Part 2 – December 14, 2016 – February 20, 2017

At the end of November 2016, after being ignored by our landlord for so long, my roomate and I decided the best approach was to file a T6 application with the Landlord and Tenant Board and to make a complaint to Property Standards in Hamilton. In the first two weeks of December, 2016 the apartment was cold and not properly heated.

The first step is to notify the landlord that repairs are necessary. We’d been doing that since before we moved in, however, we hadn’t submitted a written repair request to this point, nor spoken to the landlord (his choice, not ours) for more than five months. In the second week of December, we tried to call our landlord. He was ignoring calls to the one phone number we had for him, so we complained to Richard Pollington about the lack of heat on December 11, 2016. Richard supplied another phone number for John on December 14, 2016 , and my roomate called our landlord on the same day. She did not record the call, but John Cerino’s behavior during that phone call was extremely antagonistic and dismissive. However, it did result in Richard Pollington delivering three electric space heaters (none with thermostats).

So I called, later the same day. The recording is here:

A transcript of the conversation follows:

Transcript – 2016-12-14 – Telephone Conversation – Paul Bosch, John Cerino
John: Hello
Peter: Hi, could I speak to John please?
John: Who’s this?
Peter: It’s Paul Bosch, one of your tenants at XXXXX.
John: Okay.
Peter: Okay. Ah, Marie talked to you earlier today about some problems we’re having.
John: Yeah, I already talked to her about the heat and I told her to plug in the heaters and I’ll pay the difference on the hydro bill.
Peter: All right, we don’t find that solution acceptable. For one thing there’s no way to tell how much of a difference those heaters are going to make. And it’s…
John {talking over Peter}: The difference will be whatever you paid the month before and whatever your hydro bill is this month. That’ll be the difference.
Peter: All right, well…
John {talking over Peter}: {indistinct} use approximately the same hydro every month or every two months. Approximately.
Peter: All right. We got..uh…
John {talking over Peter}: All right?
Peter: Okay…
John {talking over Peter}: Use them sparingly, use them when it’s really really cold…
Peter {talking over John}: Just a second John, please. Okay, we’re…
John {talking over Peter}: It won’t stay cold forever…
Peter {talking over John}: Just hold on a second. Just a second please. Okay, we’re on a two month billing cycle for starters, okay,…
John {talking over Peter}: Okay, then we’ll take a look at your two month billing cycle and we’ll take a look at the next two month billing. It’ll be very close to the difference. Whatever the difference is.
Peter {talking over John}: Okay John, that’s not acceptable to us. Okay? It isn’t. Unless you can figure out a way…
John{talking over Peter}: {indistinct} any better.
Peter: If you can separately meter those heaters, no problem. Okay, if you want to run a line from another meter in the building into our unit, that’s fine. We don’t want them on our hydro bill. Unless you want to put in writing that you’re going to make up the difference and you’re willing to go with whatever our last bill was, and pay the difference on the next one.
John {talking over Peter} : What…why…I just said that to Marie…why would I say that and not…and not…and not follow on my word? Can you please…?
Peter:: I’d like that…
John {talking over Peter}: I just…I just said that to Marie, I just told Richard that, to go upstairs and tell you guys that, about an hour ago.
Peter: Well, John, I’ve been in business for a while, I’d prefer to have things in writing. If you are willing to alter our tenancy agreement to that degree, fine…
John {talking over Peter}: Not a problem. Not a problem. What I’m asking you to do is can you please use them sparingly so that they’re not running all the time. I can understand on the cold days when it drops really really fast then it’s really hard for the boiler to catch up because the house is an old house and it doesn’t have …
Peter: John….John….that’s not what’s going on here because we’ve had this problem the last four days, We had this problem last winter and raised the issue with Richard a number of times. Now…
John {talking over Peter}: What I’m telling you…you don’t seem to understand. When the cold weather drops very fast, the boiler can’t keep up to the cold weather drops fast, that’s how the boiler works.
Peter: John, the cold weather hasn’t been here for the last four years. The cold temperature…er, sorry for the last four days rather. The cold temperatures in the apartment have…
John: {talking over Peter}: {indistinct}
Peter:…been here the last four days. So that’s not the explanation.
John: It’s been very cold. And when it drops really fast…drops fast…it can’t change as fast as it drops. It’ll catch up, but it takes time.
Peter: Four days?
John: Well, if it drops really fast and it’s not catching up then…you know it could be really windy, it’s like I said it’s not an airtight house, Use the heaters, when I come into the city I’ll sign a piece of paper if that makes you happy that I’ll pay the difference in the hydro bill, okay?
Peter: Okay, I’ll draw up an agreement for that, that’s not a problem. Uh,
John: It’s not a problem, not a problem. I’m not trying to make your lives hard, I’m trying to help you guys. That’s why I’m doing this. I’m not doing this…
Peter {talking over John}: Well no…{sighs}…okay, enough, please.
John: If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t do this.
Peter: John, you’re legally obligated to do this, and we both know it, okay? Marie’s not an idiot, she’s a former superintendent she knows the landlord tenant law probably better than either one of us.
John{talking over Peter}: {indistinct} If that’s the way you feel about it fine, I’m not going to argue about this point. The point is, I’m doing my best and I can’t change the boiler, I’m not a magician, okay?
Peter: Well, I’d recommend you service it, but in any event…
John: That boiler has been in that house since I purchased the house in 1983 and it hasn’t changed, and the weather has been as cold before in other years before you people ever lived there and I’ve done the same thing for other tenants when they’ve asked. Is that all right?
Peter: Now, on the subject of the water.
John: Yeah. Now the water is…if somebody flushes the toilet somewhere else, I can’t control the water pressure.
Peter: Okay. John, is it necessary for us to document every single time we lose water pressure because frankly we get water … uh … less often than not…less often than we get it. I turn on a tap, it’s about a 40 percent chance I actually get water.
John: Yeah, and that may be someone else running the tap at the same time you are. Okay? I can’t….I can’t change this, it also happens at my home the same way. At my house I have, I have…uh…four tenants, and in my house if somebody flushes a toilet I loose water pressure also.
Peter: Right. Do you loose it for ten minutes, fifteen minutes at a time?
John: Pardon me?
Peter: Do you loose it for ten or fifteen minutes at a time?
John: Fifteen minutes…If you’re losing it for fifteen minutes then somebody must be having a shower for fifteen minutes or running a bath for fifteen minutes.
Peter: Okay. Then, again, you’re legally obligated to provide hot and cold water of a certain temperature on demand.
John {talking over Peter}: {indistinct} You know what, I’m not…I’m not gonna…I’m not gonna argue this point with you okay?
Peter: Well you can’t.
John: I’m trying to explain why it happens. How long did you live there now?
Peter: About fifteen months.
John: About a year and a half, approximately, right?
Peter: yeah.
John: Approximately. Okay, so this issue would have happened over the last year and a half. Richard…
Peter: It’s ongoing and getting worse, as I’ve explained. And Richard is well aware of this.
John: I’m just saying…it’s been ongoing….if he….if you guys aren’t happy….if you guys not happy, all right, and you know, you feel that it’s not fit…I can’t change the way it is.
Peter: All right John, tomorrow, what we’re going to do is deliver a letter with a list of repairs that we’d like done to the unit, including the shortfalls in bylaws. Okay?
John: You do that. Okay? Give it to Richard and I’ll handle it when I get back in town. I’m out of town like I told Marie. Okay? And…it’s not like I’m …
Peter {talking over John}: I believe you said you’d be here tomorrow, is that correct?
John: No, no. I said I’d be there on Monday but I couldn’t get there Monday because I had another obligation. And that’s Marie said I was there Monday but I said no I wasn’t there Monday. I couldn’t get there Monday. I told Richard I’d go work on that unit on Monday but I couldn’t get there. I had something else come up. Okay? But I’m just telling you I…
Peter {talking over John}: All right, the letter will be delivered to Richard tomorrow…ummm…I’m sorry but we don’t have an agreement on the heaters at this point either, okay?
John: That’s not a problem. But I… I’m just saying, I’m not going to argue this point. If you guys aren’t happy and you want, you know, you guys want to move, you move. You know, I can’t change what is. I can’t change what it is.
Peter: Ah…
John: The way it is. I will fix it if something’s broken, but I can’t control…
Peter{talking over John}: As I’ve said, we have a rather lengthy list of repairs to this apartment that we’ve been asking for, and those requests have been ignored. Those are going to be put in writing, in the letter, and we’ll take it from there. Okay? Richard’s done his best, I believe he has.
John: Not a problem. I never h… I never saw this list. I never heard of this list before.
Peter: Okay. You’ve been getting the requests as individual requests and not one of them have been done. That’s why.
John: Not a problem. Just write it up, hand it to Richard, and I will go over it with youse, okay?
Peter: That works.
John. All right? I’ll do what I can fix, if its broken and I can fix it I’ll fix it, but I can’t control someone running the bath when you’re running the water. If two people are running the water at the same time obviously the water pressure is going to be even lower, you now what I’m getting at? So I can’t…if it’s not in my control I apologize, I can’t do anything.
Peter: Well, then perhaps you should leave the other units vacant so the other tenants you have, have water pressure.
John: Well…I….that…that wouldn’t make a difference. If somebody downstairs turned on the water you’re still gonna have less water pressure. It doesn’t matter…it happens at the same time it happens. I can’t…I can’t control that.
Peter: All right, John. I’m living here, I can tell you that this is not normal water pressure dropping because somebody flushed a toilet. All, right? I know the difference.
Marie{in the background}: At three o’clock in the morning.
Peter: At three in the morning it happens.
John: I don’t know, Like I said, maybe there’s a toilet running, somebody flushed a toilet and it’s running. I don’t know, I’m not there. I don’t know what’s making it happen.
Peter: Okay. Yeah.
John: Do you understand me?
Peter: All right. As I said, I will give you the letter, you can look into it, and we’ll take it from there.
John: Not a problem. Okay, are we done or are we gonna get another call tonight from somebody else? I am working right now. I am working. Okay, but that’s okay. I’m just saying I’ve discussed this issue already once, do it in writing, hand it to Richard, and I’ll look it over when I get back into the city. I’ll come by and go over it with you, okay?
Peter: All right.
John: Sound good?
Peter: We’re done for now then, and when will you be here?
John: I will be back in Hamilton probably on Friday.
Peter: Probably on Friday?
John: Provided nothing in the world changes between now and Friday I’ll be back in town on Friday.
Peter: Okay. Give me call on this number a couple hours before you want to come over, if you don’t mind, so I have some notice and…
John {talking over Peter}: Not a problem. I’ll get Richard to go upstairs and tell you and you can call me when you, when you wanna…either way it doesn’t matter.
Peter. That work. That works. Thank you.
John: Okay? Okay, have a good one. Bye.
Peter: Bye

There are several points to note about this conversation:

1. Please note the numerous examples of John talking over me. That’s one of his techniques for manipulating the situation later; he often talks over someone else in a conversation, particularly if they are saying something he doesn’t agree with. He uses the technique as antagonism, or to lend plausibility to his claims that he “wasn’t told” something. You’ll see numerous examples of this technique in action. (ANd yes, I talked over John as well. It’s the only way to get a word in when speaking with John Cerino.) John is, apparently, perfectly willing to agree to pay the difference in electricity due to space heaters being used (1:34-2:00). He balks at a written agreement at first, then agrees to sign one (around 3:25 in the recording). He never did and later tried to renege on his agreement, until he found out he had been recorded making the agreement. John is quite accustomed to going back on his word, and is a skilled and manipulative liar. He will also use the unpaid difference in the electricity bills to claim (to a police officer on May 15, 2017) we owe rent when we withheld the difference, according to the agreement made on December 16, 2016 (the video will be posted in a later post).

