The disclosure made to our landlord included the recorded videos of him agreeing to a rent abatement to compensate us for the increased use of electricity for running the space heaters, as well as photographs of numerous repairs needed. That, plus the compliance orders, made our case for repairs a good one. The LTB accepts compliance orders as findings of fact; in other words, the compliance orders were proof of John’s non-compliance with maintenance standards.

Tuesday February 21, 2017 – Agostino served us with another Notice of Entry (Doc 063):

Doc 063 – 2017-02-21 – Notice of Entry.jpg

This notice is very vague, so my roomate called Agostino right after it had been served. Agostino said he would be working on the back door of the apartment. He did not mention that he would be bringing John along (and later said he hadn’t planned on bringing John, John just showed up).

Wednesday February 22, 2017 – John knocked on the door at about 10:00 am. The notice had specified entry at 11 am, and Marie had a migraine headache so she told him to come back in an hour without opening the door. She did not know John had come to collect the rent, he never said so and he had been asked to make an appointment to collect rent (and accept disclosure for our LTB applications) in our letter of February 17, 2017 (Doc 062).

At about 11:20 am, Agostino arrived and knocked on the door. When Marie opened the door, Agostino told her he was getting his tools together to start on the repair of the back door. Marie told him when he needed to come in to come in, without knocking. A few minutes later, Agostino came through the door without knocking, followed by John. John had a camera and wanted to take pictures of the entire apartment. My roomate asked John what was going on and he asked in an aggressive manner “Are you denying me entry” and kept repeating it, talking over her when I tried to speak. It came to the point where Marie looked at Agostino and asked “Are you seeing this?” She told John “Repairs only” and had to yell over him to be heard. John left, then came back to knock on the door. Marie began recording the conversation, as this was John’s third attempt to antagonize her (AR 19).

A transcript follows (Doc 064):

Marie: Yeah
{Door opens, John and Richard Pollington walk into the apartment}
Marie: John it specifically has been said…
John {talking over Marie} {indistinct} … Richard … {indistinct} I was at…I was doing a repair on your place…I would like to take a picture of the door.
Marie: Closed.
John: Can I take a picture of the door?
Marie: Closed. ‘Cause you were supposed to…
John {talking over Marie}: I just asked Can I take a picture of the door?
Marie: Closed. You’re not opening them. I have underwear and everything else on my bed.
Jonh {talking over Marie}: I have to take picture of the window inside the room.
Marie: No! Because that was not…
John {talking over Marie}: Can I take some of those?
Marie: No. Because that was not listed for today…
John {talking over Marie}: Not a problem. She’s denying me access.
Marie: You…LISTEN!
John {dismissive tone}: I got work to do.
Marie: No! You’re not even letting me speak.
John: We don’t need to listen to you.
Marie: yes, you do. You did not say you were going in our bedrooms…nothing. We were told the back doors would be worked on…
John {talking over Marie} : Hi Richard, how are you today?
Marie: We are entitled to some privacy.
John {to Richard}: Here.
Marie: I have underwear and bras and everything else…
John {talking over Marie} I’m not…
Marie: ‘cause I was folding laundry in my bedroom.
John {talking over Marie} Good for you. Good for you.
Marie: I am allowed some privacy.
John {talking over Marie}: Good for you…have a nice day.

1:03

Marie: Yeah. Have a nice day…because you don’t even know the rights of the tenant.
John {talking over Marie}: Here you go Richard. Can you hold onto this?
Marie: If you’re going to be in the bedrooms, you are supposed to specify…
John {talking over Marie}: {indistinct}…while I’m trying to work. You’re disturbing my work.
Marie: {sighs} Good. Noted…because you’re sitting there thinking you have run…uh…you get to run roughshod in the apartment…that we have no rights.
Richard {to John}: Got enough light?
Marie: You’re supposed to be fixing…
John: {indistinct, talking over Marie}
Marie: …not taking pictures.
John: I’m doing…
Marie {talking over John}: That’s not covered in the 24 hour notice.
John: Good. Have a nice day. I will do the best I can with {indistinct}. Come here Richard.
Marie: Good.
John {to Richard}: Hold this light here. Okay….remember she’s denying me access, okay?
Marie: Yeah. Because you didn’t ask for access to any of that {in reference to the bedrooms}.
John: Yeah, right. {to Richard} You’re aiming at the wrong spot, of course. Aim it in the middle.
Richard: {indistinct}
John {to Richard, in a demanding tone}: Remember, both bedrooms, okay? You can’t even aim at a fucking door. That’s the door. I’m taking a picture of the door.
Richard: Okay.
John {snarling}: Thank you.
Richard: You want it right there?

