pretty thing and rant

Having said to myself that I would have a knit-free evening last evening, I did however make a start on this beauty:


This will be my new travel project – so simple! The only thing complicated is the yarn – Fleece Artist Goldiehair (silk/mohair/nylon blend). The end result should be a large triangular shawl – all in garter stitch!!

So, why did I need cheering up? Because yesterday I did a fill in shift as “lawyer of last resort” at my old workplace (and the place I’m slotted to go back to in a couple of months’ time, goddess help us all!), the Eviction Factory Landlord and Tenant Board.

(I’m going to preface this little rant by saying that it is written entirely in my personal capacity and on my own time. )

This job involves advising tenants on the day of their eviction hearings before the Board. In this regard, I had the mind-numbing, headache-inducing, rage-inspiring experience pleasure of reviewing at least five “tenant ledger” printouts prepared by one particular MegaLandLord in Toronto (and much of the rest of Ontario, and Montreal, for that matter!) who shall remain nameless (all I’ll say is that their name begins with M, ends with P has less than seven letters and is a contracted form of their previous name). After more than a year away I had forgotten what a supreme joy this task is.

(A joy that is heightened, mind you, by having some landlord agent standing directly outside the door to my office bellowing into a cell phone to a tenant along the lines of:

I keep telling you, if you leave without giving 60 days’ notice in WRITING, that is PUNISHABLE by one’s month’s rent? Do you hear me?…

Buddy, s/he could have heard you without the cellphone – even if she lived at the other end of the city!!!

You’re not listening – I told you it’s PUNISHABLE BY ONE MONTH’S RENT!!!

Punishable?? Who was this guy, the Lord High Executioner? Makes me wonder what non-payment for two months is punishable by: being hung by the neck until you are dead? Public flogging and humiliation?

But I didn’t have time to mull this over and I couldn’t actually hear what my client was saying to me over this racket. So, I stepped into the hallway, took the guy’s phone out of his hand, and closed it, cutting off the call. I’m serious. I then advised him that bellowing on mobile phones outside the Duty Counsel office was punishable by having said mobile phone inserted where the sun don’t shine.

WANKER: (whining) But this is the only place I can get reception in this $#(@*$&#(@* place.

ME: No it’s not – the reception is just fine… OUTSIDE. Take the elevator to the first floor and walk out the front door.

WANKER: bla bla bla… my taxes pay your salary… bla bla bla… lazy evil tenants… yak yak yak…. I’ll sue you…

ME: SECURITY!!!!

WANKER then apparently decided that the reception might well be better outside, after all. Another one for the good guys.)

But I digress, as usual…. Anyway, I simply cannot understand how a major landlord commanding millions of dollars of rent money in any given month cannot employ people who can keep a set of books properly. I am trained in this area and it is almost impossible to make sense of their byzantine charge system – I don’t know how any tenant can manage, actually.

Not to mention the following even more serious issues:

  • crediting other tenants’ payments to your ledger by accident and crediting your payments goddess alone knows where.
  • sticking little charges onto the ledger which are illegal under the statute. Yesterday’s example: a “skip fee” (actually itemised as “MC#483259259823457235 skipfee-nonoticegiven”) of $150.00. This is not a legal charge – and this landlord knows that they cannot use the Board to collect it for them. However, that doesn’t stop them from hitting tenants up for it anyway… and if the tenant doesn’t know their rights they might well shell out for it.

(The most ridiculous example I’ve seen of this [and I’ve seen a lot] was the stunt another major landlord [whose name begins and ends with R and has eight letters] tried to pull a couple three years back – sticking a clause in the standard form tenancy agreement to the effect of “if the tenant gets a pet, the tenant will be responsible for a $250.00/month charge over and above the rent.” Call it what you like, I call that rent for pets. And THAT is illegal… and $250.00!!! How much hydro does my goldfish use in any given month, anyway? Must be all that water to fill the bowl… anyone, some disgruntled tenant phoned the Toronto Star who published a story on it – and hey presto, no more pet charge!!!)

  • Putting a Landlord and Tenant Board filing fee onto the ledger a full two months before filing the application and paying the fee. Now, my forte is not accounting. However, if anyone can tell me what bookkeeping principles allow for charging an expense fee before it is incurred, there’s a case of Keith’s IPA in it for you.

Now – what I would like to see is an accounting of how much Large Nameless Corporate Landlords take in on an annual basis resulting from … well, such practices that have the distinct appearance of fiddles. Actually, there’s a lot of financial info I’d love to see from these landlords. Not enough, I guess, that in Ontario they are not subject to rent controls on vacant units and also get annual increases based on the CPI if they want them… my little comic strip is not as offbase as one might think. And I thought I was exaggerating!

Well, when I’m

(or is it…

… things are going to change. A great deal. Wait for it.

In the meantime, perhaps this is all a big cosmic sign that I should be getting back to my Modern Feudalism project? (I’ve been hacking away at it page by page. The inspirational juices are newly flowing, however.)

Well, now it’s time to start the working day… I gather that surfing while working is punishable by… hmm, I don’t know what. Probably firing, then ensuing penury, I guess – just like in the Landlord scheme.

SIGH.

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