2. John’s explanation of why the boiler had not yet brought the building up to the required temperature is ludicrous (2:35-3:30). If it had indeed taken four days for the weather compensation system on the boiler to adjust to the outside temperature, then it needs repair. However, the boiler in our building does not have a functioning weather compensation sensor. At least, I’ve looked, and I can’t find one. Later events will show that the boiler was in need of repair. John’s statements that he is supplying heaters because he “cares about us” were a bit hard to take after being ignored for a year when asking for repairs.

3. When we discuss the low water pressure (starting around 4:40 in the recording), John blames it on a running toilet, or someone else in the building “running a bath”. In actual fact John has been aware of the low water pressure in the building since at least 2011 (remember this? Paragraph 10)

  • 2011-10-11-ltb-john-and-agostino-cerino-1-0002
    and has made no real effort to even investigate the cause (that will be apparent from the videos and recordings posted later in this series, where John confirms it). You can see an example of the low water pressure here:

4. John also states that the boiler was installed in 1983 or earlier (around 4:30 in the recording), and that he has “done the same thing for other tenants” (ie: loaned them electric heaters) in the past. This strongly suggests that John is aware the heating system for the building is inadequate when the weather turns very cold.

5. Around the 7 minute mark in the recording, John invites us to move if we aren’t happy with the way things are, since he “can’t change what is”. Later events will show that John’s usual way of dealing with repair requests is to harass the tenant into leaving.

After this phone call, my roomate and I agreed that any conversation with John should be recorded. My roomate (correctly, I think) identified John as a sociopath based on the two telephone calls and his earlier behavior. I didn’t agree, but after researching the legality of recording a conversation in our home, I didn’t see any harm in having a record of our conversations. While I didn’t agree that there was enough evidence to conclude that John was a sociopath, it was apparent that he was a slumlord and willing to lie.

A letter outlining our concerns was given to Richard Pollington, the caretaker of the building, on December 16, 2016.

2016-12-15 - Letter to Landlord - 0001
2016-12-15 - Letter to Landlord - 0002
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One note about this letter: The Property Standards Bylaw I quoted in the letter is actually an outdated bylaw that has been changed since 2003 (the year it was passed). The current bylaw was passed in 2010. The error came from the fact that I went to the Municipal Bylaw offices in Jackson Square and asked for a copy of the bylaws. I was given the older version. The relevant portions of the bylaw I quoted are almost identical in the new version. The latest (and weakest) Property Standards bylaw is here. Property Standards have been slowly lowered, bit by bit, by City Council over the years to the point where standards are so low they provide no real guarantee of safe housing. I will be writing a series of articles detailing how that was done, and by whom. The Ward 2 Councillor (Jason Farr) seems to have had a big hand in that part of the story. Mr Farr will be making an appearance in this story on July 18, 2017. Mr Farr appears unable to understand the difference between a government and a corporation; he is under the impression that the City of Hamilton is a for-profit corporation rather than a government and that landlords are shareholders in that corporation. There’s a lot of that going around these days.)

We set up a video camera, out of the way but not concealed, for the meeting with John on December 16, 2016. There was some difficulty pinning John down to an exact time and day {insert recordings of telephone calls}. John would often be vague about when he would be at the property, and often used that uncertainty to waste our time, or to create confusion. That will be apparent from later videos and recordings.

The video is here:

December 16, 2016 – Conversation With John Cerino, Agostino Cerino, Peter Bosch and R