2:02

John: The door. Up a bit….up….okay…down to where the handle is…okay. All right, we gotta take a minute to change the batteries…I got batteries here.
{rustling sounds, John begins humming to himself}
John: Okay…
Richard: {indistinct} batteries right there.
John: ‘kay….That…open the pocket….{begins humming to himself}….lovely day today. It’s great!…so far{insolent tone}
Richard: Not bad.
John: Not bad, eh? Beautiful outside today.
Richard: I’ll be sitting out. {indistinct}…it’s hot.
John: Yeah, I know. It’s the smell…{indistinct}
Richard: {coughs}
John: I know, it smells like this all the time.

3:04

Marie: Yeah right, whatever. Make as many nasty comments as you want.
John {talking over Marie} I’m talking to him, do you mind?
Marie: Yeah, I’m sitting in the living room…
John {talking over Marie} Was I talking to you?
Marie: …and you’re talking…
John {talking over Marie, insolent tone}: Was I talking to you? I wasn’t talking to you.
Marie: …about me and I’m in the room. Doesn’t matter. I don’t have to put up with it.
John: Please partake in your own conversation, I’m talking to him.
John: {giggles}
Marie: It’s pretty funny you think you have the right to run roughshod.
John: {giggles over Marie talking and makes flapping gestures with one hand}
John {insolent tone}: Oh dear!
Marie: No I’m not funny I’m serious.
John: {mocking laugher}
John: Okay…batteries….yup….flashlight…where’s my brother?
John {shouting} Hey Auggie?
Agostino {faintly} Yeah?
John {shouting}: Do you have a light on you? One of the plug in portable lights?
Agostino {faintly}: Plug in portable lights? No, I don’t have a plug in portable light.
John: Yeah…yeah…’cause I need to take a better picture if I can. She’s denying me access to the room.

4:05

Marie: Yeah, ‘cause you didn’t say….
John {talking over Marie}: I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to him.
Marie: I don’t care.
John: Please stay out of my conversation.
Marie: Then have it somewhere else.
John: I can’t. I talk when I’m working.
Marie: Then go talk to him in there.
John: I am talking to him. Shut up, I’m talking to him.
Marie: I don’t have to shut up.
John {insolent tone}: You’re right, you don’t have to.
Marie: This is an apartment I pay rent for, I don’t have to shut up.
John {mocking tone} La, la, la, la, la, la
Marie {talking over John}: You need to learn some manners.
John: You’re right. La, la, la, la….
Marie: Yeah, you do.
John: la, la, la
Marie: You are ignorant.
John: You’re right!
Marie: Yeah, you are. And it’s going to come across quite nicely in court.
John {to someone else}: Did you hear that? She called me ignorant.
Marie: It’s going to come across quite nicely in court because guess what? Tenants don’t have to put up with ignorant attitudes.
John {talking over Marie}: You’re right!…you’re right! And landlords don’t have to put up with denial of access to an apartment…
Marie {talking over John}: You didn’t even serve access. You served to do repairs, not to take pictures. That is something totally different and yes, you have to be specific.
John {talking over Marie}: {indisnct} …pictures…that’s good.

