Before I get started, I should advise you that the following contains swearing, but you’ll find that it’s more than warranted. It’s a bit long, but the details are required.
There are some occasions when the prospect of reading an obituary is a pleasant thought.
There are times one might think, “where’s the Ebola virus when we really need it?” in regards to a specific individual.
And there are times when karma comes along and delivers a much needed kick in the teeth to such an individual.
The last few months have been quite stressful. I’ve only alluded to it for the most part on Facebook- I recall a post on my birthday when I referred to the source of that stress as The Fucking Idiot. I have shared more of the details with others privately, since there were legal proceedings in place in the matter.
I have recently moved out of my previous lodgings, and while I was content there for the first three years, the last few months were a bloody headache- which is a vast understatement. For the better part of my adult life, I have had the good fortune of having decent landlords. That changed with the last one.
The house my apartment was in was sold last summer. The previous owner had been reasonable. The new owner, it turns out, ended up proving to be, among other things, an incompetent, lying, double dealing, stupid (stupid on an epic scale, actually), rules-don’t-apply-to-me bastard, gutless coward, and a complete fucking asshole.
Is it obvious I’m not a fan?
He will go unnamed. I’ll refer to him in terms such as the above or others- The Fucking Idiot, the Gangsta Wannabe, the Hapless Twit, The Keystone Cop, the Long Overdue Karma Victim, The Sniveling Brat, and whatever else comes to mind.
So it was that last summer, the tenants in the building learned of the new ownership. Some moved out. Others, such as myself, were making plans to and looking. Word came from his associates that it might well be until the following summer before any renovations were to be done. In fact, he let a new tenant move into the third floor apartments with her two sons. Had I known how much of a socially maladjusted headache the Gangsta Wannabe would be, I would have been gone.
It started with being locked out of my apartment when he changed the locks without notice- strictly against the rules of what a landlord can do. From there it progressed to foisting the hydro bills on the tenants without notice, another breach of the rules. There were numerous lies and misdirections, claims that construction would be imminent (without a permit) that were later dialed back. It was frustrating to have to deal with this sort of nonsense, enough so that I was considering by November the idea of taking him to the Landlord Tenant Board because of numerous grievances against him and his associates, who, as it turned out, to be as incompetent and deceptive as him.
In November, things accelerated- he was also making life difficult for the other tenants, particularly the family on the third floor. By the end of that month, he sent me a hostile email demanding I leave within a month and that I immediately pay an extra 250 dollars on top of the rent I was already paying. He claimed he’d been doing me a favour letting me stay on in the first place. Had he said it to my face, he’d have ended up in the hospital.
I didn’t reply back. I calmed down, told myself he couldn’t do what he was outright threatening to do, and decided I’d have to pursue legal channels with a lawyer. A day or so later came another email from him, totally changed in tone, attached with an eviction notice that would have given me three months to find a new place. There are certain rules here that a landlord should know- one of them being that you can only send or give a notice like that on the last day of the month, or it is automatically carried over to the end of the month. Second, the rules require four months of time.
There were other things wrong with that first notice- mistakes that any reasonable landlord would have caught instead of just writing them in. A second eviction notice, coming in December, still had mistakes. The Long Overdue Karma Victim has been in the real estate development business since at least 2013 (more as a wannabe developer than an actual developer, taking old places, gutting them, and disregarding rules as he goes along). So in four years, he still hasn’t learned how to write a proper eviction notice, or the basics about tenant rights. Such as changing locks without notice.
December saw things worsen at the house. The harassment on all of us continued, particularly with Samantha and her sons upstairs. They’d moved in only in September, under the impression that they’d be able to live there during the school year. She had signed an agreement for a two bedroom apartment down on the ground floor, only to be redirected to the third floor’s two apartments instead. The Keystone Cop had the locks changed on one of those apartments without notice- Samantha had decided to take legal action with the LTB already, as had Bruce, who was occupying the only active apartment on the ground floor.
The Hapless Twit changed the locks on her, locking her out of one of her apartments, with all of her things still inside. She was left to a one bed room apartment with her sons. She said that he literally dangled the keys in front of her and said that if she withdrew the application for the LTB, he’d let her back in.
That’s suborning a legal hearing. That’s illegal.
The three of us were keeping each other up to date, conferring with the city and the province. The Hapless Twit had been in the media back in 2013- an article on controversies about a building he was redoing, and the article gave no direct quote from him, but had someone speak on his behalf, a hint of the gutless coward who hides behind fronts and other people. His contact numbers led nowhere- to a gravel pit in the middle of the countryside, for instance. His company name changes regularly in its wording on paper, and there is no indication at all online that the company is registered. Which is illegal. If you google the primary name of the company and the city of Ottawa, one of the first results that comes up is a totally unaffiliated development company in the American Mid-West.
