal Willis again complained about the condition of the home. Poupolo said legal aid lawyers knew Willis and warned the family they were in for a fight.

So why did Legal Aid get involved?

In November 2008, the Landlord and Tenant Board ordered Willis to “move out of the rental unit on or before Nov. 9, 2008 and return the keys to the rental unit.”

Willis promptly appealed the board’s decision to Divisional Court, but lost. Poupolo’s said Willis owes his parents more than $12,000. Poupolo blames the tribunal for “allowing things to go on.”

Willis also damages the properties she lives in, landlords say. One landlord showed the Star photographs of a house after Willis was forced to leave, including a kitchen and other rooms filled with garbage, dirt, broken furniture and clothing. A smoke alarm dangled from the ceiling by wires in one room.

Another landlord who reported Willis to the police, Virginia Stoymenoff, 77, said Willis had installed locks on every door in her house, something she believes was done because Willis was subletting rooms to other tenants. Stoymenoff had to remove the locks at her own expense after Willis was forced to leave.

Willis called in city inspectors who ordered minor repairs on what landlord Stoymenoff claimed were “cosmetic issues” and opened a sealed cold room to complain about mould.

Willis has been ordered to pay Stoymenoff more than $8,500 in back rent.

“It has changed my lifestyle and it is so embarrassing to me that I was taken in so completely by her,” said Stoymenoff, who has written numerous times to associate board chair Lilian Ma complaining that the process at the Board takes too long. Ma has written back saying if she is not satisfied with a decision, she can appeal it.

Letters to Ma are hopeless.

Willis complains Stoymenoff and Vakili have banded together to harass her. The two landlords did meet when Stoymenoff found that Willis was now renting from Vakili. When Vakili appeared before the Landlord and Tenant Board to deal with Willis’ non payment of rent, he tried to introduce what he had learned about her history with Stoymenoff.

“Every time I show my documents they just ignore me,” Vakili said.

Board spokeswoman Mrvaljevic said landlords can submit evidence related to a tenant’s history but it is then up to each adjudicator to decide whether the material is “relevant and admissible.”

Lawyers and paralegals who represent small landlords said they have rarely seen a tenant’s previous history considered at board hearings.

Lawyer Strashin said in his experience “there seems to be a general refusal to consider that type of evidence,” because it could be considered to be prejudicial.

History and character don’t matter?  Welcome to Ontario.

Court documents show Willis also uses the last name Noronha or Lancelotte.

Reached in Nova Scotia, Willis’ mother, Vivian, described her daughter as a “go getter,” a successful antiques dealer who has owned homes in Toronto and Oshawa. Her mother said Willis had been stolen from and is persecuted by people who are envious of her success. “She pays, pays, pays,” she said.

Doesn’t look like she’s done much paying to me.

When confronted at the hearing Willis tried to pull a phone from a Star reporter then said: “You are going to make me famous, thanks. I didn’t know the Toronto Star supports people being homeless. It is not going to happen to me.”

Willis also tried to have the Star removed from her hearing. As she waited for her lawyer and dispute to be heard Willis paced in an outside hallway.

“I am exercising my rights. Damn right I am exercising my rights,” she said.

Friday afternoon, a Toronto Police detective contacted the Star and said Willis has alleged a Star reporter is stalking her. Police advised the Star not to contact Willis again.

Get ready for her to attack.  The lawyers and the Star don’t have to worry.  Those two landlords on the other hand….


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What Information Do I Provide Information to My New Tenants?

April 14th, 2012 · New landlords


What information does a landlord have to give to a new tenant?

According to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board and the laws in Ontario, a landlord must give all new tenants information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, the role of the Board and how to contact the Board.  The Board has a brochure called Information for New Tenants that landlords must use.  The Information for New Tenants brochure must be given to the tenant on or before the day the tenancy begins.

So When Does the Tenancy Actually Begin?

The tenancy begins on the date the tenant is entitled to move into the unit, even if the tenant does not move in on that date.

In addition, if the tenancy agreement is in writing, information about the landlord’s legal name and address must be included in the lease.  After the tenant has signed the lease and returned it to the landlord, the landlord then has 21 days to give the tenant a copy that has the signatures of both the tenant and the landlord.

What If there Is No Written Tenancy Agreement?

Where there is no written tenancy agreement, a landlord must inform the tenant, in writing, of the landlord’s legal name and address within 21 days after the tenancy begins.