5:08

John: I’m specific, I’m doing work here.
Marie: That’s not work. Taking pictures is not work.
John {talking over Marie} That’s work.
Marie: Taking pictures is not work, that is not repairs.
John {talking over Marie}: {indistinct}…we’ll discuss that when we get there.
Marie: Yeah, we will.
John: Kay? A photographer doesn’t get paid for a living does he not work?
Marie: You’re not a photographer.
John: I know, you’re right, but if he doesn’t get paid that’s not work.
Marie: You’re not a photographer, these aren’t repairs.
John: {indistinct}…the door. Did we replace this door? {shouting} Auggie?
Marie: Yes it was replaced.
John {to Agostino}: Did we replace this door here too?
Agostino: Which door?
John: The one over here.
Agostino: Yes, I did.
John {talking over Agostino} This ignorant person is trying to talk over me, I can’t hear you.
Agostino: Yes, I did.
John: One with no manners…is talking over me…. Do you know that person?
John: What else did you do here?

6:02

Agostino: The catches in the bathroom window…
John: Here?
Agostino: Yeah.
John: Okay…{indistinct}
{rustling sounds}
John: Bathroom window….make sure there’s no underwear.
Agostino: John, stop.
John {in an innocent tone}: I have to make sure because she’s upset. No catches on this?….no catches…
Marie: {inarticulate strangled sounds}
John: Okay…we’re in the kitchen….excuse me. {To Marie} Notice I said excuse me with you here?
John: Okay, I need to take a picture of the inside of the fridge for the…
Agostino {to Marie}: Is that okay?
Marie: Yeah.
John: Meh. This here…
Agostino: Is there a date on it?
John: That’s what I’m looking for.
Agostino {to Marie}: We got a replacement for it downstairs, Marie, but it’s a little smaller.
Marie: I don’t care.
John: She says that now.

7:00

Marie: John, stop with the nasty comments.
John: I’m talking to my brother, do you mind? I was talking…
Marie {talking over John}: With me sitting right here.
John:…to my brother. You can go in the other room if you like.
Marie: {indistinct} …work.
John: You don’t have to listen. I’m here to do work on the….
Agostino {interrupting John} : {indistinct} there, please?
John {to Richard}: I will once I write the numbers down. Come here and hold my camera. For the next fifteen minutes just listen to me. Hold my camera. I took a picture and it was fuzzy and I want to make sure it’s okay. So I write the numbers down and I figure out the power rating….and figure out the stupidity that they’re trying to do…
Marie: {Sighs in frustration}
John: Okay.
{indistinct noises}
John {talking to himself}: Model number L…one…six…jay….why…ahr….ahr….doubleyou…dash one….

8:00

John: Camco….type ell, one, six, jay
John: Camco….type ell, one, six, jay…three point five amps….that’s low amps….that’s very efficient
Agostino: Three point five?
John: Slash six….model….and serial number….tee, aitch, three, two, seven, six, six, seven…okay
Agostino: kay. Replaced the stove. {To Marie} You okay with that?
Marie: yup.
John: I’m going to take a picture of the stove. I don’t care if she’s okay with that.
Agostino: {indistinct} nasty {indistinct}

9:00

John: Just hold on. Hold on. {indistinct} …take a picture of the fridge. It’s a nice fridge.
Agostino The work I did is here.
John: I want to take a picture of that first. I just want to change the batteries…yeah….watch…okay
Agostino: You should be documenting the windows and that we did replace the door.
John: kay…hold back….hold back…hold back….okay…the make is Camco
John: That’s done, what else to do? Anything else?
Agostino: I’m working on a door now.
John: Okay.

