This is a letter a local person sent to a fellow tenant who was being evicted. Afterwards I will tell you what happened
August 11, 2001
Dear Mr. Hendley:
I met you in physiotherapy and have not seen you in quite some time. I am concerned about your wellbeing and if you still have your apartment. I hope I have gotten your name correct as it was some time ago and we only spoke a few times.
Back at the beginning of June, you told me how your landlord was refusing your rent payment and wanted you out. I told you this was not legal and your first step should be to write a letter to the landlord about his refusal to accept the rent to put this actions on the record. If an attempt to evict you ever got to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, it woudl be your word against his, and a letter would record his actions. I also told you about Parkdale Community Legal Services.
Two weeks later I saw you again and you were quite happy that you felt the legal clinic had taken care of everything.
I was appalled by the actions of the clinic when you told me that instead of writing a letter to the landlord, they signed you up for some group. It is standard legal practice to write to the landlord to prevent illegal actions from continuing or being carried out, and I consider it unprofessional for them not to have done so.
It was only in mid-July, that I noticed your absence and have hoped I would run into you on King Street, but I have not.
You said you wanted to keep that apartment and it would be very difficult to find another one you could afford, so I am very concerned that you may have moved out.
Please give me a call to let me know how you are doing and if there is anything I can do to help you if you are still having problems with your landlord or if you lost your housing.
Mr. Hendley, was a frail senior on a very small pension, and Mrs. Hendley was disabled and a shut in who never left their apartment. Mr. Hendley could not afford a car and so took the TTC to get everywhere.
What happened was that Parkdale Community Legal Services, rather than helping them, signed them up in the legal aid clinic for a membership to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations and collected $15 for them, telling Mr. Hendley that no landlord would dare to evict any member of that group. They did not provide him with any legal assistance, saying his problems were solved with his paid FMTA membership.
This is not an isolated case. Parkdale Legal was known for taking money from poor tenants to sign them up for memberships in this group. Other clinics have done this too. Kristina Brousalis, (a former FMTA employee and then board member,) who was Tenant Duty Counsel at the St. Clair Avenue West Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal office did the same, for which she was transferred out.
The result was the Hendleys were illegally evicted and could not find affordable housing in Toronto. They moved to outside of Port Hope, where Mr. Hendley was forced to ride a bicycle over the hilly roads to pick up supplies for himself and his disabled wife. I suspect they endured great hardships during the winter, since Mr. Hendley could not afford a car.
Carol Kiley of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, now the Landlord and Tenant Board, says there are more evictions in Toronto due to people relying on the advice and "help" of the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations than due to any single bad landlord in Toronto.
Go back to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations Story