The Ontario Superior Court has issued a permanent injunction preventing the owner of a property management company from appearing before the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (the “Board”) on behalf of his landlord clients.
Enzo Vincent Chiarelli operates a full service property management company for property owners. One of the services he provides is appearing before the Board in eviction proceedings. During a 2011 eviction proceeding, the tenants challenged Mr. Chiarelli’s standing to appear before the Board. The Board agreed with the tenants in that case and the Law Society subsequently brought an application to obtain a permanent injunction preventing Mr. Chiarelli from appearing before the Board.
The Law Society Act prohibits anyone from providing legal services or advice without a license. The court stated that appearing before an administrative tribunal, such as the Board, as a paid representative to make submissions, examine and cross-examine witnesses is quintessentially legal or paralegal work. As such, the court granted the injunction and Mr. Chiarelli is now prevented from appearing before the Board in the future.
The court pointed out that Mr. Chiarelli could easily retain a licensed lawyer or paralegal to handle this aspect of his business and also noted that unpaid friends or family could continue to represent landlords before the Board.
Investor owners should ensure that any property management company they retain either employs someone who is licensed to appear before the Board, or has a relationship in place so that the work can be farmed out. The last thing any investor needs when trying to evict a problem tenant is additional delays because their property management company does not have standing to appear at the eviction hearing.