10:03

John: I’ll be back tomorrow to take more pictures. Make sure you put that in the notice.
Agostino: Okay.
John: I’m back with you, and we’ll be doing more pictures and…I’ll be looking at other things too. I want to go back to that bedroom because I didn’t get pictures of that door.
Agostino: Okay.
John: Okay. Or I can take them tomorrow, it doesn’t matter.
Agostino: Take them tomorrow. {To Marie} Is it okay tomorrow?
Marie: Fine. When I know, when I can be prepared.
John {talking over Marie}: Tomorrow….tomorrow I’ll be here… I’ll going through every single room…every single room, looking at all the work…
Marie: Give proper notice.
John: Write it down. We’ll be going through every single … {To Marie} you got the notice from me. Let me get Richard up so he can verify…
Marie: No. I want it on paper, seeing as you have an issue…
John {talking over Marie}: Oh you will, you’re getting it verbally. Just so I know.
{John Leaves}
Marie {to Agostino}: I’m sorry, he’s one ignorant ass. That is not a repair, and to go by the tenant…he is supposed to specify that. Not…
Agostino: What?
Marie: That he’s coming into all the rooms. That’s not…

11:00

Agostino: I thought he had an appointment to come here and see you?
Marie: No. He didn’t make an appointment. All we heard was that Wednesday. We asked for a specific time.
Agostino: He didn’t day Wednesday?
Marie: Just Wednesday. General.
Agostino: That’s what you said to.
Marie: We wanted a specific time. We’ve asked for a specific time in that letter. You know, the stupid foolish one?

Please note John’s antagonistic words and tone, his mocking noises (and gestures, which aren’t shown in the audio recording), his taking eight minutes to change a battery in the camera and using the time to provoke and antagonize, his constantly talking over my roommate, his comments directed at Agostino but intended for her ears (and at one point he interrupts Agostino to complain about being interrupted) and his bullying tone and attitude. Keep in mind that John was in our home at the time. We do not tolerate bullies in our home. John is a bully.

Also note that at no time does Marie ask John to leave (there was some confusion on that point until later), nor did he leave. His later statements that he was denied access to the unit were falsehoods. Nowhere in the notice is an inspection mentioned, nor photographs. (And it isn’t a requirement under the RTA to notify a tenant that photographs will be taken. But it is strongly recommended, based on case law, and John’s Notice of Entry was clearly deficient for the purposes he wanted.)

After John left, he came back in a few minutes with Richard. Marie also recorded that conversation (AR 20).

A transcript follows (Doc 65):

{knocking}
Marie: Yup
John: Okay Richard, you’re my witness. I’ll be here tomorrow…
Marie: What time?
John: …to go through everything. To go through every room.
Marie: What time?
John: When my partner shows up, on the same notice.
Marie: What time?
John: Somewhere between nine and four. And uh…it’ll be written on a piece of paper, and, uh…I’ll be inspecting every room, taking pictures of every room, so please have your…
Marie: They will be ready now that we have notice.
John {talking over Marie}: In the morning? In the morning?
John {to Agostino}: So now that she has notice, we’re going to write on some paper and hand it to her, okay? Make sure you hand it to her.
Richard: Yeah.
John: All right? Thank you.
John {demanding tone}: Uh, excuse me is my rent here today?
Marie: Uh, you were supposed to arrange a time to some pick that up, not just stop by.
John: {indistinct as Marie is speaking}
Marie: We have to pick that up from a third party…
John: I thought I’d ask…
Marie: …like you’ve been told for the fourth time.
John: I thought I would ask, okay?
Marie: You were told in the letter to arrange a time.
John {speaking over Marie}: Somebody asked, somebody asked…
Marie: You were told in the letter to arrange a time.
John {speaking over Marie}: Somebody asked to come down today, somebody called me on the phone.
Marie: No. You said Wednesday. We asked for a time.
John Leaves.
Marie: {sigh}

There is no requirement for a “witness” to deliver a verbal notice of entry. That’s because a notice of entry can’t be verbal; the RTA requires written notice. I believe the whole point of this conversation was to make Richard believe that we were trying to skip out on rent, and to further antagonize my roomate. It half worked. After February 22, 2017 Richard was convinced we were professional tenants, and would occasionally express his disgust for “freeloaders”, “welfare bums” and “white trash” like us.

After John and Richard left, my roomate was very upset and police were called. I arrived home at about the same time.

As police arrived, Agostino handed me another notice (Doc 066) and said “Don’t worry, we won’t be doing this. We won’t be coming in.” Then he left.

