This GTA condo owner says he’s having trouble “making ends meet” since the tenant isn’t paying $20,000 in rent
A Mississauga landlord says he’s fed up with the bureaucratic deadlock that has held up an eviction notice for nearly six months while his tenant, who owes him about $20,000, lives rent-free in his condo.
Joe Roberto says he was told at his Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) hearing in August that he would soon be issued with an eviction notice to hand to his defaulting tenant. She hasn’t paid rent in more than a year, Roberto says, leaving him to pay for the condo’s mortgage, maintenance fees and property taxes — in addition to his own household expenses.
“I don’t sleep at night, I don’t eat,” said Roberto, who is a home inspector and a married father of two.
“And when I eat, I eat basic stuff just to make ends meet.”
Roberto said the tenant moved in in 2020 and stopped paying her rent — about $1,800 a month — for the apartment on Southampton Drive near Eglinton Avenue West and Winston Churchill Boulevard by October 2021. He had an LTB hearing in late August 2022, at which he says he was verbally told by the judge that he would receive an eviction.
Almost half a year later, that still hasn’t happened, despite daily calls and emails to the LTB, the state ombudsman’s office and his MPP.
“Everyone in government, every institution that I believe in, they’ve all failed miserably,” he said.
LTB would not agree to an interview, but the board said in an email to CBC Toronto that it “understands the impact that delays are having on those accessing our services.”
“On average, written orders are generally issued within 60 days of a hearing,” the email said.
“However, some orders may be delayed for various reasons. It is important to know that LTB has policies and procedures in place to ensure all cases have a plan for completion.”
In its 2022 annual report, LTB notes that while the number of landlord applications for eviction orders has fallen from 46,000 in 2019 to 31,000 in 2022, the time it takes for the order to be issued in a timely manner has increased. The report states that the board aims to issue orders within four business days of the last hearing date. In 2019-2020, this goal was met 58 percent of the time. But over the past year, that rate had dropped to 7.9 percent of the time.
It is unclear why the delays are increasing. The LTB has not yet responded to requests for clarification from CBC News. However, the annual report notes that “In 2021-2022, LTB implemented several initiatives to continue to address backlogs and ensure timely and responsive service. A key component to supporting these initiatives was the hiring of additional LTB staff to assist with application processing, planning and issuing hearing letters and orders.”
Elaine Page, the paralegal hired by Roberto, says she’s handled hundreds of LTB cases, usually representing landlords, and she’s also noticed an increase in wait times for orders.
“Some of them take six, eight, 10 months, even a year,” she said.
“No one wants to be a landlord anymore”
“It’s having such a profound impact, especially on small landlords… The frustration is so high that they put their units on the market as soon as they get them back,” she added.
“The rental market is shrinking.” Most of their cases are processed within the 60-day threshold. Those who fall through the cracks, like Robertos, are “heartbreaking,” Page said.
“These people work so hard to acquire these properties and then this happens to them… I spend half my time shouldering my clients. At the end of the day I’m exhausted,” she told CBC Toronto.
“Nobody wants to be a landlord anymore.”
Meanwhile, Roberto says he’s slowly sinking towards bankruptcy. He says he has to find $3,000 to $4,000 a month to support his family’s condo and home.
“It’s a struggle … We live a very simple existence,” Roberto said.
“I feel depressed, lonely, let down.”
CBC Toronto tried to speak to the tenant but there was no response at her address.