If the landlord does not give the tenant a copy of the signed lease within 21 days or, if there is no written agreement and the landlord fails to inform the tenant of its legal name and address within 21 days, the tenant does not have to pay rent.  However, once the landlord provides the tenant with the required document(s), the tenant must pay back any rent that they withheld.  If the tenant refuses, the landlord could seek to evict the tenant for arrears of rent.

Where Can I Get More Information?

You can get more information here:  http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111463.html

Remember, the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Act favours tenants, so make sure you know the rules of the game!

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Tenancy Agreements AKA “Leases” in Ontario

March 10th, 2012 · Property management


Having a “lease” or a “tenancy agreement” is central to a good landlord/tenant relationship.  Smart landlords will also avoid simple verbal contracts because they can’t be proven at the LTB or in Court.

It will be a “he said” ,  “she said” situation.  You do not want this situation.

Some  landlords believe if lease terms are agreed upon by both parties, they are enforceable.  This isn’t true!  The Residential Tenancies Act  2006 is quick to point out in section 3, that the act applies “despite any other act and despite any waiver or agreement to the contrary”.  The law regulates the type of bargaining permitted between landlord and tenant.  For example,  no-pet clauses, are no longer enforceable and the collection of damage is deposits prohibited.

It is crucial that all landlords enter into rental agreements that are compliant with the Residential Tenancies  Act 2006, as failing to do so increases probalilities for frustration and monetary loss.

Be wary of template agreements that have been in the drawer for years.  The laws affecting residential tenancies were changed in 2007, and are unique to Ontario.  Use care with templates and the internet; ensure  the documents  are up-to-date and compliant with the laws in Ontario.

Incredibly, some people enter the rental property business and fail to become acquainted with the legislation until trouble develops, and necessity compels them.  Many landlords have been disappointed to learn that provisions of the agreement they hoped to rely on were not valid.   A clearly written, straight-forward and legal contract is a landlord’s best bet against uncertainty.

If you have property specific concerns which need to be addressed in your rental contract, it may be best to contact a licensed paralegal or lawyer.  Either can help you prepare a rental contract that accounts for your unique situation, and most importantly, is truly enforceable.

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors

February 9th, 2012 · Property management


There was a horrible story hitting the news at the end of January.   A family of 5 went to bed…and never woke up.   See the CBC story here. 

The coroner believes the family renting the Whitehorse house died of carbon monoxide poisoning during the night.

Firefighters entered the property using a breathing apparatus and believe the problem began with a smoke stack connected to the furnace.

There were no carbon dioxide detectors in the home.

Whether you take the side it’s up to the landlord to supply the detectors or up to the tenants, it’s clear a responsible landlord will supply carbon monoxide detectors to tenants, and get them to sign off on it.

A memorial was held for the Rusk family on February 4th.


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So You Want Your Tenants to Sign a Long Term Lease?

January 18th, 2012 · Bad tenants, lease

What can go wrong if a tenant wants a long term lease from you?

It makes sense doesn’t it.  You have a couple who want to rent your place.  They say they want “stability” and would like to sign a three year lease with you.

A three year lease?  That’s guaranteed rent for me for three years!

Again, it makes sense.  It sounds good.  Hell, it sounds great!  You have three years of not worrying about finding tenants.

Except this is Ontario.  Landlord of protection for bad tenants and leaving landlords with nothing

Let’s take a look at an LTB decision. Remember Tenants can break leases, usually with little pain. As for the landlord if you want to break a long term lease?

What happens?

TEL-06568-10 16/09/2010

– s. 48(2), N12 date for termination at end of term

The Landlord applied to evict the Tenant because the Landlord requires the rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation.

The Member found that the Agreement to Lease executed by the Tenant and the former Landlords was a valid written tenancy agreement which was binding on the current landlord.

The Landlord’s notice of termination gave a date in 2010 as the effective date. The previous landlords had entered into a five-year lease with the Tenant that expires in 2013. Therefore the termination date specified in the notice was not the day on which the term of the tenancy ends as required by s. 48(2) of the RTA, and the Landlord’s application was dismissed.

http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume … 085043.pdf

Order under Section 69
Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
File Number: TEL-06568-10
In the matter of: [Address removed]

Between: [Landlord’s name removed] Landlord


[Tenant’s name removed] Tenant

[Landlord’s name removed] (the ‘Landlord’) applied for an order to terminate the tenancy and
evict [Tenant’s name removed] (the ‘Tenant’) because the Landlord requires possession of the
rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation.
 The Landlord also claimed compensation for

each day the Tenant remained in the unit after the termination date.

