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Friday, August 30, 2019

Toronto landlord accused of faking a girlfriend to evict tenants

Today in "landlords behaving badly" (or who are alleged thereof), we have the story of a Toronto property owner who is said to have faked a relationship with a stranger in order to illegally evict two tenants.

Said landlord is now facing up to $25,000 in legal penalties for harassment, and for preventing the tenants from having reasonable enjoyment of their home.

The tenants, Lucy Kohlhepp and Robert Chapman, presented their case alongside paralegal Bradley Truax during a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing on Wednesday.

Kohlhepp and Chapman had been renting their semi-detached, two-bedroom house in Toronto's Little India since April 2018 for $2,300 a month, according to The Star. The couple's landlord, Krista Baker, emailed them in March to say that their lease would not be renewed.

After the tenants explained that they legally had a right to continue leasing month-to-month, and after they had refused Baker's offer to let them stay by raising the rent by $150 per month, the landlord came back to them with an N12 personal-use eviction notice.

The dreaded N12 form permits a landlord to (legally) end someone's tenancy on the grounds that an immediate family member will be moving into the unit.

Use of the form has been rising around the GTA in recent years, prompting concern among affordable housing advocates who say that some landlords use them dishonestly as a way to raise rents on their units (among other shady strategies).

Kohlhepp and Chapman allege that this is what Baker did after learning that the "girlfriend" she was booting them for was a prospective tenant she'd never met.

The fake girlfriend — Vivien de Boerr — agreed to move in, despite finding it weird that she had to pretend to be the landlord's girlfriend, but wound up backing out of the deal in May upon learning of the upcoming court hearing.

De Boerr, who says Baker sent her messages that made her feel "uncomfortable and intimidated," testified on behalf of Kohlhepp and Chapman at the Landlord and Tenant Board on Wednesday.

Baker's legal representatives now have 10 days to respond to the allegations. If found to be in violation of the Residential Tenancies Act, she could be looking at a $25,000 fine.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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