Toronto Landlord Accused Of Evicting Tenants, Demanding Payment Of Rent For Two More Months

| by Jordan Smith

MetCap Living Management, a Toronto-based landlord which manages around 10,000 units in the city, has been accused of evicting tenants before demanding that they pay an additional two months’ rent.

MetCap reportedly attempts to extra two months worth of additional rent from tenants they have evicted; they do so by claiming that the evicted tenants didn't give proper notice of their departure.

MetCap tenants also allege that its collection agency, Suite Collections, immediately forwards the information on to Canada’s main credit rating agencies, meaning that those affected suffer as a result, The Toronto Star reports.

“It is MetCap’s position that residents who breach their lease or give improper notice are required to pay the rent for the unit until it is re-rented or until the date that would have been the last day of the tenancy had proper notice been given,” Brent Merrill, President of Suite and also a member of MetCap’s board, commented in an email to the Star. “We believe that we are following the law in the Province of Ontario.”

A spokesman for the Ontario provincial government contradicted this claim.

“If the landlord gives proper notice of termination and the tenant voluntarily moves out in accordance with the notice, the tenancy is terminated on the effective date of the notice. No rent is payable after the termination date, other than existing arrears,” Mark Cripps stated.

The company has also come under fire for using a legal case decided over 20 years ago to justify its actions, even though the case law in this area has advanced considerably since that time, according to legal experts.

“If this argument is so iron clad, why isn’t there one case where they’ve taken this to court to prove they can collect this vacancy charge?” Kenneth Hale, director of legal services at the Advocacy Centre for Tennants Ontario, said. “Instead they rely on their process of interfering with people’s credit rating in order to collect the money.”

This was the experience of 67-year-old Cyrilla Hamlet, who was evicted in October 2012.

“I do not agree with the amount claimed for arrears,” Hamlet said in a letter sent in response to Suite’s letter informing her of the debt. “I was evicted from my former residence ... by the Landlord and Tenant Board. This order terminated my tenancy.”

In spite of Hamlet disputing the legality of the debt, Suite passed the details on to the two major credit rating firms. Hamlet is still dealing with the consequences of that debt nearly three years later, according to the Star.

This isn't the first time MetCap has made headlines.

In 2010, the Parkdale Tennants Association, a group based in an area of Toronto, named the company winner of the worst landlord of 2010 award, otherwise known as the Golden Cockroach.

“It's not just bad maintenance, it’s shoddy management and trying to extract higher rent,” Bart Poesiat, one of the association’s organizers, said at the time, according to the Star.

MetCap disputed those allegations.

Sources: Toronto Star, (2)

Photo credit: Toronto Star, Joel Charlebois/Torontoist