We had a meeting with our city councilor in my apartment in the middle of December. We'd been conferring with him, with the province through the offices of our Member of Provincial Parliament (who's a cabinet minister), and with various officials and staffers at both levels of government. He was very sympathetic and helpful, offered to get in touch with a police officer to help us out. Literally five minutes after the councilor was gone, the Fucking Idiot turned up, trying to find Samantha, under the impression she was going to settle her dispute with him and that he could get out of at least one hearing. Considering he was in a legal dispute with one of his tenants, knocking at her door and harassing her sick son isn't the sort of ideal thing to do. Neither is yelling her name in the staircase. He and I had words in the staircase. That's the last time I ever saw him- he was dressed as if trying to emulate Eminem (a douchebag move if ever there was one), and he didn't take the bloody hint: that I had absolutely nothing to say to him without representation.
It’s an odd thing, staring down a guy you’ve come to dislike, to even hate, and for good reason, and to look him in the eyes and know with absolute certainty that there’s nothing there but a complete fucking coward. Totally spineless, no backbone at all. But that’s to be expected when his idea of bravery is to harass single mothers and their children instead of picking a fight with someone his own size. I did deem him a threat at that moment to Samantha, but I also knew that if he tried to get into my apartment (where Bruce and Samantha were still present), I could take him. Later events would confirm how much of a coward he is.
So after all of that, two provincial cabinet ministries, members and staff of the city council, a provincial housing enforcement unit, and the police have all had their eye on him- for all the wrong reasons. Bruce and I talked at length about how much of a threat we thought he might be. We did send word to family members that if anything happened to us, the police only had to look at him. We speculated at the time that he might hire someone to break in or burn the place down.
In January, he faced the first hearing- both Bruce and Samantha’s cases. I attended. Before hand, his legal counsel met with the three of us at length. He went out of his way to explain that he was a friend of the father of The Hapless Twit, not of The Hapless Twit himself. He was disturbed by what he was hearing- it turns out that The Hapless Twit and his degenerate Keystone Cops didn’t send along any of the information the Board office staff had forwarded to them in the hearing notice. So the lawyer learned the hard way that his client lied to him, and that his client was a complete horse’s ass. The lawyer spoke for a good long while with Bruce and Samantha about conditions that his client would have to meet, including opening up the second apartment Samantha had been locked out of, making repairs, refunding of three months of rent (a requirement under such evictions), and no contact. Bruce and Samantha were willing to settle on those conditions, but it still meant that their accounts of the misbehaviour and wrongful actions of the Fucking Idiot were placed formally into the record.
I mentioned that bit about the Hapless Twit being a coward. He was too gutless to even show up for the hearing. His associates all showed up. It seems that the lawyer, when he went back to bring those conditions to them, probably spent a good deal of time yelling at them and chewing them out. It certainly explains why one of them, during the hearing, was sitting there, a few rows ahead of me in the hearing room, looking like a sad sack. We’re talking about a three hundred pound gorilla (who, Samantha had said, was all cocky and smug before the lawyer showed up) reduced to hanging his head and looking like he’d been slapped into next week.
My hearing was yet to come, in February. You’d have thought that given these conditions placed on The Long Overdue Karma victim, that he and his dummy crew would have been on their best behaviour. Instead they waffled on actually handing over the keys to the second apartment to Samantha, until a call to the lawyer brought them to heel.
And then came the end of January, the beginning of February. Or as I call it, the lowest point of the whole ordeal.
Samantha had found a new place for the first of the month. Her new landlord, on hearing the name of her previous landlord, sighed and said, “oh, no, that guy?” It seems bad reputations get around. And then the heat went out.
In the whole building.
Some of the four coldest nights of the winter.
Bruce had a thermometer in his apartment- he said it registered as barely five degrees Celsius. Outside it was well below minus twenty five those nights. All of us were spending nights freezing. Do you have any idea how many hours it takes the following day to warm up? I do. There was no word at all from the Keystone Cops. You’d think, given that they were still facing my hearing, that they’d have sent someone out immediately. They sent someone about twenty four hours after the furnace had quit. He fixed something, but a half hour later it gave out again.
I spent my birthday on the phone or in emails with my city councillor, with my lawyer, with my MPP’s office. I can tell you with certainty that it'll go down as the worst birthday of my life- instead of a good day, I was subjected to this nonsense. I called in a city inspector who came by the house while Bruce was home. The inspector got on it, and chewed out the Keystone Cops. Four days after it started, a new furnace had finally been installed. The old one was spewing- get this- carbon monoxide.
I remember those cold nights, lying in my bed, shivering in layers of clothing, wondering if I’d freeze to death in my sleep.
That’s what it had come to.
I get that the Hapless Twit wouldn’t have cared less if one of us had died of the cold, but you’d think he’d have at least thought of the pipes in his house. Pipes don’t respond well to extended extreme cold with no heat.