John: You mentioned about some issues, you wanted some repairs done or …
Peter: Have a seat.
John: It’s the first I’ve heard of it. So this…you mentioned it to me on the phone and I’m going what the hell is he talking about. It never got to me, whatever you want done. But nonetheless, uh…what I want to know now, because my brother’s here, he does most of the repairs. So I want to know what you wanted fixed.
Peter: It’s in the letter, basically.
John: I went through this quick, but I…just…it’s easier if you just show me what it is.
Marie: The heat, for one.
John {talking over Marie}: yeah, the heat…
Marie: The only reason why this room has any type of temperature is that {pointing towards electric heater}. My bedroom is freezing, the kitchen’s freezing, the bathroom…
John {talking over Marie}: Right now, we can’t do nothing with the boiler. The boiler is running at full capacity, we went downstairs and we checked it. We bled the air….we bled the air…
Marie: I’ve bled the rads in here twice.
John: I’m just telling you…
Agostino: They’re not even warm, are they? {referring to the radiators}.
Peter: Not Very.
Marie: Not very.
John: They’re warm, they’re warm.
Marie: They should be a lot warmer than that. And I know that, I’ve worked…I’ve been a super.
John: Yeah. Well, I’m just…
Marie: A boiler at full capacity, those should almost be too hot to touch.
John: Like I’ve said, we’ve bled ‘em, we’ve done everything … the only thing I can think of, that I can think of, is because it’s such an old system there might be some rust inside the pipes.
Marie: Part of the problem is that these doors don’t seal right. My back door doesn’t even seal right. Gaps like this?
Peter: The windows are a big part of the problem as well as the cold sink above us.
Marie: And that not being heated upstairs causes a lot of cold down here.
John: Upstairs we insulated. The whole attic was insulated.
Marie: Have you been up there and seen how cold it is?
John: I know how cold it is, but listen to me.
Marie: That makes this cold.
John {talking over Marie}: When I bought this property. Listen to me, when I bought this property, there was no apartment up there. There was no walls up there. I built the walls, I insulated, I did all the work so it’s plastic barriers… , it’s actually warmer than what it was when I bought the house is what I’m telling you.
Marie: But still, with no heat up there, it is making this apartment colder.
John: Agreed. But there was never heat up there is what I’m telling you.
Marie: But that doesn’t help the heat situation now. That needs to be heated.
John: Up there, up there, we’ve attempted to put in direct vent heaters, but the wind when it blows heavy it blows them out.
Marie: But in the meantime something needs to be done about that because its dropping the temperature in here.
John: I…I….you know what? It’s like I said before, it had nothing to do with the house before we bought it.
Marie: But it’s an issue now.
Peter: Can you hand me that thermometer out of the basket? I’ll show you what we mean here John.
John: Yeah. But I’m just telling you that it was that way before I purchased the house.
Marie: But you’ve got it now.
John: Because the heat is colder up above?
Marie: yeah.
Peter: Yeah. The wall temperature there is 65.5. Okay?
John: Okay.
Peter: Up there is 64.2, on the ceiling.
John: Yeah because it’s hitting the ceiling.
Marie: Yeah. And heat’s supposed to rise.
John: It does rise.
Marie: Then why is it colder at the ceiling than it is any …
John: Because he’s hitting the wall which it absorbs so much heat it gets warmer so that…if you gave me…
Marie: John, no. The ceiling…
Peter: That, right there, should be the warmest part…
John: Listen to me, if I hang a thermometer up there, not touching the wall, not hitting the wall, just hang it up, {indistinct} if I hang it down here, it’ll be warmer…
Marie: John, that’s a digital thermometer.
John: I know it is, and it’s touching this, and it’s reading the temperature of this. If you just hang it in the air, just hang it in the air…just do this for your curiosity. Just hang one up there and take a look at the temperature, and just hang one down here and take a look at the temperature, you’ll find that it’s warmer there than here, because it’s hitting the ceiling and working it’s way down. I’m not gonna argue that.
Marie: John, touch these walls.
Peter: I’m telling you I’ve already done that already, and the air temperature is six degrees cooler near the ceiling than it is near the floor.
John: Okay.
Peter: All right. I’ve already measured it. Not with that particular instrument, but…
John: Okay, I’m not….I’m not denying what you’re saying but I would like to hang one up here, and hang one down there, just to check for…I would…I’m not denying….
Marie: John…
Peter: Go ahead.
because, As far as I know physics, heat rises and it comes down and gets cooler.
Peter: Yes, but not when there’s a cold sink right above there. That’s the problem. All of that cold is cooling that hot air…
Marie {talking over Peter}: There’s no insulation between these floors. So that’s letting the cold seep right…
John {talking over Marie} : There never was.
Marie: Okay. But that’s a problem now. That apartment is not being heated, so there’s no heat above us and it’s letting all that cold…
Peter: What we’re saying is that regardless of what went on before, there is a unit there now, and if it were heated it would greatly alleviate the problem here.
John: I…I agree.
Marie: So it needs to be heated in some way.
John {talking over Marie}: I agree on that point. But it can’t be heated because the units aren’t even connected.
Marie: You handed us electric heaters, you can plug in electric heaters up there.
John: It’s not even connected. It’s not even connected.
Marie: Then connect it. And yes it is, because there was a fan running up there all summer to cool it off, once the fire alarms went off because of the heat.
John: Fan for what?
Marie: To cool…uh…to get air moving and circulating.
Peter: About the second week of August, the fire alarms went off.
John: Okay.
Peter: They go off at 50 degrees celsius. Because of how hot it was up there.
John: Okay.
Peter: All right. Uh…There was a big…uh…heat source above us the whole summer. Our electricity bills were 280 dollars per month.
Marie: More.
Peter: No, no, per month, because we had the…
Marie: Uh, okay.
Peter: Per month. That was running two air conditioners, which, at the beginning of the summer were serviced and cleaned by a professional technician. They were in top working order. That’s two air conditioners, that’s it. Okay? It was so hot in here you couldn’t live in here without those air conditioners. And they had to work so hard because it was pulling in warm air from everywhere. This apartment is not sealed remotely. The windows are a problem…
John {talking over Peter}: Even if it is sealed, there’s no insulation in these walls.
Peter: Okay.
John: I’m just letting you know, there isn’t.
Marie: Hold on.
Peter: Nevertheless, sealing the windows would greatly alleviate the problem…
John {talking over Peter}: It would help a bit.
Peter: …both winter and summer.
John: It would help the draft. I agree with that. But I’m saying that there is no insulation in these walls, these buildings when they were built, were just plaster and lathe.
Marie: We’re not, we’re not saying that, but you still need to provide an adequate heat source.
John: I’m trying. That’s why, that’s why I said to you on the phone…
Marie: And when I asked you when was the last time these boilers were maintained, you still haven’t answered me.
John: These boilers were maintained by Allied Mechanical, Steve, which I know personally, whenever I have a problem I call Steve.
Marie: they’re supposed to be maintained every two to three years.
John: Boilers, the only thing you can do with a boiler …I’ve talked to Steve. You want to talk to Steve? I can call him …
Marie: I’ve looked after boilers. You need to flush the system.
John: You know how many kinds of boilers there are?
Marie: yeah. You know how many I’ve looked after?
John: I’m just saying, do you know how many there are?
Marie: Do you know how many I’ve looked after?
John: This is a hot water boiler.
Marie: yes.
John: It’s not a steam boiler. It’s a hot water boiler okay? I’m just telling you it’s a hot water boiler.
Marie: Yeah.
John: I was here when they installed it. I bought the building in ’83, the boiler was put in in ’83, and it was the burner and the insides were replaced about … about ten years ago. I had Steve replace them at Allied Mechanical. Okay? I’m not going to argue the point, I know Steve knows his job, he’s been in the business forever, if you go inside the newspaper under “Heating” first one you’re gonna see is Allied Mechanical. Okay? Now, Steve told me, okay, the only thing you can do with a boiler, one thing, is bleed the system, make sure the expansion tank in the basement has got no air in it, so that there’s all water, right? So that we’ve done. We’ve done all this. Okay? The boiler was running at capacity, like I said the temperature dropped so fast, all right? Now, we will send a man to service the unit. I’m gonna get him to look at it anyways, okay? I will get him to look at it. But the point is…uh…I mean I don’t wanna pay your hydro bill, but I am. Because I want you people to have heat. Do you think I want you living in the cold? Is it in my best interest for you to live in the cold? It’s not. It concerns me as much as you ‘cause I have to …
Peter {interrupting John}: Okay, well, on that line you told me if I didn’t like it here I could move out.
John: No, no, no. That…
Peter: That raised some concerns about how…
Marie: Yeah.
John: I didn’t. The reason why I came out with that line is because you told me about all these repairs. This is the first I’ve heard about repairs and I’m goin’ …
Peter: John…
Marie: John, you knew about them…you knew about them when we moved in.
John: No, no. no. no. no.
Peter: You’ve owned the building since 1983, you’re well aware of most of the issues that I’ve put in that letter.
John {talking over Peter}: The repairs you wanted. I don’t know what you want done. You tellin’ me…You know what I want done and I’m sittin’ there goin’ “What do you want done?” That’s why we’re here right now. We’re here right now so we can get a list of what you want done…
Peter: It’s in the letter. All of it.
John: Okay, can you point out the stuff exactly so we know what you want. Okay? Just point it out. Just…
Marie: Come on.
John: this way here, when its done, I want you to check mark and say, yes it’s done. Then we’re all on the same page.
Marie: Come on.
John: That’s what I want, that’s why I’m here.
Marie: The fact that I can’t even put a {indistinct} doorknob in my door, {indistinct}
John: This one here? {indistinct}
Peter: That was one of the five I put in here. {indistinct}
John: I’m not here to argue. {indistinct}
Peter: Binding.
John: Is there a light here.
Peter: On the right. On your right.
John: this one here….everything’s there. Since it’s binding we may have to plane it.
{Loud noise from bedroom 2 door being closed and opened}
Marie: Every time.
{indistinct conversation away from mic}
John: It’s gonna have to be sanded a bit. Okay?
Agostino: No. It has to be planed down.
John: Planed down or sanded. Whatever.
{indistinct conversation}
Peter: Oh, also the carpets, the bedroom carpets.
Marie: They’re all the same.
John: We’re gonna replace carpets, do you mind if we wait for spring? It’s just easier to work, okay? You know it is winter. Heh.
Peter {sarcastic tone}: Yeah.
John: Okay. I will replace them.
10:00-10:15 {indistinct conversation}
Peter: The stove, the light in the foyer, but that’s {indistinct}
Marie: And the back door.
Peter: The back door, windows {indistinct}
10:30-12:50 {indistinct conversation}
John: The windows are {indistinct} again.
Marie: {indistinct}
John: It’s not going to change the heat.
Marie: Yeah, it will. If you get proper windows in here, yes it will.
Peter: A lot of the uh…a lot of the heat we’re losing out of here…
Marie: John, I have plastic on those windows, I’ve caulked the windows. Come here.
John: Windows…you know what they are…
Marie: Come here.
John: You know what the insulation fact…
Marie {talking over John}: You know where we’re still getting drafts? Right here.
John: You know what the insulation factor of a window is? You know what it is?
Peter: John…
Marie: John, I have closed all my windows.
Peter: If the window is not sealed and it’s letting cold air in …
John: I agree with the draft.
Marie: Directly in.
John: I agree with the draft. We’ll seal them wherever we can with the draft.
Marie: What about the summer?
John: In the summer…
Marie: And it’s a hot nice day. I have to unseal my windows and unseal them again? Replace the windows!
John: I can’t replace the windows on just one unit. I have to do the whole house.
Marie: Do the whole house. You have other tenants complaining.
John: I haven’t got that kind of money to do the whole house.
Marie: You own businesses but you don’t have …
John: You’re right, I do but…
Marie: But you don’t have the money to replace windows in a house.
John: No. Not the whole house. No. Not the whole house.
Marie: John, I don’t believe you.
John: But we…We will seal the windows. Now, okay, we got this, the windows we got, and the doors, most of it’s all doors. Okay. And the floor in the kitchen. The floor in the kitchen, okay, we’ll let you know whenever we can get at it. Okay? Because I’m gonna have to get you guys lined up with us, get everything out of the kitchen.
Marie: I’ll move stuff into the bedrooms if I have to.
John: It’s not that. It’s just that we…it would be easier in the spring time, but if you want to do it in the middle of winter we’ll do it in the middle of winter.
Marie: I’m not putting fridge and stoves and freezers out on the deck when I have no way to secure it and anybody in the neighbourhood…
John: I’m not talking about that I’m just sayin’ it’s easier if …
Marie: Where do you think the fridge and stove are gonna go even if…
John: It’s just easier if ‘cause it’s cold you gotta put stuff out and put stuff in it’d just be easier. I’m not sayin’ it’s gonna be any different, it’s gonna be easier to do it. If it was springtime it would be a lot easier. Okay? But nonetheless, we’ll do all the doors now and all stuff that’s easily done, okay, and…
Marie: And what about the water issue?
John: Wh…water? The water pressure … now I’ll tell you this, I went downstairs one day, here, to use his toilet…and his toilet was running. And I asked him why is your toilet running? He says, {indistinct}, I took him out there, he couldn’t hear it. So Richard has a bit of a hearing problem. The toilet was running, I said ‘How long has it been running?’. He doesn’t know.
Marie: John that doesn’t explain why it only…
John {talking over Marie}: It does! The water pressure drops…
Marie: Hold on, let me finish.
John: Okay.
Marie: that doesn’t explain why I can have a shower at two thirty, three, four, one in the morning, and I, every single time, lose water pressure, and lose hot water. Guaranteed.
John: Um hum. Yup.
Marie: I cannot have a shower, any time, day or night…hold on.
John {talking over Marie}: Uh…ah…I heard this part.
Marie: Without losing hot…
John {talking over Marie}: I’ll just repeat it now again {indistinct} losing pressure, hot water and pressure…
Marie: For over ten minutes.
John {talking over Marie}: I just heard now, you’re repeating it again.
Marie: No, I got to say now, for over ten minutes…
John {talking over Marie}: Yeah. Yeah. If I go…
Marie: And that’s not right.
John: If I go downstairs and I flush the toilet and the toilet’s running…
Marie {talking over John}: John, I can’t do it any time, day or night.
John: I’m just telling you if I flush the toilet and the toilet’s running, you lose water pressure. Other than that…
Marie: I would have to have no water pressure when I got in the shower, it wouldn’t all of a sudden go out for ten minutes.
Peter: What Marie’s telling you is that explanation does not account for the hot water going off in the shower at all times of day or night.
John: Well, the water pressure wouldn’t drop in the middle of running, with no one else running the water. It just…I’m telling you it wouldn’t drop. Unless it’s connected outside to the city somewhere and they’re using water. At my house…
Peter: Nevertheless, it does exactly that.
John: Okay. I’m just telling you, that…
Marie: John if you don’t believe me I’ll run the shower and I’ll video tape it for you.
Peter: If you want.
John: Yeah. And I’m just sayin’…
Marie: And I can’t even fill up a sink full of water to do my dishes nine times out of ten without losing water pressure.
John: And I’m telling you again that unless somebody else flushes a toilet on that side or this side, or something’s running, that’s what takes away water pressure. I got here in my house…I got five apartments in my house…
Peter: John…
John: If I’m in the shower, and the person upstairs runs the water…
Peter: John, this is not explainable by quirks of an older building. It’s not.
Marie: Not when there’s only three units in here.
John: Okay. Then you tell me how to resolve that problem.
Marie: Three other units are vacant…three units are taken.
John: I’m just telling you what’s causing…causing it.
Marie: Three units are taken, There’s no one living in the fourth.
Agostino: There’s no one complaining on the other side, where they’d have the same issues with the water pressure.
Marie: The other side also gets hot water faster and gets water faster. I know, ‘cause when….one moved out he was the one that told us that.
John: yeah.
Marie: they get it all easier than we do.
Agostino: You’re all on the same level, so the pressure should be….
Marie: It’s also on the other side of the building, so no it shouldn’t.
John: That wouldn’t make a difference.
Marie: It does, for some reason. And don’t ask me, I’ve learned that from buildings I’ve worked in.
John: We got water lines on both sides. One feeds this side, one feeds that side. They’re independent.
Peter: Well, maybe there’s a problem with the water lines on this side. I don’t know, but I’m telling you the water pressure is low and not predictable.
John: I’m not saying that it’s not low and…
Marie: And the hot water…
John: And I’m no s…I asked the city once about that, a long, long, time ago, ‘cause I did complain about the water pressure. The city…the city told me because of the apartment building across the street, the number of units, and when it was built and…you know, the city lines weren’t there to accommodate for that, a lot of people using the water there could lower the pressure in this whole area.
Marie: And the hot water especially. I’ll be standing in that freezing bathroom, and I’ll lose hot water to the point where I get hit all of a sudden with an arctic…
John: but…
Marie: No, I get hit with an arctic blast, and in a freezing bathroom already and you’re wondering why I’m complaining of the heat? I’m gonna get sick from that.
John: I’ve ta…I’m telling you, I’ve talked to the city and this is the city’s explanation to me. “Cause I called a long time before you guys ever came in here about the water pressure.
Marie: Then you better be lowering the rent because these places are not worth eleven hundred dollars with all these problems you say…
John {talking over Marie}: I’m not…I’m not gonna lower the rent, okay? All I can tell you right now is I have costs too. My taxes are going up…
Marie {talking over John}: John. We were misled from the second we rented this place. ‘Oh. There’s a slight water pressure problem.’ This is not slight.
John: You weren’t misled, I told you there was a water pressure problem.
Peter: Not to this extent. All right…
Marie: You know we’re here…
John: Maybe not the extent, but I did tell you this before you moved in.
Peter: Okay, nevertheless, even if you did, even if you gave us full disclosure of the whole problem, you’re still obligated to repair it, even if we moved in knowing that problem.
John: Wh…I…I…I told you at the time were you willing to accept it and you said yes. When I first rented it I…
Marie: you did not even go into the extent of the problem. You didn’t say we lose water, we lose all heat,
Peter: nevertheless…
John: Yes.
Peter: Even if I had said that, and I’m not conceding that I did, all right, we’re still within our rights to ask you to repair it.
John. Okay. Okay. Well, I…there’s no way I can repair the water pressure.
Peter: Okay, then we have a bit of a problem to begin with. How about the heat?
John: The heat, like I told you is …
Marie: he’s gonna get somebody to look at the boiler.
John: I’ll call in a service guy in the morning.
Peter: Let me be specific. How about the cost of running these heaters? You mentioned in your phone…
John {talking over Peter}: Whatever your hydro bill is the difference …
Peter: Let me finish. You said in that phone call it’s be two to ten dollars per month extra. It’s not.
John: Two to ten dollars?
Marie: To me.
John: No, no, no no. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say two to ten dollars.
Marie: Yes, you did to me.
John: No.
Marie: Yes you did.
Peter: You gave a figure of ten dollars per month to me during that phone call.
John: Oh, not ten dollars. A heater might cost you …
Peter: John, if you like I can play you a recording of that telephone conversation and you can listen to yourself.
John: Absolutely. Absolutely. I didn’t say two to ten dollars.
Peter: No, you said ten dollars to me. You said two to ten to her.
John: I did. I was talking about…maybe I…I don’t remember saying it, but I’d love to hear it. Really, I don’t remember saying it.
Peter: Okay then, let’s table that matter for the moment and I’ll play it when we’re done here. I’m gonna have to pull the card out of the phone and…
John: I’d love to hear it, but what I am doing…
Peter: Nevertheless…
John: I’m also doing it for the other side. I talked to them on the other side, and brought them the heaters too. It’s not just you, I don’t want…it’s not in my best interest for you not to be happy so I’m gonna try and resolve as much as I can but there are some things that I’m tellin’ you that..I’ve tried to resolve…
Marie: John, you also said in the phone call to him, ‘use the heaters sparingly’.
John: Yes.
Marie: It’s freezing in this apartment, how do you figure…
John {talking over Marie}: I’m just sa… I’m just sayin’, when the…
Marie {talking over John}: No, let me finish, please.
John: Okay.
Marie: How do figure use them sparingly when it’s freezing…
John {talking over Marie}: Do you want me to explain that? Can I explain that please?
Marie: Yup.
John: When the temperature goes up to fifty degrees outside, {indistinct} fifty, and the heaters are on…but it’s already warm enough in here…
Marie: Uh-huh.
John: Right? You know, then turn the heaters off.
Marie: And what happens when I disagree with you what’s warm enough, ‘cause you say it’s warm enough outside and this apartment’s still cold.
John: I’m sayin’ seventy two degrees, which is the warm. You know. If you heat it to eighty degrees it’s kind of hot. I’m just…I’m tryin’ to think of what’s realistic. Okay? I’m not sayin’ you’re goin’ to abuse it, I’m tryin’ to help you here with givin’ you…
Marie: And I’m trying to be smart about this.
John: I am too. I am too. If there was a way to fix all these issues, you think I wouldn’t fix all these issues? I can’t make the water pressure go up, the city is giving me their line, saying there’s so many people using the water in the area that the water pressure will go down, I said ‘Okay’ . What am I supposed to do?
Peter: Do you have…uh…Actually, do you have an email? {indistinct} I’ll send you a copy of that recording, how’s that?
John: No, actually, I want to hear it. I do…I do remember two to five dollars more…I remember that. If I did, I apologize for that. I’m wrong.
Peter: In any event…
Agostino: I gotta take off, all right?
John: Okay.
Agostino: I got an idea of what needs to be done…
John: You got an idea of what needs to be done?
Agostino: Yes
John: Okay.