Doc 066 – 2017-02-22 – Notice of Entry.jpg

The “Notice of Entry” Agostino handed me isn’t a valid notice of entry.

The Occurrence Details Report, General Report and Officer’s Notes about the incident are (Doc 67)

If you’ve listened carefully to the audio recordings (or read the transcripts), you’ll see that the officer who wrote that report got details wrong. That is characteristic of HPS (too many of them, in my opinion). You’ll see a number of occurrence reports in this blog where the reported details do not match our statements (which I’ve also recorded). I suspect this is because the police simply don’t have time to investigate what seemed like a routine landlord/tenant dispute. Even with a recording of the conversation, the officer gets details wrong. Marie, for example, never told John she was “drying her underwear”. My roomate was upset when the officer was there, but made it clear to him that this was the third time John had attempted to antagonize her that day, and that she had a migraine. There is no mention of that in the report, unless it was redacted for my FoI response.

When the police had left, we called Agostino (AR 21).

In this conversation, Agostino confirms that we can “ignore” the Notice of Entry for February 23, 2017. When I asked him to clarify his meaning, he replies “If you don’t want him in your place, just say no.” At this time, we believed Agostino to be a co-landlord.

When I tell Agostino that John’s actions have made us feel unsafe in our home, he replies that John is rude and crude, but not violent. Around nine minutes into the conversation he says “If I start doing things that look like they might be in your favour, John will think I’m going against him, and I can’t do that. You understand that?” Agostino’s tone when he says that makes me think he’s afraid of John. At 11 minutes into the conversation, I make Agostino aware that we wanted rent receipts when we paid rent, not days later. Agostino agrees. I also let him know the correct amount to collect, which was also in the letter given to our landlord on February 18, 2017 (Doc 062).

February 23, 2017 – The next morning, I called John to tell him not to come that day. He hung up in the middle of the call (AR 22).

So I called back. John answers, told me not to call him again on this number, to put it in writing, and then hung up again (AR 23).

So, I put it in writing and gave Richard Pollington a letter for our landlord (Doc 068).

23 February 2017

On February 22, 2017 you (John Cerino) bullied your way into our unit on the pretext that you were doing repairs. While Agostino had given the required 24 hours notice, he stated that the repairs done were to be to the back door. You entered, and demanded to take photographs of the bedroom doors, and demanded access to the bedroom to take photographs of the windows (calling your photography “repairs”). You did so over Ms Ball’s objections, and were deliberately provocative and rude while doing so. You continued to be rude, confrontational and abusive while photographing the refrigerator, even telling Ms Ball to shut up and leave the room (in her own apartment!). You then informed her that you would be returning the next day to “look at everything”, including closet spaces and gave written notice to that effect (see attached copy of your notice).

Mr Cerino, the interim order made by the LTB after our case management hearing on 23 January 2017 (File Number SOT-77864-17-IN, dated 24 January, 2017) clearly states that the issue of the bedroom doors has been resolved, as we agreed that it had in the case management meeting. There was no reason for you to demand pictures of those doors at this time. As for the bedroom windows, the only work done has been to install lifts and add a second (and functioning) lock to them. We have acknowledged this on a number of occasions, including in the videos given to you as disclosure in our ongoing LTB applications against you. There was no reason to demand entry into the bedrooms, particularly not immediate entry after Ms Ball’s objections to your not giving her time to remove personal items from view.

As well, your overt bullying of, and swearing at, your caretaker Richard was extremely offensive.

Mr Cerino, there were photographs of the exterior of the refrigerator and the specifications plate located inside the refrigerator included in the disclosure. You had no reason to photograph the refrigerator or the bedrooms and were using the photographs as an excuse to continue your pattern of harassment and retaliation against us for exercising our rights as tenants.

As you were made aware during our meeting on 17 September 2015, Ms Ball suffers from mental illness. Specifically, she has been diagnosed with {REDACTED}. Your conduct and behavior seems calculated to provoke loss of control, and has become a threat to her mental health.