Had it been up to him, space heaters would have been enough. They were a stop gap brought in at the demand of his lawyer. Those, of course, would have ended up driving our hydro bills through the roof. But the city inspector chewing him and his dimwitted associates out did what was needed. The furnace was replaced, at least two days later than it should have taken. Along the way, he illegally entered my apartment, without prior consent, when I wasn’t there. His assistant claimed he didn’t know where the fuse boxes were and that they had to look.
What sort of landlord has no idea where the fuse boxes are in a building he owns?
An incompetent landlord, that’s the sort.
My hearing came up in late February. My legal counsel and I had been touching base, talking things over. That day, I showed up. Samantha was there, having still not received the money she was owed by the Keystone Cops, while Bruce had been unable to make it; he would be gone from the house by the end of March. At first, only the Fucking Idiot’s lawyer was there. The Gutless Coward, true to form, didn’t show up. Again, the lawyer found out that his client had withheld a whole lot of details from him. We talked at length with my lawyer present. I coached my words in what I said, but made it quite clear that I felt The Hapless Twit was incompetent, stupid, and totally oblivious to the rules of his occupation. I also noted that he’d poisoned his reputation, that the city, the police, and two provincial cabinet ministries now were very well aware of him. His lawyer agreed entirely. I got the impression that the lawyer had come to hate his client as much as I do.
I also made it clear to him that while my dispute was with The Hapless Twit, I was so frustrated and stressed out over the last few months that if there was any more nonsense, I would have no problem at all dragging his family through the mud in the media. While The Hapless Twit might think there are no consequences for his actions, his father, who owns a company here, is mindful of his family’s reputation. I suspect it’s only been because of these LTB actions, the first time anyone ever held The Sniveling Brat to account, that the father has really learned the way his son does business. Ironically, in taking legal action, we might have done the old man a favour- The Sniveling Brat’s business practices are so atrocious that if he were left to run the company when the old man passes, that company would be dead in the water inside of three years.
We worked out similar conditions. That included no contact from him, the refund of three months rent as required under the law and to be paid immediately- to myself as well as the other tenants, and a few other things. His lawyer called in The Hapless Twit's assistant to bring in certified cheques. My account was formally entered into the record by the presiding judge, without dispute from the lawyer, and so The Hapless Twit has his name permanently in three LTB hearings in a short time for cases brought against him. It doesn’t seem to occur to him, nor that rules matter, that actions have consequences, and that his reputation has been torched.
Well, now I’m out of the house. I expected in the weeks after the hearing to come home and find he’d changed the locks, or done some more nonsense. That didn’t happen, though on this past Monday, the day I moved out, his contractors showed up at the house before nine in the morning and went to work gutting other apartments. My mover was annoyed by the fact that they were erecting fencing around the place while we were still moving things out. He asked for the name of my ex-landlord when I first explained things, and said he’d be filing that name away for his bosses. It seems, in that line of work, that a bad reputation for a landlord is handy information for a moving company to know.
It’s been a few days now since I’ve been out, living in a new place, a few blocks away in the same area. I felt like a great weight had been lifted away (while also feeling quite sore and knackered with all of that moving). The stress I have been subjected to because of The Fucking Idiot is gone.
And yet I’m not quite done. I decided quite awhile back that once I was out of the house, I would have a measure of payback. There’s a snitch line with the Canada Revenue Agency. If you know someone who’s not paying their taxes, you can call them, and they can take it from there. If there are any grounds, if their investigation would determine that there have been unpaid taxes, they can file charges. Bruce and Samantha and I agreed that given the way he ignored basic rules governing the job, given the fact that his contact numbers lead nowhere and he’s not registered anywhere as a company... odds are he doesn’t pay income taxes. So in a few days, I’ll call the line, give the CRA my account, and leave it in their hands.
He might well know it was me. But hey, he has no idea where I moved to.
It’s a nice measure of payback, a fuck you to the bastard who subjected all of us to immense stress. And it’s a way to protect others from the same sort of mistreatment, because we’re all convinced that he’s screwed people over before, and will do so again. Only not if he’s facing tax evasion issues, and even if not, he’s still facing the fact that his name is poisoned on more than one government level. The cops who had words with him will file his name away. None of that will go away. A bad reputation catches up with you.
In closing, I will say this. I’m a writer, and one thing you don’t do is annoy a writer. We can and will write you into a book and make sure you meet a bad end.
So in a few years, a wannabe real estate developer with a slightly adjusted name, a dimwitted dirtbag, will turn up in some future book as a minor character. Given that I write in the espionage genre, that character’s ending will be a very bad one. At the hands of a terrorist or anarchist who’s setting up their big play.
I just haven’t decided yet if the bad ending should come in a cement mixer, tossed out of a plane without a parachute, or bound and chained and dropped into the ocean.