This year, in this terrible time of homelessness, I wanted to offer affordable housing.
I had a suitable four-bedroom house for a fair rent when the tenant (a.k.a."Candy Christmas") appeared. I, a senior in my 70s, was just out of hospital, recovering from back surgery and was sick, alone and vulnerable.
Candy Christmas was charmingly manipulative, pushy and duped me into renting to her and her cadrie. References seemed to check out. But, they were falsified, including the non-disclosure of being an ODSP recipient.
She had said she had a job. I spoke to her "boss." Of the four tenants who were to move in, only three did, along with more animals than agreed.
Red flags appeared, but I was too ill to deal with them. Rent was not paid at all for 10 months. I was refused entry to do repairs, inspections and confer with workers who were there. She smoked her "medical" pot continually, resulting in tradespeople refusing to go in for safety reasons.
Candy Christmas did everything she could to threaten and harrass me over a period of 12 months from nasty notes to bylaw calls to belligerent, screaming phone calls. We had been to the Landlord Tenant Board three times. The second time was a farce, as the adjudicator chose not to hear the case due to the fact she didn't want to work past 2 p.m.., whereas the original adjudicator did us the courtesy of hearing our case from 2-3:30 p.m. We had waited five hours and she listened. It took nine months for the LTB to help me evict her.
Eventually, Candy Christmas screamed over the fence boasting how she had scammed me of $20,000. It had been planned. She threatened to make my cats disappear. My mental, physical and psychological health had suffered deeply for over a year, along with developing severe anxiety and depression. This was a clear case of fraud, predation and elder abuse.
Where was the Landlord Tenant Board in all this? Not enough adjudicators; the board no longer in Sudbury; outdated rules favouring tenants who know and play the system well; lack of timely judgements; lack of timely sheriff evictions; high costs for eviction and damages incurred by landlords; lack of timely reviews, thus allowing "professional tenants" even more time for free rent; requesting review after review and knowing exactly how to get the most out of a system they feel is unfair toward them.
What is unfair about paying the rent? It is the law. There is no entitlement to free rent. With this cautionary tale, I would warn others to be on guard for fraud and deception. This abuse is ubiquitous and people need to look after each other, especially seniors and truly vulnerable people. What is so sad about this is that I fear Candy Christmas has moved on to her next victim.