Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I got this email today from L.S. in Toronto who has some issues with his landlord. This can always be a touchy subject and I almost hesitated posting the letter. Almost. More on that after the post.

L.S. writes:

My husband and I live with these horrible people of Asian decent. The father thinks he is still in Korea and acts like he is the king of Toronto. Apparently they moved to Ontario 7 years ago. We never knew people could act in this manner. He does not follow any rules, provides us no heat, and no air conditioning. There is noise galore from his family. They are like a bunch of animals running above us with no courtesy whatsoever.

They are greedy without providing light and no hot water, heat etc. They are in our faces constantly, about one thing or another. Their food also smells. When they don't like something, which is constantly, they scream and yell at us. The Korean grandmother who does not speak English actually kicked me and their daughter likes to push us around as well.

We don't dare do anything wrong for fear of eviction. At one point we had a garage sale on the driveway which is half ours and included in the rent, and the father comes out of the house scraming that he is the boss of the property and we have no right to do this, even though it was confirmed a day before with his family that it was okay.

These People are animals. Beware when you see a "Room for Rent" in North York. If you see this lovely Korean family who goes to church, beware! We were blindsided, it has been an ugly scene and not everything is being mentioned.

- A Very Unsatisfied Couple

Now it would be easy for me to say. "Hell Yes!" and I don't mean to discount the obvious discomfort being felt by L.S. but they do have some options.

It is one thing to purchase a home that is next door to a truly 'Stupid Neighbour'. You are stuck with a mortgage, your biggest single lifetime investment, the risk of losing your nest egg, etc. It is another thing entirely to have a bad landlord and to put up with it.

I can only assume that they have signed a lease or are unable for whatever reason to find a new apartment.

The only advice I can give is that things like providing heat, hot water, smoke detectors, etc. are legislated in Ontario and there are government agencies that you should utilize to ensure the landlord lives up to their obligations under the law. Noise bylaws apply to everyone, so don't hesitate to complain if the noise is excessive, even if the 'neighbour' is your landlord. If a friendly discussion does not improve anything make sure you send registered letters or something similar, so you have documentation of the attempts to address the situation.

From the sounds of things this apartment is probably illegal from a zoning perspective, so complaining could get the authorities to shut things down, which could be a good thing if you have signed a lease (the legal obligation evaporates).

Finally, and I almost didn't post this (for fear of alienating the few readers I apparently have) I have zero tolerance for folks who complain of cooking smells. Its pure racism, simple as that. Your food smells as well, we just are used to it. Talk to anybody who lives in a town with a Pulp & Paper Mill... they simply don't notice the smell. Its a cultural thing. Sesame oil has a very unique smell that Wonder White Bread folks like you and me are just not used to. Burn some incense or buy Febreze or potpourri or something.

Good luck!

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