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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Once upon a time: Part II....

The owners felt badly for the tenants who had originally wanted to buy the house when they first moved in and so, on advice of the realtor, they gave the tenant a very reasonable, well below market value price for the house. The tenants kept insisting that they almost had financing together and so the owners waited to hear. But when several weeks went by without any word from the tenants, the owners again asked how the financing was coming along.

They were very surprised when an invoice arrived for them from the tenant requesting $9,200 for renovations (including labor) done to their house; now remember that none of these "renovations" were made with owner approval or even city building permits; nor were any store receipts included. The invoice listed costs for such things as:
1. a new deadbolt lock for one of the doors; effectively locking the owners out of entry to their own house.
2. rental of a jack hammer used to cut a hole in the basement concrete floor so a bathtub could be installed.
3. cost of a jacuzzi bathtub ....which unfortunately had non working jets.
4. cost of 32 sheets of drywall (for anyone not familiar with building a house, this would have been enough drywall to redo the entire house) needed to repair a supposed mold problem in the basement. But it only included 2 tubs of drywall compound. Normally that much drywall would need many more tubs of compound.
5. cost to update two basement rooms (+ bathroom), effectively making a new apartment for the adult son to live in. In legal terms, this would be called sub-letting.
6. Cost of one year "every weekend and evenings" labour.
The last paragraph in the invoice read: "We would like this money by money order, bank draft, or certified cheque by ........., at which time we will contact the hydro company to get a final bill and clear your account." You see, the owners had left the account to heat the house in their name.

As you can imagine, it took some time for the owners to digest this. The Brits have the perfect saying for this: gob-smacked! They went from being incredulous, to speechless, and then anger. For a few days they did nothing. Then came another letter which read in part "As yet I have not heard from you regarding the letter sent to you. Either you agree with what was written and are prepared to write us a cheque or you are contesting the letter. Either way I need to know and would respectfully ask for a response by ....... If I haven’t heard from you by that time then I will be sending all relevant documents to the appropriate authorities for arbitration on my behalf. Certainly they will be looking at sub-section 34 of the Landlord tenant act." It also included a letter purporting to be from an out-of-province relative asking that the tenants be reimbursed "for the cost to improve your property . Keeping in mind, the Lord said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and "I will bless those that will bless you and curse those that curse you"."
All this had the owners worried and they immediately looked up sub-section 34 but after reading it carefully, it became obvious that it was only the title that had a some-what relevance, meaning that the tenants hadn't bothered to read past the title. As for the biblical warnings, legally they consituted a threat.

After much discussion, they finally decided that they needed some legal help. The first thing they were advised to do was take their builder and do a thorough home inspection, taking as many photos as they deemed necessary.

Next a letter was hand-delivered to the tenants that told them to cease & desist from any further damages and re-iterating the eviction date.
Not 24 hours later they received an email from the tenant stating that "I am absolutely shocked beyond belief how you have escalated our situation without warning. I am insulted by the memory of my father, a professional plasterer, who worked along side me on this project. Recently passed. Please respond by e-mail. I will not be answering any phone calls."
At this point the owners were well beyond shock! Now not only were they damned by God but also about to be haunted by a dead plasterer. BTW the term "plasterer" has not been used for about 70 years in this country.

It became a battle of wills to keep from responding! One week later, they received another letter: "I have complied with your request to inspect the premises with your contractor, and can only assume all is well. Please respond in a timely manner concerning this."
The final email came just weeks before the tenants were due to leave the house, giving the owners 24 hrs to contact the tenant or face the threat not only of a civil lawsuit but also of having a contractors lien placed on the house.

Then just days before the end of the tenancy, the tenant's employer showed up at the owners door, complaining about having to listen to the tenant's ranting and asking the owners to please put an end to it.
Meanwhile the legal firm had the tenant come in to sign release forms which obviously were not signed and probably will never be signed. In the message to the owners, she mentioned the tenant had asked her a "very inappropriate question" which "gave her the creeps ...not an easy thing to do". The owners very much wanted to be "flies on the wall" & hear what that question was.

Finally on the last Sunday of the month ....but several days before the end of the month... the tenants moved most of their things out. They made sure that they left just enough stuff inside so that the owners couldn't legally re-take possession. However they did leave 2 windows open and the heat held at 19C; at that time the weather was barely above freezing.

By the first of the next month, when the owners walked through the front door, they were greeted by a stack of bills including a $400+ hydro bill straight from collections threatening to cut the heat if not paid within 10 days; another current one came shortly thereafter.

Hooray! The owners had their house back. But that isn't the end of their story......


  1. Karin, how you have stayed sane my dear is beyond me. just reading it sends my stomach into butterflies and gets me totally stressed out, so how you have managed to cope I really dont know!Id be in permanent floods of tears with worry and disbelief! Thanks goodness you have them out, they sound the strangest of people and what theyve done to your poor house! My mum rents out her house and the tenant is also abit strange and uncomlying so I hope she never has to go through anything like this, its horrendous story, not sure i can read another continuation of the saga!! Kate xx

  2. Good God Karin! This gets worse by the paragraph. I'd've had to be restained from physically tossing them to the street along with their "stuff".

    I'm surprised they didn't just refuse to leave...I've heard of people doing that. I suppose you're lucky they didn't set the place afire as they existed.

    But it doesn't sound like the ordeal is over yet... :-(

  3. This sounds like a hundred and one nightmares all round into one! I don't think Gobsmacked covers it for me in anyway!The ex tenants (I hope they are!) sound like they are awfully good at trying to twist things around and make the owner look bad! They sound like a group of people I'd have no joy at all at seeing across the road, let alone actually meeting them!

    My Sister and hubby rented their house out when they were living abroad, they were extremely lucky they had no trouble whatsoever. You sound as though you had the worst of the worst! I think I would have had to thrown all their junk in the road (or had a very good go!)and ordered them out of the house.

    Totally incredulous I find these 'people' who are clearly and utterly deluded and really quite nasty and not ones you could have a normal rational conversation with!

    I dread the next installment!

    Michelle x

  4. Unfortunately this type of story is becoming all too common. You were lucky to be able to serve them an eviction notice so quickly. In the UK you would never have been able to shift them and would probably have been liable to make the place habitable for them.

  5. Even though I know most of this story, although not the outcome, it's doesn't make for better reading the second time round :-( I can't believe the cheek of people. No wonder you have been quiet, I hope it has had a happy ending. I think I would have had a nervous breakdown.


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