Marie: Here. Here’s the better pen.
Peter: Could I get your email?
John: Jay-
Peter: jay?
John: see, ee, ar….eye…enn….oh
Peter: yah
John: Two thousand and four.
Agostino: Okay, when would you like the doors done?
Marie: As soon as possible, anything to put an end to some of this.
John: dor…see….eh
Marie: I mean, that one at night? I can see the hall light all the way around it and I’ve already put weather stripping on it. So that’s letting the heat right out.
John {talking over Marie}: Just put another piece of wood around it and seal it. Okay?
Peter: Okay, before I get to that, you realize it’s going to cost around four hundred bucks a month for those heaters.
Marie: Just to keep it warm.
John: I…I…You know what? What I’m going to do is look at your last two months bill. When the bill comes in, all right?
Marie: It’s already here.
John: I’ll take a look at that, uh…okay. That’s…that’s the bill now, you just started the heaters now. Right? So…
Marie: But my last month’s bill without the heaters was a hundred and sixty-six dollars and change…for two months, sorry. And we come in two month cycles.
John: Okay, when the next one comes in in a two month cycle, we’ll take that…I want to see it obviously first, we’ll subtract that from that and I’ll take that off the rent.
Marie: I want this all in writing.
John: You won’t need it in wr…I’m telling you you got your witness here. Okay?
Marie: I want …
John: My witness here is my brother.
Marie: That’s what makes me nervous is you won’t put it in writing.
John: You know what? I wouldn’t lie to you. I’m not trying to…I’m tryin’ ta…
Marie: I’ve been screwed over by landlords before who said to my face they’re not tryin’ to screw you…
Peter: john if you want to amend the tenancy agreement to that degree, it should be in writing. I agree with Marie.
John: It’s only gonna be for…only gonna be for the winter months.
Peter: nevertheless…
John: Yeah.
Peter: Actually, we’re gonna discuss summer too, because…
John {talking over Peter}: No, it’s just going to be for the winter.
Peter: Just a moment now. Talking…If we get the same thing as last summer, where we’re air conditioning fighting that …
Marie: heat source.
Peter: then we’re going to be discussing…
John: There is no heat source.
Marie: ex…{makes strangled noise}
John: Where is this heat source coming from?
Marie: that whole apartment. It was so har…hot up there yes…there last year it set off the fire alarm system.
Peter: the windows were left closed, it got up to fifty degrees celcius in that apartment.
John: Yeah? Then open a window, put a screen in. What else can I do? I’m just sayin’ I’ll cool it down, if that’s what you require, that’s what I’ll do.
Marie: it made this apartment unbearable.
John: You know what? I’m not asking you to move. Don’t take this the wrong way. Don’t take this the wrong way. I wanna do…I wanna do…I…I…and I’m not…
Peter: {indistinct}
John: I know I said that and I said that because all these repairs that I have no clue what you’re tal…What are you talking about? Now that I have a clue what you’re talking about, I apologize for saying it. What I’m saying though is this. If, you find it unsatisfactory here, and I can’t meet the obligations of a…
Marie: And you say you’re going to do all these jobs in spring? I want that in writing.
John {talking over Marie}: I’m gonna try to. I’m gonna try…
Marie: In spring I don’t want to be fighting with you again.
John: Most of the doors will be done now, because we can do that now.
Marie: And the kitchen floor and…?
John: The kitchen floor, like I say, is a big job, probably {indistinct}
Marie: And I want that in writing. Because I don’t wanna be fighting with you in the spring.
John: You know what we’re gonna do? As we do each job, as we…‘cause you’ve got it here in writing here, the repair right? As we do each job we’re just going to sign off. We say yes , my brother will probably be here, yes this job’s been completed, this one here, that’s all…then we hear…we’re both on the same page then. We’re both happy.
Peter: Okay, Okay, that’s fine for the minor repairs, not a problem there.
John: Okay.
Peter: Okay, but for the ones that you want to leave for spring, you write a schedule as well?
John: Yeah. We’ll try and get them in. No problem I’m not saying we’re not going to.
Peter: I want a schedule in writing,
John: Not a p…I’m not goin’ to say it’s gonna be on such and such a …but we will be starting on such and such a day…
Peter: Started by.
John: That’s also depends on maybe if we can get in, because maybe you have an obligation that week or something and maybe we can’t get in that week…
Marie: We’ll make sure.
Peter: I’m not asking today, I’m saying that repairs will be completed by…uh…April thirtieth.
John {talking over Peter}: They’ll be…they’ll … they’ll be …they’ll be worked at. It won’t be completed on any such day only because I can’t guarantee…
Marie: Or at least started by.
Peter: But it will be started. I agree with you.
Peter: Okay.
John: Okay?
Peter: {indistinct}
John: I’m not sayin’ we’re not gonna work on it, we’re gonna do the best we can. I don’t wanna…You guys and he been great tenants. You have been. I haven’t heard a squawk from you guys the whole time you been here. This is the fir…this is the reason why I’m goin’ ‘What are these {indistinct}?’ I been here all the time and haven’t heard anything and haven’t heard any complaints.
Marie: John’s done what he can for us.
Peter: Richard.
Marie: er…Richard, sorry.
John: Like I said I never…
Marie: he’s trying to find doors and everything else.
Peter: Now you know.
John: Now I know. Now you’ve got to this level of management, okay? Now I will address it, okay? My brother is here, that’s why he’s here so we both hear the same things. “:Cause sometimes I go to tenants, and tenants say something to me, and then they say something else, and I’m sitting there going …
Marie: As for the hot water, maybe you should get a bigger hot water heater.
John: the hot water tank downstairs?
Marie: maybe we wouldn’t lose hot water so easy then.
John: Well…well, you wouldn’t lose…right now the only two people with hot water would be you and Richard on this side here.
Marie: Well, we lose it quite regularly. Quite regularly, and for long periods of time. I’ve sat in the shower for over fifteen minutes waiting for hot water.
John: Well…it’s a gas hot water heater, and they’re the fastest.
Marie: Yeah, but how big is it?
John: Sixty gallon. It’s a sixty gallon hot water heater, the thing is…
Marie: Again, when was the last time it was looked at?
John: That won’t change. Whether it’s a used one or old one it heats sixty gallons at a certain …
Marie: but is it working correctly?
John: Absolutely. And I got another one sitting beside it right now…I had another one go on me, years ago, I got a call from Richard…right?…and I had a second one sitting there…I had the hot water back…I don’t even know if you guys knew it went. It was a couple years ago.
Marie: I wasn’t here then.
John: {indistinct} or not, I’m not sure, but when it went, I had the other one hooked up and back on, and the hot water was serviced within fifteen minutes. Because I’m prepared for this.
Marie: Well..
John: I ha..Actually, I have another one sitting there beside it right now.
Marie: Somebody better look into it, because I’m not kidding. Fifteen, twenty minutes sitting in an ice cold shower.
John: Again, you know yourself, I use the hot water to take a shower, first thing in the morning. He takes a shower right after. Right? It’s going to take some recup time. It is. If you just get…
Agostino: It hasn’t gotten any better since Richard’s son moved out?
Marie: None. None.
Agostino: It should ‘cause he was doing laundry and everything down there.
John: He just moved out.
Marie: None.
John: So he just moved out.
Marie: And I should …if it made any difference I should have noticed right away. It keeps getting worse.
John: Well…
Marie: And there is some kind of problem if it keeps getting worse. Hell, the one day, there was absolutely no water. I phoned Richard, he had the same problem. We waited over half an hour for us to get any water.
John: If he has no water, and you have no water, it could be a city issue too. I’m just sayin’ it cou…I don’t know.
Marie: At eight o’clock at night?
John: I don’t know. The city is…Sometime it shuts off the water in an emergency and don’t tell you.
Marie: And that’s not the first time it’s happened.
John: I mean…I’ve had it when the city shuts the water off and hasn’t told me. It’s happened. In an emergency they shut it off and turn it back on.
Marie: john…
John: I’m not makin’ an excuse for them. I’m just sayin’…
Agostino: You guys have a good night, I’m gonna have to go, all right?
John: I’m gonna go too. I’ve discussed everything we need to discuss.
Peter: Do you want to listen to that recording?
John: Absolutely. If I said that I apologize…I was working in Dunnville on a drain when you called me. I have a plugged drain up there, underneath the house, there’s nobody to…
{indistinct conversation}
Marie: ‘Cause you have to lock it in order it… for it to stay closed. The doorknob doesn’t work because…
Agostino: The door closure is {indistinct}.
Marie: That’s the way everything is…Lookit. The doorknob doesn’t work. Because the door doesn’t meet…
Agostino: We’ll fix that.
Marie: yeah, because the doorknob doesn’t work. Because the door doesn’t meet the frame.
Agostino: It’s not going into the slot for some reason.
Marie: Yeah, because it doesn’t even meet the frame.
John: It can be repaired. It’s possible.
Agostino: It was catching when you moved in.
Marie: No it wasn’t. It hasn’t since the day I moved in.
Agostino: {indistinct}
Marie: Yup, because we’ve always had to use the deadbolt …
John: Don’t argue the point ‘cause we know that lock didn’t lock when they first rented, you know that, so…It doesn’t matter, if it breaks it gets fixed. There’s no issue with it. You fix things when they break.
Marie: Oh, and the light in the hallway downstairs.
John: yeah, I read that part on here. What {indistinct}
Marie: The one right in between the front door and the door downstairs.
John: Okay, now, that should be uh Richard, Richard changing the light bulb.
Marie: It’s on his… No, he can keep changing them and they keep burning out.
Peter: You’re talking about the foyer, right?
Marie: Yup.
John: What, downstairs?
Marie: Yup.
John: Okay. I’ll try and get one of those twenty or…ten thousand hour bulbs and {indistinct}
Marie: No, he’s put in florescent light bulbs.
Peter: Oops, wrong one.
John: I don’t remember saying that. IU didn’t think it was two to ten dollars.
Marie: that’s what you said to me because I got quite upset at that point.
John: It’s more than that.
Marie: yeah.
John: I called up hydro once and asked about running the heaters 24/7 non-stop and they told me it would come out to a hundred and fifty six dollars per month if I had the heater running non-stop.
Marie: And that’s not including all the hydro hikes they’ve had since then.
John: I know, I know, but this is when I called them last. I called them just to get an idea…I called them…five years ago?
Marie: And now every time the hydro…
Peter: I showed you the calculation, actually, for the cost of running the heaters for twelve hours.
Marie: And it’s just that one heater.
John: I dunno. But like I said, heaters come on and off when they’re already {indistinct}
Marie: And most of these heaters you sent don’t have a thermostat in them.
John: No, these shut off and on on their own.
Marie: That? No. That one is mine. That is the only one that has a thermostat in it.
John: This one here. Is that one of mine?
Marie: Yup. And it does not work.
John: It doesn’t shut on and off on its own?
Marie: Nope.
Peter: okay, whatever that is.
John: Yeah, that’s the dial for the setting for the heat. And you put it on. When it reaches that temperature, then it shuts off.
Marie: Well, then it’s never reached that temperature then.
Peter: {indistinct} up to sixty nine, seventy by running these.
Marie: And it’s never shut off.
John: My apartment right now is sixty degrees in the back room. It is. The girl I know I was talking to this afternoon she lives in Ancaster inside a government building, and her apartment is at sixty degrees.
Marie: yeah, well she can squawk because by law it’s supposed to be sixty-eight.
John: I know, but I’m just telling you we’re doing the best we can. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Marie: I’ve got arthritis and it’s killing me. My dog is thirteen years of age full of arthritis.
John: I can’t change what is. I can’t change it. I wish I could, but I just can’t.
Peter: Five, two, two, sixty one, twenty five.
John> That’s, that’s mine, yeah. But that goes right to my cell. After you call there, it’ll ring to my cell.
Marie: That’s the recording.
John: It takes two rings to go to my cell.
{phone ringing}
Peter: That’s the recording.
32:00-34:05 recording plays
John {talking over the recording}: I keep my word. And not only that, ‘cause you’re paying the rent, you can withhold it because I said it to you. You know. I’m not gonna lie to you.
Marie: And you can evict us for withholding it.
John: I’m not gonna do that. Okay? I’m not. Okay? I still don’t hear the two to ten dollars.
{recording plays}
John: Yeah sparingly, when its seventy or eighty degrees outside you won’t have to use those. Heh.
{recording plays}
Marie: I know he said it to me because that’s when I…
John: I don’t remember saying it.
{recording plays to 35:20}
John: I don’t hear it, but it’s okay. I believe you {indistinct}
Peter: There’s another six minutes of this phone call if you want to hear it.
John: just sayin’. I don’t remember saying it. However, if you do find it where I said it, save that spot on the part of the conv…I’m just curious
Peter: I’ll email you a copy.
John: maybe I’m losing it ‘cause I don’t remember saying that.
Marie: it’s like I told you, I’m wearing thermal socks …
John: Just…just keep it there, on your phone there, and the next time I come by just say john, by the way, this is …just so…just “cause I don’t remember saying that. I could be losing it, I’m getting old.
Marie: you’re gonna have to lock the door.
Peter: All right. So, what we have agreement on here is you’re going to start on the minor repairs, doors, windows….
John {talking over Peter}: My brother’s gonna start on the windows and doors.
Peter: Doors and windows?
John: I would like to be…I would like to do the floor in spring and I’m not gonna make it go longer than it has to go. You’ll see us…when we come in to do a job thoroughly, we pull everything up, you know I don’t want to put you to inconvenience either, having your kitchen displaced for two or three days. Where you gonna cook, where’s your fridge, you know, we’re gonna try and do this so it can all be done fast.
Peter: Okay.
John: I’m thinking of you. Would you like it if I displaced you for a whole week without a kitchen?
Peter: not particularly, but…
Marie: I’ve been through worse.
Peter: On the subject of the windows,uh… is a start gonna be made on those?
John: the windows, like I said, the only thing we can do is caulk them and seal them.
Peter: Okay.
Marie: You wanna bring more plastic? “Cause I’m definately need it.
John: I can give you a roll of plastic. I got one in my living room.
Peter: Plastic and the tape.
Marie: “Cause I’m running out of tape.
Peter: Okay.
John: Okay, the scotch tape? The wide scotch tape?
Peter: Yeah, the packing tape.
John: I got a roll this big. Biggest roll you’ve ever seen in your life.
Peter: Okay, so you’ll start on that. Ah, the heat…
John: the heat, like I said the boiler. I’ll get a guy in, I’ll get Allied Mechanical in
Peter: {indistinct} the temporary heaters, you’re agreeing that ..ah…
John: yeah. I told you, I told you already that whatever the hydro bill is, the difference between what you paid two months ago, two months…what I’d like to see is even the two months before that, just to see, just so I know it’s, you know, around the same.
Peter: two months before that includes air conditioning.
Marie: There was air conditioners.
John: Okay, I’m just curious, okay {indistinct}
Marie {talking over John}: Two air conditioners.
John: I’m just curious, okay? That’s all. I’m just curious what…uh…how much the hydro fluctuates.
Marie: What the hy…with two air conditioners running? I can tell you right now, five hundred and fifty six dollars.
John: Wow. Wow.
Marie: Because we had that heat source, and all these air…and it was only my bedroom…
Peter: {indistinct}: twenty-five degrees and it never turned off all summer long.
John: This part is gonna get hot though.
Marie: With that above too? That made it even worse.
John: You know what may be keepin’ the heat in the summer? Like I said I did insulate up there. If I get a hole in the…if I drill a hole in the wall, I’ll pull up insulation. I…I did the insulation. I did that…I bought this building when I was twenty-five years old…
Marie: But keeping it sealed up with no air circulating in there…
John: Then I will open a window in the summer just remind me…
Marie: More than one.
John: Remind me in the summer, I got these things, uh…they open up into screens so the bugs and the flies don’t come in…open it up and put them in the window…
Marie: Yeah, I had to get those, and my cat smashed one. That’s why we need screens.
John: I’ll put them in the windows, okay? All right? And we’ll…we’ll go with that. But as summer comes, there’s a few more items …
Marie: That…the screens are on that list too.
John: just…let me know. You know. If we have to we’ll build a screen, for that window, put it in front of the window…right? Then when you open it, that window there will have a screen. But then the screen, if you’re putting an air conditioner there…
Marie: We’re not using window mounts.
John: I’m just sayin’ if you put an air conditioner there, I won’t be able to put a screen in that window. “Cause that screen’s gonna be attached…
Peter: We’re not using window mount air conditioners.
Marie: So yes, you can put a screen in.
John: Okay.
Marie: We’re not using window mounts, we’re using portables.
Peter: {indistinct}
John: Oh, one of those ones that {indistinct}. Okay, I don’t know how they go…I know…I’ve seen them, I just never seen one work.
Peter: You just stick it in the window and shut the sash on it and that’s it.
John: Where’s the water drip?
Peter: Uh…the water is internal.
Marie: It evaporates.
John: I’m always worried about them damaging the sills or soiomething.
Peter: The water …uh….the condensation inside is dripped back over the evaporator coils.
John: Okay.
Peter: Helps cool …
John: When it’s operating, you gotta show me. I’ve never seen that kind working. Now that I will tell ya,that I will tell ya, I know nothing about. {indistinct}
Peter: No they’re actually…
Marie: Because of everything not sealing and the heat source above, that’s why the air conditioners were so …the bill was so high.
John: In…in the spring time, or in the summer, when you put your air conditioner give me a call, say ‘John, it’s that time of year, we’re puttin’ the air conditioners in, can you please open up the windows on the third flor?’ I will gladly oblige. It’s not a big issue…
Marie: Leaving that door open too helps circulate the air.
John: Which…Which door?
Marie: The door to that apartment, and that’s what…
John: No, I won’t leave that open, it’s …
Marie: Why? I can hear every sound in this hallway.
John: If someone comes up from the streets, {indistinct}
Marie: That’s what you’re missing. I hear ev… I can hear the front door open, I can hear that door open…
Peter: What if you’re not home, right?
John: I’m not.
Marie” I’m the only one…you and I are the only ones that come up here and the door is locked at all times.
John: I been in the business probably as long as you’ve been a tenant, okay? And uh…the stuff I’ve seen in my lifetime…I just…
Marie: I know, I’ve been a super.
John: I’m just.
Peter: Okay.
John: Okay. We’re not gonna argue this point. We’re not gonna….
Peter: For the…for the modified tenancy agreement, when would you drop that off? She wants it in writing.
John: Uh, it’ll be in writing, but it’s only gonna be for the winter months, it’ll be for two months, and then two months, which is a quarter, for a winter. At which point, then your hydro will be your own bill again, and you know. I’m just gonna cover you for the winter.
Peter: Meaning…? December, January, February, March?
John: February, March….that’s it. Okay. “cause by then it’ll be warmer out, it won’t be as cold,
Peter: yeah.
John: Unless…I’ll retract that. Unless we have a minus twenty day in March, I’ll extend it, okay? Okay? Just to be…just to be on the safe side.
Peter: One day, I don’t care. {indistinct}
Marie: One day I can suffer through.
John: yeah.
Marie: That’s why I didn’t bitch last year. Those four minus days…I got through. Last year was a mild winter.
John: I know it was. And we had that el nino…
Marie{talking over John}: And that’s why I didn’t complain. It wasn’t bad in here. These cold days, I’m freezing.
John: According to the {indistinct}. I don’t know this, but according to the el nino thing, it changes for four years…Now I’m just sayin’…if they’re right, we’re gonna have four more years of this winter. I’m just letting you know something, okay?, if they’re right. Because then you {indistinct} The currents under the ocean, they go one way for four years, and then go back the other way for four years. That’s what {indistinct}. So if they’re right, then we’re gonna get four more years of this really really cold cold winter. And I don’t like it because I gotta pay the bills. So it’s in my best interest to …you know…I apo…But please, if there is an issue, talk to Richard about it. If it doesn’t go through Richard, it doesn’t get to me. Okay?
Peter: Okay, we have your number, and your email now.
John: Please call. Please call. All right? Thank you.
Peter: All right. But again, when are you going to drop off that tenancy agreement, that modified tenancy agreement.
John: For the hydro?
Peter: Yes
John: I’m gonna keep my word with you, I’m not lyin’ to you. What is…
Peter: Just so we’re clear here John, you’ll put that in writing?
John: Okay…uh…well…uh…{two second pause} Give me a few wekks, okay?
Peter: Weeks?
John: Give me a few days, give me a few days, I gotta figure out how to write this thing up, okay? “Cause it’s gotta include your next two hydro bills. Which is important ‘cause it’s four months, right? So…I will make it…uh…the difference between this hydro bill which you got now, what’d you say it was? one sixty six?
Peter: One…
Marie: One sixty-six fifty-eight.
John: And we know hydro went up so I mean it’ll be more, but I don’t care. So…I just want to make you guys happy if I can. All right?
Marie: Okay.
John: believe me, I wouldn’t be here working w…uh…against you…uh…we’re tryin’ to work with you as best as I can. If I could fix everything, go like this it would be fixed.
Peter: So…a few days. How about by next Wednesday?
John: Ah…
Peter: {indistinct} twentieth…that’s the twenty-first.
John: you know what? I’m gonna write it up, then I’ll show it to you, make sure you’re happy with the way I’ve written it up.
Peter: Okay.
John: So that the world agrees on everything. I’m not gonna try and screw ya. Uh…just tellin’ ya, I want it to be as plain and simple as I can, just the way I just explained to you. The next four months, uh…of hydro, will be the difference between this bill…I don’t know which month it is for this bill, but I’ll write the date in there….
Peter: It’s …uh…November I believe.
Marie: {sighs}
John: But you know what? I’ll come up here, we’ll write it together up here. “Cause this way {indistinct} comparable to the month of the hydro bill date on…duh.duh…duh…duh…duh…Then I’ve got the actual date of that bill, we’re not usin’ another bill and then everything lines up I don’t have to do it ten times, we’re done. Okay?
Peter: That’s fine, but….that works
John: Perfect? All right?
Peter: All right.
John: I’m sorry, I’m trying. I’m trying my best. Okay? I am.
Peter: Thanks John.
John: Take care.

