A recent decision demonstrates just how easy it is for residential tenants to game the system and live rent free.
The tenant entered into a one year lease for a residential premises in mid-town Toronto. The lease started March 1, 2015 and the monthly rent was $3,800.
By September, 2015 the tenant had started paying rent late. By January, 2016 he had stopped paying rent completely.
At a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board on June 16, 2016, the Board ordered the termination of the tenancy on consent and ordered the tenant to pay over $22,000 in arrears and compensation owing up to that date. The tenant was ordered to move out of the premises before June 30, 2016.
On July 8, 2016, the tenant filed a request to review the termination order with the Board. That request was refused without a hearing on July 13, 2016.
The tenant then filed an appeal to the Divisional Court on July 18, 2016, which resulted in an automatic stay of the eviction order.
The landlord brought a motion to quash the appeal. By the time the motion was heard on September 30, 2016, the tenant, who continued to reside in the premises, had not paid any rent for the previous 9 months and now owed the landlord nearly $34,000.
The Divisional Court judge hearing the motion found the notice of appeal to be “generic in nature, and raises no issue that could conceivably provide an understanding of the basis for an appeal, far less an arguable basis.”
The tenant filed no responding material to the landlord’s motion. In oral argument, the tenant’s only submission was that he did not have the money to pay the debt but was hopeful that his circumstances would soon change.
The Divisional Court judge granted the motion, quashed the appeal and set aside the stay of the eviction order.
It is hard to determine which part of this case is the most outrageous; the fact that the tenant was permitted to appeal a consent order and obtain a stay of the eviction order in the interim, or the fact that the tenant’s appeal was permitted to proceed when the notice of appeal was so flagrantly devoid of merit?