After your attempt to bully Ms Ball, the police were called. Const Sandhu (Badge #1213) responded to the complaint. After he listened to the recording of your encounter with Ms Ball, he informed us that he would speak with you and “strongly advise” that future repairs be done by Agostino. He also advised us to refuse entry to you, and to notify police immediately if you tried to enter in the future.

As a result of your harassment and retaliation, we will be filing another T2 application with the LTB. As of today, February 23, 2017, you will be refused entry to our unit should you try to enter. Your brother has told us to ignore your notice for today.

Just to clarify, Mr Cerino, we are refusing entry to you (John Cerino), not your brother (Agostino Cerino). Your brother has been reasonable throughout this affair, but has been unable to control your behavior. Agostino is welcome in our home to do repairs. You are not. You have stated on numerous occasions that Agostino does “all the repairs”, and you have not had any part of the few repairs that have been done in our unit to this point, so there should be no hardship in you staying out of our home.

Going forward you will not communicate with Ms Ball in any way. You are to contact Mr Bosch for any matter involving our applications with the LTB and any other actions brought against you as a result of your behavior.

Sincerely;

Paul Bosch

The letter is quite clear about Marie asking for an accommodation for her mental illness and our objections to John’s behavior.

Marie also called Agostino to let him know what was going on (AR 24). This conversation in this recording is essential to understanding the situation.

In the first part of the conversation, she lets him know that there will be video cameras pointed at John if he enters our home. Agostino says “just don’t let him in any more”. My roomate also asks Agostino to clarify whether or not he is a landlord. Agostino’s answer is confusing but it seems he has the duties of a property manager and ownership interest in the building.

In the last five minutes of the conversation, Agostino has a lot to say about his brother’s character and business ethics.

Marie’s version of events is here (Doc 069):

Statement of Marie Ball concerning “Refusal of Access” dated 26 February 2017

On Wed 22 February 2017 in the morning around 10 am I heard a knock at my door. I asked who it was, and the voice replied “john”, and I replied “Nope, I’m not dealing with you. Good bye.”, and I did not open the door. The 24 hour notice given two days before had said Agostino would be coming between 11 am and 4 pm. Agostino and I had talked at the time the notice was delivered that he would be working on the back door, and there was no mention of him being in any other part of the unit, or of John coming with him.

At about 11:20 am, Agostino arrived and knocked on the door. When I opened the door, he told me he was getting his tools together to start on the repair of the back door. I told him when he needed to come in to come in, without knocking. A few minutes later, Agostino came through the door without knocking, followed by John. I asked John what was going on and he started with “Are you denying me entry” and kept repeating it, talking over me when I tried to speak. It came to the point where I looked at Agostino and asked “Are you seeing this?” I told John “Repairs only” and had to yell over him to be heard. John left, then came back to knock on my door.

Transcript of 2017-02-22 – John Forcing Pics and Claiming They Are Repairs begins here.

When I opened the door, I tried to speak to tell him that he had not specified he wanted access to all rooms. 

After his first visit, John came back.

Transcript of 2017-02-22 – More of John begins here.

After John had left, I called the Hamilton police non-emergency number at 11:53 am to make a complaint. Constable Sandhu (Badge # 1213, Incident # 17-54332). After listening to the recording {AR 19} Const Sandhu told me he would strongly suggest to John that Agostino do the repairs from now on, and that if John comes back to not admit John to the unit again and call police if he wouldn’t leave.

Early the next morning my roomate Paul called John to tell him not to come to the unit, and John said he was coming anyway. Paul told him not to and John hung up.

We both called Agostino and asked him to keep his brother away and the reasons why John’s behavior were becoming a threat to my mental health. Agostino told us both that John would not be coming.

Marie Ball

March 2017

Thursday February 23, 2017 – Marie spent the day at home. When I spoke to her in the evening, she was upset and asked me for a few days to deal with ‘John’s shit’ (as she put it).

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