There are a few points to remember about this conversation:

  1. John states that this is “the first I’ve heard of it” in reference to repairs. We both knew that was false, since I had spoken to John in person about repairs about six months before, and John had agreed to do some of the repairs we requested before we moved in, more than a year before. “Nobody told me” or “I didn’t know” are common phrases out of John’s mouth. He knew.
  2. John refuses to check whether the radiators are warm. His brother, Agostino, says that they are “not even warm”. They were much cooler than the approximately 150 degrees Farenheit that they should have been.
  3. John claims to have checked the boiler, and pronounced it “running at full capacity”. Later events proved this untrue. In actual fact, at the time, the flow switch for the boiler was off, meaning that the hot water heated by the boiler was not being circulated through the radiators. John has, according to his brother Agostino, had been educated as a stationary engineer {insert clip of recording of conversation with Agostino}. John was either lying about the boiler, or was not competent to diagnose what was, in the end, a very simple problem. The serial number of the boiler indicates it was manufactured in March of 1985. At the time these incidents took place, the boiler was 31 years old, and (according to Richard) had not been maintained for the last six years at least.
  4. Please note the date, December 20, 2016, of the HVAC technician’s first visit. That was six days after my roomate and I had both called John to complain about lack of heat, and nine days after we’d first raised the issue of inadequate heat with Richard. There seemed to be no sense of urgency about the problem at all. It is not reasonable that ANY HVAC company took that long to respond to a “no heat” complaint. I am currently employed as the office manager for an HVAC company. “No heat” service calls for an apartment building have a higher priority than anything short of a natural gas leak, or other situation that is an imminent danger to the public. John tries to excuse the delay by blaming it on “Steve from Allied Mechanical” not returning his calls in a later video made on February 1, 2017. That’s extremely unlikely, and had it been the case, the problem could have been solved very simply. Call someone else.
  5. John is (deliberately, I believe) obtuse about the significance of the ceiling being cooler than the rest of the room, and is disruptive and dismissive when I attempted to show him the temperature gradient for the room. (Briefly, the ceiling of a room that size, heated by radiant heat, should be approximately 3 degrees warmer than the floor, not six degrees cooler.) The finished attic above our unit has been left open in winter (so that our ceiling is very cold) and closed up in summer (so that there is a huge heat load on our ceiling due to heating of the attic). John also states that the attic cannot be heated since “it’s not connected” (meaning there’s no electricity). That was a falsehood, and everyone in the room knew it.
  6. At the end of the conversation, John is again asked about providing a written agreement to pay the difference in our electricity costs. John was at first evasive, then agreed to provide one. He never did, and later attempted to renege on the agreement, apparently unaware that he had been recorded.
  7. John states that fixing the kitchen floor would take days, possibly a week, and grossly exaggerates the size and complexity of the job. The floor was eventually repaired (after Property Standards reluctantly issued a compliance order) on August 1, 2017. The repair took less than three hours. You’ll see the repair done in the videos from August 1, 2017 posted in a later post.
  8. John promises to replace the carpets, but asks “Do you mind if we wait until spring?” He later reneged, claiming he had agreed to replace the carpets in one bedroom only, despite saying “I will replace them”. A reasonable person would think that “them” refers to more than one carpet (there’s one per bedroom). John often equivocates. As of May 18, 2018, he hasn’t replaced any carpet.
  9. John promises that he’ll “caulk them and seal them wherever we can” in reference to the windows. What he meant was that he would have his brother Agostino drop off a roll of plastic sheet sufficient to cover about half of the windows, a single roll of tape, 14 rolls of caulking (about half of which were hardened and useless) and a caulking gun. The plastic sheets and caulking were done by my roomate.
  10. John tries to use the excuse that he doesn’t have money to replace windows. That seems odd for someone who made his first million when he was 28 years old. I now (in July of 2019) believe him; or at least that he never pays his bills (as of July 15, 2019 he has gone through three representatives, stiffed at least two on the bill, and is now self-represented).
  11. John will not commit to a schedule for any of the repairs, and attempts to delay some of the repairs using lame excuses.

