Finally, we got our day in court (Doc 307) (or so we thought at the time). This was a merits hearing for SOT-77864-17, the T2 Application About Tenant Rights that I’d filed in early January 2017 at the advice of a lawyer from the Hamilton Legal Clinic.
I’ve removed other matters from the hearing recording supplied by the LTB, added a timer in the upper right corner showing the member’s time spent on our matters, and a background identifying the particulars of the hearing. I’ll keep a running tally of the resources expended on this mess as I go along. The whole thing is here (Vid 90):
John was on the property at East Ave South for most of the morning. There were occasional screams, and when John saw me outside he made a few comments meant for me to overhear. I did not document his exact words in my notes, other than John commenting to Richard “That’s the nature of the beast” (It means “tenants take advantage of landlords”).
Our day in court started with John sitting in the hearing room with Agostino. As we were waiting for the hearing to start, John caught my eye, smirked, then picked his nose and ate it. This was the first of many times he’d use this particular technique to create a visceral reaction of disgust, hoping to exploit his victim’s reaction. I suspect it is one of his favorite gaslighting techniques. It just amused me in an odd way. It’s a bit weird to watch behavior most people outgrow by the age of three in a man in his sixties.
About ten minutes later, John was apparently thirsty so he walked to the front of the hearing room (while a hearing was in progress) and helped himself to a cup of water from the commissionaires’ table. John didn’t ask, he just helped himself. The commissionaire seated at the table was a bit nonplussed but didn’t stop him.
The hearing began with Sean Henry hearing our T2 Application, SOT-77864-17. I had filed this application on the advice of a lawyer from the Hamilton Legal Clinic who told me that if I “wanted action any time in the next year” I should file the lack of heat as a T2, not a T6. That turned out to be bad advice.
The T2 was dismissed (with consent of the tenants) because the issues were more properly covered in the T6 Application (SOT-77620-16) (Timer at 00:19:00 to 00:21:00 in Vid 90 above).
Sean Henry did comment that he sees “a lot of plastic bags” when speaking to John. This was the first of many times John would come to LTB merit hearings with three or four plastic one-use grocery bags full of scraps of paper. There was no hint of any organization to any of it.
At the end of the hearing, Member Henry commented that we had not been served well by the CMH not distinguishing between the T2 and the T6. (Timer at 00:21:00-00:21:10 in Vid 90) I agree with that (knowing now what I didn’t know then). If it were happening today, I wouldn’t have filed the T2 (or the T7).
On the other hand, it only took 22 minutes of hearing time to sort that out.
The T7 was withdrawn with consent (John had disclosed the information I wanted most out of that). That took 12 minutes of hearing time, most of it educational for me (and, I suspect, Member Henry. T7 applications are uncommon. I had misunderstood the definition of a suite meter.) (Timer at 00:22:34 to 00:34:50 in Vid 90 above)
Then, on to the T6 Application, SOT-77620-16, which hadn’t (as far as I know) been scheduled to be heard that day. (Starting with timer at 00:35:00 in Vid 90 above) Some highlights include Sean Henry wanting hard copy of photographs (That surprised me. I’d seen other members accept photos on cell phones as evidence during a hearing – around 00:41:42 on the timer) John cackling out loud and Member Henry offering to adjourn while John got control of himself (starting at 46:30 on the timer in Vid 90). Somehow John’s laugh wasn’t recorded), Member Henry recessing the hearing (and dealing with other matters) so I could try to reorganize the paperwork I’d prepared for a T2 application into the format he wanted for the T6 application (starting around 00:48:07 in Vid 90), John claiming a video of the shower showing the low water pressure “could be staged” (around 00:55:20 on the timer) he left his copy of the work order in our apartment when asked for it (around 01:01:50 on the timer in Vid 90), and around 01:29:00 on the timer), John tried to raise the issue of unpaid rent. That didn’t fly and Member Henry was quite abrupt with the attempt. (Rightly so. If John thinks he was owed rent, the correct procedure is to file an N4, and if the rent is not paid by the termination date, file an L1 Application. John was trying a short cut.)
So, after we’d presented our evidence in chief, John’s cross examination began around 01:35:30 on the timer. John had a little trouble with the concept of a question (he makes speeches instead) and after Member Henry’s pitch for mediation (starting around 01:46:30 on the timer), John states that we “a week and a half ago…refused me into the unit to do the work” (around 01:51:20 on the timer). John also states that he has offered some relief on the rent in connection to the increased use of electricity by the space heaters. He doesn’t mention that he’d already tried to renege on the deal, and had not followed through on his promise to put the agreement in writing. John resumes his cross examination (at 01:58:25 on the timer) by asking me if I still worked for Active Energy (I guess he never read my other blog). When I answered no, John tries to find out my income. John was worried about how we’d pay the rent.
That’s absolutely none of a landlord’s business.
The hearing was adjourned to the next available date, with Member Henry telling us that John would resume his cross examination when the matter returned.
On the way out of the building, John came up behind me and spat on the back of my head. I almost responded, but didn’t. John Cerino has the ability to spit without moving his face or head at all, or making any sound.
After the hearing, my roomate called Agostino to try and make arrangements to pay the rent. She was getting frustrated at the games our landlord was playing (AR 34). There is discussion about the unpaid rent (and the dispute as to the amount) from February. The Marie tells Agostino the history of our attempts to pay rent for March. Agostino suggests we call John. Marie agrees. There is some discussion about LTB Member Sean Henry by Agostino. Then Marie explains again that we wanted two separate rent receipts. There is discussion of the issues paying rent and maintenance issues, as well as discussion of the difficulties in working with John. Agostino mentions that he had received complaints from Richard about lack of heat all last winter.
At 18:25, Agostino called back. My roomate did not answer the call. He left a message asking if we’d like to pay the rent for March. Since Marie had just spent 20 minutes on the phone on that same subject, she didn’t call back.
At 18:55 Richard called and left a message (AR 36), asking us to come down and pay the rent.
Apparently, this bunch never let one another know what’s going on.
The rent didn’t get paid today.