“I still can’t believe this happened in Canada,” he said. “I thought I had moved here to the country where everything is based on justice and fairness. ”
Shafique said tenants started not paying rent after just a month of moving in and struggled to evict them for 17 months due to delays at the Ontario Landlordship Commission . He says the tenants still owe him over $ 50,000.
“I’ve missed credit card payments because I don’t have money to pay,” he says.
The Ontario government froze evictions and ended eviction orders due to the March pandemic, at a time when fears grew that rising unemployment would force many tenants unable to pay their bills to go down in the street.
The deportation ban ended on September 14, but the backlog of deportation hearings has resulted in delays.
Ian Brown had hoped to evict some tenants and move into his rental property in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., Following a break-up, but these delays forced him to live in his truck or ride a sofa.
“I often slept in the truck… with extra blankets and sweatshirts,” he says.
Brown said the tenants had refused to leave and were not paying rent, but could not get an expedited hearing to remedy the situation.
Meanwhile, tenant advocates insist that only a small fraction of tenants are a problem. Instead, they are calling for another moratorium on evictions as cases continue to climb.
“What they shouldn’t do is allow people to be deported while the pandemic is raging,” said Kenneth Hale, director of legal services at the Advocacy Center for Tenants Ontario.