On December 20, 2016, Agostino Cerino knocked on our door and asked to come in to do repairs. No Notice of Entry was given, as required under the RTA. He measured the bedroom doors, and did some work attempting to plane one interior door that was sticking, then promised to return the next day. He did not return the next day, nor did he  inform us that the building’s boiler was being repaired on December 20, 2016. (Agostino later told us that John hadn’t  informed him about the boiler being serviced. I believe Agostino). He did, however, supply the plastic roll, tape and caulking to seal the windows of the unit, which my roomate did.

Other than that, we had no communication from our landlord, his brother or his agents.

On December 21, 2016 it was still cold in the apartment, so we wrote another letter requesting repairs. Richard had asked us to “leave me out of it”, so I tried to send the letter by email to the address John had provided on December 16, 2016, and the email bounced. I called John to get his correct email:

2016-12-21 Call to John About Email

This was the beginning of our landlord’s refusal to communicate with us on any matter. John apparently felt that if we couldn’t agree on everything, then we couldn’t agree on anything.

Snail mail wasn’t an option (too slow) so that left delivering the letter to Richard, John Cerino’s agent.

Since there had been no good faith effort on our landlord’s part to repair our apartment, on December 23, 2016 we filed a T6 application with the LTB. At the same time, we applied to the LTB for permission to pay our rent to the Tribunal until the matter could be resolved known as “payment in”). A few years ago it was relatively easy for a tenant to do this; it tended to motivate landlords to do required repairs. That’s no longer the case. I didn’t know it at the time, but a tenant can only apply once for payment in to the Board. If permission is refused, you can’t apply again, and it is (now) granted only in very unusual circumstances (such as the landlord refusing rent).

On December 28, 2016, I spoke to the neighbor in the upstairs unit on the other side of the building. 2016-12-28 – Notes on meeting with Cora. She told me they had been asking to have their kitchen floors replaced since they moved in, and stated that she had already “filled in the paperwork” for an application to the LTB. I spoke to her briefly about forming a tenants’ association; she seemed interested at the time. I also let her know that Property Standards would also respond to a complaint (which I believed at the time. They won’t, as a rule, even if the complaint is justified. More on that later). Cora also complained about the window panes being loose in the frames, the doors inside her unit, and the general lack of maintenance of the property.

There was no communication from our landlord at all. We were not informed that a technician had serviced the boiler on December 20 or December 28 of 2016 until February of 2017, two months later. More on this in later posts). The apartment was cold, and the three electric heaters were running almost continuously.

During the last week of December, I again contacted the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic for advice. John wasn’t doing anything about the repair requests. The advice got was to proceed with the complaint to Property Standards, and (“if you really want quick action”) to file a T2 Application for Tenant Rights alleging that John was witholding a vital service (heat and water). That made sense to me; the reason the apartment was cold was that he refused to repair the boiler (or even admit there was a problem with it).

So, on January 4, 2017 my roomate called Property Standards in Hamilton to complain about the lack of heat, and other issues.

My roomates complaint to Municipal Law Enforcement resulted in a visit on January 5, 2017 by Donna May Lord, a Municipal Law Enforcement officer assigned to Property Standards. My roomate complained about the lack of heat, and the other issues raised in the letter written on December 15, 2016. The Action Request and notes submitted by Ms Lord to the city of Hamilton are here.

Ms Lord was quite dismissive of my roomate’s complaint in person, and was rude and confrontational, but did write a compliance order for some of the repairs needed. Curiously, there was no Order to Comply written for the repairs needed to the kitchen floor. This was explained by John in a later conversation (on February 1, 2017). John told Ms Lord that there was a steel plate under the kitchen floor, and the soft spot was not an issue. If there was a steel plate under the floor, it was not visible when the floor was ripped up on August 1, 2017, nor was it detectable by a metal detector. In short John lied, either to us on February 1, 2017 or to Ms Lord on January 5, 2017. The foyer light, stove and carpets were not on the OTC either. Ms Lord informed my roomate (incorrectly) that all of those issues were beyond the jurisdiction of Property Standards. In fact, the foyer light being out is a Property Standards violation (see 19 (2) here). Ms Lord also failed to include my roomate’s complaint about the hot water being intermittent or non-existent. Ms Lord did check that hot water was available (at the time she was in our unit, it was) but did not measure the temperature of the water. She also advised my roomate that the broken self-closure on the front door was not under Property Standrds jurisdiction, and would need to be addressed by a fire inspector. My roomate called the fire department the next day and arranged to have the door inspected.

Ms Lord was also unable to properly measure the temperature in our unit since the electric space heaters had been running. That explains John’s eagerness to get those heaters into our unit. I’ve since talked to a former tenant of John’s who had the same experience, and a few others who’ve had the same experience with a different sluml…er…landlord. The heaters forestall any action by the City of Hamilton on a heat complaint.

Ms Lord also wrote an Order to Comply for the windows, but gave John until April 30, 2017 to complete the work. That puzzled me since everything except installing the screens could easily be done inside the building. John explains this in a conversation on February 1, 2017. Briefly, John convinced Ms Lord that the work would take days, and needed to be done from the outside. Ms Lord appears to have little practical knowledge of building repairs in general. However, she did include the malfunctioning toilet in the OTC without being asked. She also called John, in front of my roomate, and told him to turn up the heat, and warned him not to turn it down again after she left.

