TORONTO – Occasionally, there are stories that defy humanity and the common decency that is supposed to distinguish us as human adults. There was an incident recently in Toronto that provided the perfect example of this, when one of Toronto’s biggest landlords allegedly chased tenants for two month’s rent despite the fact that it evicted them.
Citing the bizarre reason that the tenants did not give proper notice before being kicked out of their apartments, the group has used an in-house collection agency to pursue these tenants and subsequently created a national uproar.
Knowing your Rights as a Sitting Tenant
The company in question is MetCap Living Management, and the firm has more than 10,000 rental units in the city. Under the terms of their tenancy agreements, individuals must provide 60 days’ notice and the accompanying payment prior to leaving their premises, and those who fail to adhere to this are required to pay the rent for the unit until it is occupied once again. The firm has subsequently upheld its stance, claiming that is acting in line with existing policy and the law as a whole.
The incident has been met with a combination of surprise and outrage, however, as the tenants had no apparent say in the timing of their eviction. More importantly, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing reported that they believed the practice to be inappropriate. They claim that given the circumstances, no payment is due once the tenancy has been terminated at the leisure of the property owner. While the debate concerning the validity and legality of this practice will rage, for now the tenants have been lumbered with a hefty debt that they can ill-afford.
Ultimately, this underlines the importance of recognising and upholding your rights as sitting tenants. This term is used to refer to tenants who reside in the property under the guise of an official tenancy, and these individual instantly have rights that protect against the machinations of less reputable landlords. Tenants often require a fixed notice period before they are asked to vacate a property, for example, while they are not eligible to give or pay notice in the event that their tenancy is terminated without warning.
The Last Word
We live in a civilised world, and it is hard to imagine that the tenants at the centre of this unfortunate story will be forced to repay the money they are being chased for. The incident does reinforce the importance of understanding your basic rights as a tenant, however, especially when faced with a change of ownership or a landlord’s sudden desire to sell. With an understanding of the law, you can make informed decisions and ensure that these rights are upheld at all times.