This application was heard in Whitby on August 30, 2010.


[Landlord’s name removed], in person
[Tenant’s name removed], in person
[Landlord Legal Representative’s name removed], the Landlord’s legal representative


1. The Landlord served the Tenant with a notice of termination effective July 31, 2010
because the Landlord requires possession of the rental unit for the purpose of residential

2. The notice of termination does not comply with the requiremments set out in section 48 of
the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006 c. 17 (the ‘Act’). Specifically, the
termination date specified in the notice is not the day on which the tenancy ends. The
tenant and the former landlords entered into a written tenancy agreement for a fixed five
(5) year term commencing August 1, 2008 and ending July 31, 2013.

3. As the Landlord has selected an invalid termination date, the application for termination of
the tenancy and eviction of the Tenant must be dismissed.

It is ordered that:File Number: TEL-06568-10

Order Page 2 of 2

1. The Landlord’s application is dismissed. 

September 16, 2010 _______________________
Date Issued Louis Bourgon
Member, Landlord and Tenant Board
Toronto East-RO
2275 Midland Avenue, Unit 2
Toronto ON M1P3E7

So a long-term lease is like a straight jacket for landlords 

In Ontario what seems like common-sense for landlords can become your own personal nightmare.

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You Can Raise the Rent 3.1% in Ontario in 2012

January 2nd, 2012 · rent increase

How much can I raise the rent in 2012?

You can raise the rent by 3.1%

Every year, the government of Ontario tells landlords how much they can raise the rent for the next year.

This “Rent Increase Guideline” has been based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Ontario.  This is the rate of inflation calculated by the Federal governments “Statistics Canada”.

Here is the guideline over the past 5 years:

2007 – 2.6%

2008 – 1.4%

2009 – 1.8%

2010 – 2.1%

2011 – 0.7%

With new amendments coming to the Residential Tenancies Act, it is important landlords across Ontario take advantage of your legal right to raise the rent in 2012!



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Have you been Threatened, Cursed at, Property Damaged as a Small Landlord?

December 18th, 2011 · Bad tenants

It seems so simple.  Here is the plan:

You buy a high quality living space.  

You paid for buying the place, you pay the taxes, you have the deed, you painted it, you added the washer and dryer,  you put down carpet, you even put some nice pretty flowers in the flower bed out front.

You advertise it.

You look to find someone looking for a clean, nice, and safe house.  You made sure you looked at the market rents in your area and you are very competitive.  You use the well-known channels to advertise, such as ViewIt, RentSeeker, Craigslist, Kijiji and your local newspaper.

You find a tenant

You get a bunch of people contact you interested in your place.  You show it to them, get them to fill out applications, and eventually choose someone.  The person you choose is clear they love the place, and can afford the rent.

Deal is done.  Wow, being an Ontario landlord is easy!

Hold on.  Things you never expected begin to happen.

Here is a heartfelt confession from an experienced Ontario landlord:

I have had tenants swear at me, threaten me, damage property, moveout in the middle of the night, not pay the rent and worse.

When I first started out as a Landlord, I was practically broke. This meant I had to accept almost anyone.

Over the years I have saved (form my full time job) and secured a line of credit. This means that I can now “afford” to leave and apt empty for a few months if needed.

The qualty of your tenants is critical.

I am very careful to whom I rent now.

On one occassion, I was showing a house that I had just spent $18,000.00 on (material costs only) and I had worked for 7 weeks renovating it and lost 20lbs (which I did not need to).

The prospective tenants were obviously a bit rough around the edges (similiar to the ones that had just left). These tenants also had a large dog and a large extended family and would also have various family members staying with them from time to time. They loved the house and wanted to move in.

I told the mother (“dad” did not bother to come and see the house), that I was offering her a very nice, newly updated home at a below market price.

“what are you offering me in return?” (just paying the rent is not enough)

She did not understand, and she did not get the house.

She was offering me a huge dog, an extended family, lots of wear and tear and house that would be tired and wornout in a few years.


The next family were perfect.

What’s the lesson from this?

The lesson is to view every applicant with a huge amount of suspicion.  They can make your life a living Hell, if they want to.  Such are the laws in Ontario.

Screen well, my friends.

To read more go to the Ontario Landlords Association Advice Forums here



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