It should be noted that there was no communication from Ms Lord about our complaint after she left. We did leave several messages for Ms Lord on her voicemail, asking for information about the complaint, but never got a reply. The documentation posted here was obtained through an FoI request made to the City of Hamilton. We weren’t informed that Orders to Comply had been written, and didn’t find out until January 23, 2016, during the “Case Management” hearing {insert recording of case management hearing}, that any action had been taken.

During the time between December 15, 2016 and January 4, 2017, I had spoken to a lawyer at the Hamilton Legal Clinic. Her advice was to file a T2 application with the LTB “if you want action”. So, on January 4, 2017, we filed a T2 application with the LTB, alleging that John was interfering with our reasonable enjoyment of our unit by failing to supply heat, water and hot water. We also filed a T7 application, asking John to provide the proof that the refrigerator met the required standards. (It isn’t well known in Ontario, but the refrigerator supplied with a rental unit in Ontario must meet required efficiency standards. We asked John for verification that the refrigerator in our unit met those standards.)

On January 11, 2017 we received our Notice of Hearing for the Case Management Hearing on January 23, 2017.

On January 14, 2017, a Saturday, Agostino delivered a Notice of Entry; for January 16, 2017, a Monday. The Notice is deficient, as it does not specify the areas of the unit to be accessed, nor the repairs being done, but we wanted our apartment fixed so we didn’t make an issue of the deficiency. At least our landlords were giving us written notice so it was progress.

Section 27(3) of the RTA (which deals with Notice of Entry) reads:

Contents of notice

(3) The written notice under subsection (1) or (2) shall specify the reason for entry, the day of entry and a time of entry between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.  2006, c. 17, s. 27 (3).

So, at first glance, this Notice of Entry appears to satisfy the statutory requirements. There’s a day and time of entry, but it does not specify the reason for entry (assuming that “reparring” means “repairing”, it is still too vague. Repairing what? And where in the apartment? And which apartment? (There is no address on the notice, other than our unit number.) There are more requirements for a Notice of Entry than the bare minimum set out in the RTA. There is case law that makes this notice deficient in other ways. The LTB thoughtfully provided “Interpretation Guidelines” on this very subject. They aren’t binding on a member, but a landlord ignores them at his peril.)

2017-01-14 - Notice of Entry

On January 16, 2017 Agostino entered the apartment and replaced two bedroom doors, planed the third so it was no longer sticking (much) and began putting weather stripping on the front door of the unit. He promised to arrange the replacement of the stove, which took place on January 21, 2017. Agostino took both of us to the ground floor apartment on the other side of the building (where the Stampers now live) and told us to pick from the stoves (four or five) that were stored in the unit. While there, Agostino remarked that the stoves and refrigerators stored in the apartment had been there for “weeks” and he didn’t know why John hadn’t replaced the stove earlier.)

On January 21, 2017 Agostino delivered another Notice of Entry for January 23, 24, and 25, 2017.

2017-01-21 - Notice of Entry

Note that January 23, 2017 is the day of the Case Management Hearing. Again, the notice was deficient (for the same reasons as last time). While he was there, Agostino also spent most of the day attempting to repair the front door of the unit, unsuccessfully. (He later states that the reason for taking so long to repair the door is that he’s “working with garbage that should be thrown away” ” (4:10 ). The front door is badly warped, does not close properly, and has a 1″ gap under the door


and the locking mechanism would not hold the door closed unless the deadbolt was engaged. Agostino was of the opinion that the door should be replaced. He’s correct.

The Case Management Hearing was conducted by telephone on January 23, 2017. The recording of the hearing is here.

2017-01-23 – Case Management Hearing

John states several falsehoods in this hearing, with the clear intention of attempting to bias the adjudicator. He accuses us of trying to break a fixed term lease by stating (1:00:13-1:00:50 “I did say to them…I did say to them if they didn’t like it where they are, you know, they could move because I have them on a lease, so I have the lease running, and I was willing to open that up to help them out, not because I want to kick them out. She took it the wrong way when I said that, she says, ‘Are you telling me that I have to move?’, No, I’m trying to help you.” Mr Cerino does not have, nor has ever had, a fixed term lease with any of us. This was the first time we’d heard of it. John was trying to make us appear to be “professional tenants”.

John also said “I was notified on the…whatever date they gave me…December the…tenth…was it? Or ninth?…okay?…and immediately I called a furnace repair person…the person didn’t get back to me…”(16:20-16:44 2017-01-23 – Case Management Hearing.mp3). Until the Case management hearing we were not aware that a technician had serviced and/or repaired the boiler prior to December 28 2016. It’s (barely) possible that Allied Mechanical ignored a no heat call, but this is most likely a lie. If it is the truth, John could easily have called another HVAC company to repair the boiler.

At 24:10-24:30, John states “She {my roomate} does it often, goes down there {to the caretaker’s apartment} and, you know, has a problem and mentions it…” This contradicts John’s multiple earlier statements that he was unaware of any repair requests prior to December 14, 2016.

John also stated that Agostino was a landlord, which was news to us. Agostino took part in the Case Management Hearing as a landlord.

As a result of the Case Management Hearing, an Interim Order was issued by the LTB.

On January 27, 2017 we received a letter from the LTB informing us that we could not pay our rent to the board. It had been written a month before. I guess the mail was slow.

In Ontario, a tenant is required by law to pay for services he does not receive.

On January 31, 2017, Agostino delivered another Notice of Entry for February 2 and 3, 2017. Again, the Notice is deficient, but we didn’t make an issue of it. My roomate spoke with Agostino and was told that he would be working on the rear door of the unit.

Agostino also served an N4 notice with his signature as the landlord:

2017-01-27 - N4 - 0001
2017-01-27 - N4 - 0002

Note that this N4 Notice bears Agostino’s signature as the landlord, not John’s. When I questioned Agostino about this, he said that John had “forced me to sign” but would not explain further.

That evening (January 31, 2019) I delivered another letter to our landlord to Richard Pollington.

We arranged for John to meet us at the apartment on February 1, 2017 to pay the outstanding rent.

On February 1, 2017 we met with John and Agostino at our unit to pay back rent and to discuss the issue of repairs. There was the usual obfuscation and evasion from John when trying to set up the meeting;

2017-02-01 – call to landlord on February 1 conversation 1
2017-02-01 – third call to landlord on 02012017

Even making an appointment with this man is an ordeal. It’s all part of John’s way of dealing with life: Create confusion, then exploit it.

The video of that meeting is here:

The SD card in the camera was full about 50 minutes into the meeting, so the camera turned itself off. However, the entire conversation was also recorded in audio, and the last 15 minutes of conversation has been added to the end of the video (audio only).

The last nine minutes of the conversation are important later.

During that conversation, John stated (21:40) that “I don’t do paper. Because I think paper between two people is so impersonal”, when asked to give us Notice of Entry in writing (as required under the RTA). Pretty thin excuse.

When asked if he had any interest in settling the issues before a hearing, John’s answer was “What’s there to settle?” and refused. (At this point, we had Compliance Orders for some of the requested repairs, which means we had already proved maintenance deficiencies in the unit. There was plenty to settle.) He also said that he hadn’t read our previous letters (24:00-24:20). John’s explanation of why he would not do work on the windows was ludicrous (24:30-26:20) (Briefly, John claimed that he asked for an extension on the work because he didn’t want the apartment cold due to the window being out of the frame for the hour it took to repair the window. He claimed the delay was out of concern for us, since we were “complaining about the heat”. It seems to have escaped him that any reasonable person would tolerate a brief cold spell in order to correct the problem.)

When asked if John had investigated the water pressure problem, he said “I called the city”. When asked if he had done anything beyond that, he said no. (32:20).

When asked if Agostino had an interest in the building, John became very hostile and rude (36:45) and told me to shut up. He then made an offer of a $10 per month rent abatement in lieu of replacing the refrigerator. I’m not fond of being told to “shut up” in my own living room, and almost threw him out right then and there. But I didn’t.

John also asked again to be allowed access to the unit without notice going forward, and was visibly annoyed and argues when we refused (46:40). He then said “if you’re going to play it this way, I want it in writing that you want this {the repairs} done”. It seems to have escaped him completely that we had already sent him four letters at this point requesting repairs and/or information required under the RTA.

John indicated that he had found our repair requests “foolish” and “stupidity” (47:15) and had tossed them aside after glancing at them.

John also makes a big deal out of the fact that he has installed lifts in some of the windows. The lifts cost $2 each, and are installed by screwing in two small screws. It takes less than five minutes to install lifts on a window. That is the only repair John has done beyond what he was ordered to do by the City of Hamilton. In other words, it’s a very minor repair. It was also a message that John wouldn’t be repairing or replacing the (badly decayed and warped) window sills.

During the entire conversation, John is abusive, antagonistic and manipulative. He refers to the fact that Cora (from Unit 2 on the other side of the building) has been provided with a new kitchen floor, but doesn’t tell us that Cora’s father installed the floor (John simply provided the materials).


2017-04-27-1424 – conversation with Cora’s dad

That was John’s way of letting us know that “good” tenants were rewarded, and those who complained got nothing. However, the new floor in Ms Mitchel’s kitchen was long overdue


and John would very likely have lost against Ms Mitchell’s T6 application. He didn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart, in other words.

Around 35 minutes into the video, John tries to avoid the topic of a written agreement about the electricity by saying “…that will be discussed. I already talked to the adjudicator about that. I agreed on the phone, that yes, I would cover the hydro…the difference in that. Did I not agree with her?” John is quite experienced in LTB matters and knows that anything said in mediation (which a Case Management Hearing is considered) is private, and cannot be used in Tribunal. (I know this because John told me so in a conversation on June 28,2017). In other words, the fact that he promised the adjudicator that he would pay the difference is no guarantee since it can’t even be mentioned in a later Tribunal action, or so John believes. However, as I understand it, there are exceptions to the mediation privilege and John might be wrong about that. As the hearings progress, we may see. John told a lot of provable and deliberate lies in that hearing and as far as I know, everyone in that hearing was affirmed.

There are a number of instances where John tries to misinform us about LTB practices and procedures, especially to do with disclosure of evidence. The paralegal he hires a bit later tries the same thing on a regular basis. Our landlord’s first (of three so far) representative was ethically challenged and lies (both in and out of hearings) easily. I’ll be posting recordings and other evidence to prove that.

When Agostino entered the apartment for repairs on February 2 and 3, 2017, my roomate recorded parts of their conversation, as did I

During conversation with my roomate, Agostino states “Many times…many times he’s lied” {in reference to John’s promise to replace the carpets}. Agostino also states “John’s just a prick, a regular prick. He’ll never change.” (4:07) Agostino also stated “It was his fault that you went to file because he wasn’t listening.” (6:08). At 7:45, Agostino says “John is probably the king of that {slumlords}” in reference to John’s business practices as a landlord. At 8:45, Agostino comments that “You have a lot of broken windows…it’s not just one, there’s a lot…there’s way, way too many.” At 9:00 Marie says “…he {John} says that we are foolish and stupid” {in reference to our written repair requests} to which Agostino replies “He says that to everybody”.

At 15:55, Marie says {quoting John about repairs} “Oh, I’m doing what I have to.”, to which Agostino replies “That’s him. Exactly. Now you know what he’s about.”

Agostino agreed to provide whatever materials he can to do repairs, and agrees that his brother is in the wrong. (21:50) Agostino also states that he did not consult John before replacing the stove, which explains John’s complaints about the matter during the case management hearing. (Briefly, John claimed there was nothing wrong with the stove, but he had replaced it anyway to try and “make them happy”. Here are some pictures of the stove in question,

Kitchen - Stove door showing scorch marks (after cleaning) - 2016-12-23

and a meat thermometer

Melted Meat Thermometer (caused by malfunctioning thermostat) - 2017-02-08

that was melted because the thermostat in the stove had malfunctioned.)

(22:00) Agostino states that Richard “…won’t side with anybody. He’s afraid of John…everybody’s scared of that idiot.” This point becomes important later, as Richard proves to be subservient to John’s wishes. There will be some discussion in later posts about why, and how Richard is representative of one of the common responses to prolonged bullying. Richard goes along to get along.

Agostino states “The reason you’re here {meaning involved in a tribunal action} is he {John} doesn’t listen. He doesn’t hear.” (26:30-27:10) At 27:30 in the same conversation, Agostino acknowledges that the boiler likely needs more work.

On February 3, 2017 I had another meeting with Cora about a tenant’s association. The notes are 2017-02-03 – Notes on meeting with Cora. One point I did not put in the notes was Cora’s complaint about the rotting wood in her deck. A few days later, when I was looking up at it, a piece of the wood fell and hit me on the shoulder. It wasn’t a big deal, but clearly repairs were needed. I told Cora I would submit a complaint to bylaw, which I did.

Since John had asked for the electricity bills we had to date, we sent him another letter on February 3, 2017.

2017-02-03 – Letter to Landlord – edited for posting

On the same day, Agostino entered the apartment, and installed new locks on most of the windows.

On February 4, 2017, Agostino cut power to our unit and he and I walked through the building to verify that nothing in the building was metered through our unit. This was a concern since Richard had told us that John had wired the foyer lights through the meter in his (Richard’s) unit.

On February 6, 2017 Agostino entered the apartment without Notice of Entry to begin repairs on the windows. My roomate and he had a conversation about the carpets:

2017-02-06 2055 Roomate/Agostino about carpet replacement in Mikes room February 6,2017

My roomate also asked Agostino about paint supplies, which Agostino agrees to provide. He later informed us that he had done so without his brother’s knowledge or permission.

On February 6, 2017 I submitted another complaint to Property Standards through their web site.

That resulted in another compliance order to fix Cora’s deck (John’s third compliance order for the same building in two months):

I had a long list of Property Standards violations in and around the building but only complained about a few of them. I was curious how the city would handle multiple (justified) complaints against a single landlord. In this case the complainant (me) was never contacted and never informed that a compliance order had been written. Then again, none of the deficiencies in this complaint were both new and complaints about our unit. I do think some contact with the complainant would have been appropriate. Property Standards are quite good about keeping the landlord informed. Not so much with tenants.)

On February 7, 2017 Agostino delivered some paint supplies.

On February 8, 2017 we delivered another letter for our landlord to Richard. This letter asked for a copy of the lease John had claimed to have, and acknowledged receipt of the painting supplies Agostino had delivered. It also (again) reminded John that we wanted notice of entry to be in writing.

On February 12, 2017 I called John to get some clarity on the issue of a fixed term lease. the recordings are here:

2017-02-12 10-50 – Telephone Conversation 1 – John Cerino and Paul Bosch

As always, John is antagonistic and evasive. A transcript of the conversation follows:
John: Hello
Peter: Hi John, it’s Paul Bosch.
John: What can I do for you?
Peter: I was wondering if you’re going to give me a copy of the lease that you claim to have?
John: Ah, that’ll be presented at Tribunal when I bring all the papers, okay?
Peter: Well, that’s independent from the Tribunal matter, you’re supposed to provide that witin 21 days of us moving into the unit. Ah, so are you going to give us…
John {talking over Peter}: Uh, yeah, I’m gonna provide all the information I have at Tribunal and you go pick it up. It’s available to you before the date of the court. Just like I have to go pick up all of your stuff. Okay? That’s {indistinct}
Peter: No, no. The lease is independent of this. Okay? We do not recall signing a lease, and you claim to have one.
John: Yup.
Peter: If you have one, you were supposed to have provided us a copy of that within twenty one days of us moving in.
John: I…I didn’t see that. Where’s it say that?
Peter: Uh, it is…let me see…in the Residential Tenancy Act, it’s uh….section 12, Every written tenancy agreement entered into on or after June 17, 1998 shall set out the legal name and address of the landlord to be used for the purpose of giving notices or other documents under this Act. {John tries to interrupt} Hang on… If a tenancy agreement entered into on or after June 17, 1998 in writing, which you claim we did, the landlord shall give a copy of the agreement, signed by the tenant and…signed by the landlord and the tenant, to the tenant within 21 days after the tenant signs it and gives it to the landlord. That’s right in the residential tenancy act. Now would you just give us a copy of the lease please?. If you actually have one.
John: If I can find it I’ll give it to you, okay?
Peter: Well, you had it for the mediation.
John: If I can find it I will give it to you.
Peter: Is that a yes or a no, John?
John: Didn’t I just say if I can find it I will give it to…
Peter {talking over John}: If you can find it. All right. While we’re on the subject, why don’t you tell me what the terms of that lease were, just so I know.
John: Well…I don’t know, I have to look for it.
Peter: Was it a fixed term or month to month tenancy, John?
John: I had it in my hand when I was talking to youse uh, on the trib…the people in the Tribunal. The thing is, if I can find it I’ll bring it over. I haven’t got time to play with you right now, I’m busy working. And, uh, what I’d like to find. I just gave you an answer. If I can find it…understand English?…I will give it to you.
Peter: You were required to give it to us within twenty one days. We’ve asked for it more than twenty one days ago, and I’ve asked for it in a number of letters.
John: Good bye.
Peter: Don’t talk over me Sir.

So I called Agostino. Here is our conversation.

2017-02-12 11-26 – Telephone Conversation 2 – Agostino Cerino and Paul Bosch

So, no fixed term lease. John lies a lot. Agostino also left a message for my roomate on her voicemail two days later.

2017-02-14 – Agostino – Message

On February 16, 2017 I called Agostino and let him know that our electricity bill had arrived, and to make arrangements to pay the difference between the $500 we held back, and the difference in the electricity bills. Agostino said that he was not permitted by John to pick up rent, or to write a receipt for rent. Agostino instructed me to contact John in regards to the outstanding rent.

So I did, and at the same time asked John to have an independent HVAC contractor assess the heat situation in the building. He refused.

On February 17, 2017 we delivered another letter to Richard  addressed to John.

This letter asks for the landlord’s legal name and address, discussion of the repairs, and gives John the numbers he needs to prepare a receipt for the outstanding rent (minus the agreed upon abatement to compensate for the heaters use of electricity.) John is also informed that his behavior in our unit was unacceptable, and is warned he will be asked to leave if it happens again.

We heard nothing from our landlord, so on February 20, 2017 I called him to arrange delivery of our disclosure. The recordings are here:

2017-02-20 14-14 – Telephone Conversation John Cerino and Paul Bosch (19055226125 Out) (silences removed)
2017-02-20 14-15 – Telephone Conversation John Cerino and Paul Bosch (19055226125 Out) (silences removed)
2017-02-20 17-26 – Unanswered call to John Cerino (19055226125 Out)
2017-02-20 17-28 – Unanswered call to John Cerino (9057469998 Out)

So I called Agostino to arrange delivery of the disclosure, and to make arrangements to pay the rent. Agostino tries to excuse John’s erratic behavior by saying “You never know what happens with him…he’s diabetic). Agostino says he can’t accept disclosure without checking with John. That seemed odd for a co-landlord, which was what we had been told was Agostino’s role in the building.

2017-02-20 17-29 – Telephone Conversation – Agostino Cerino and Paul Bosch (2894892913 Out)

A transcript of that conversation follows:
Agostino: Hello
Peter: Hi Agostino
Agostino: How you doin’?
Peter Not bad. It’s Paul Bosch from xx Avenue South.
Agostino: How you doin’ Paul?
Peter: Pretty good. Ah, I called…
Agostino: What can I do for you?
Peter: Well, I called your brother earlier today to make arrangements for him to come pick up his rent, he told me to call him back after five, now he won’t answer his phone. So,,,ah
Agostino: He may be sleeping. You never know with him, he’s so diabetic, eh?
Peter: Okay, well, for whatever reason we have the disclosure available to you. We’d like you to come pick it up because it has…
Agostino: What’s that?
Peter: We have the disclosure to you.
Agostino: Okay.
Peter: We’d like you to come pick it up.
Agostino: All right.
Peter: As well as come pick up the rent for February.
Agostino: Okay, that’s not a problem, eh?
Peter: Okay. Can you and your brother be by here sometime at a reasonable hour this evening? Your brother’s playing games again Agostino and I’m not happy with it.
Marie: His message…his message said…
Agostino: I can call.
Peter: All right.
Agostino: But I can’t see I can be up there with him though, so I {indistinct}. Okay?
Peter: Would you please make arrangements to come and get your rent, accept the disclosure…
Agostino: John has to come get the rent. Okay? But it doesn’t have to be today.
Peter: Yes, it does.
Marie: The disclosure has to be today, it was said in mediation. Today is the date.
Peter: And your brother…
Agostino: They’re not even open. What are they open today?
Peter: No, they’re not. We have to make it available to you.
Agostino: Oh, okay.
Peter: We can give it to you Agostino, that’s no problem. He’s got you down as a landlord.
Agostino: That’s true.
Marie: But we can give it to you.
Agostino: But I have to call him and ask him about it, all right?
Marie: Okay.
Peter: That would be fine.
Agostino: I have to do what he says. Okay, not a problem. All right?
Peter: Okay.
Agostino: Bye now.

A few minutes later, he called me back. He couldn’t reach John, and promised to call back. Agostino instructs us to give the disclosure to Richard Pollington, and agrees to have rent receipts provided when rent is paid, not days later. Richard Pollington had refused to provide a receipt for rent on several occasions at this point.

2017-02-20 17-32 – Telephone Conversation – Agostino Cerino and Paul Bosch (12894892913 In)

An hour and some minutes later, I called Agostino back to let him know what was going on and to make him aware that he and others would be recorded while in our unit. Agostino states “That’s fine, I got nothing to hide.” (1:45 in the recording below). Agostino also says we should have disclosed the video surviellance (in our apartment) in advance. He’s wrong about that. There is no legal requirement to tell anyone that they are under video surveillance while they are in your home. Or audio, for that matter. When I say “your brother has told quite a number of lies”, Agostino replies “I know that”. At this point, I believe Agostino was doing his best to deal with the complications his brother was creating. Agostino doesn’t start acting like a sleazy slumlord until later in this story.

2017-02-20 18-51 – Telephone Conversation – Agostino Cerino and Paul Bosch (2894892913 Out)

All of this appears to be a deliberate attempt by John to avoid disclosure by the date specified in the Interim Order written after the Case Management Hearing on January 23, 2017. It didn’t work. I delivered a copy of our disclosure to Richard Pollington, our landlords’ agent. Richard was openly hostile and derogatory, and one of his roomates Larry (also a caretaker of our landlords’ building) advised me to “throw it in the garbage because you’re being evicted anyway”.  This was the beginning of our landlord’s attempts to make the necessary steps in an LTB application as legally and personally hazardous and unpleasant as possible.

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