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Can a Landlord Charge Us with Past Tenants Bills? 

AbstractAngel
AbstractAngel
Posts: 2


Posted On: 27 days ago
AbstractAngel
AbstractAngel
Posts: 2
Hello! :)
So, really, I have two and a half questions:
  • Can a Landlord charge us for bills the past tenant didn't pay, and if so, don't they have to provide us with documentation?
  • If I feel like my landlord is trying to push me to move, is there anything I can do to repair that relationship?

Backstory:
So, when we moved into our rental unit Jan 2015, and in Jan 2015 they cut off our hot water. We had just set up an account with them, and someone even came by to inspect... and then cut us off). Now, we went to our landlord who seemed perplexed and offered to help sort it out. Eventually, they sorted it out, and we met them half way (there was a B-Vent that needed to be repaired on the roof that was damaged before we moved in, resulting in them cutting off our hot water until it was either fixed or we switched out the system we had in our place, which came out of our pockets because the landlord wouldn't fix the vent on the roof, we got advice here, actually).
About two months later, we get a letter from our landlord stating we hadn't paid our bill from August 2014 to December 2014, and that we were in arrears, they paid for us (without talking to us whatsoever), and if we didn't pay them they'd take it out of our rent. We kept pointing out the fact that we hadn't moved in until January 2015, and the overdue amount was for the previous tenants (who were apparently evicted, eventually by the police for non-pay). We asked them for invoices: which we never received. We gave them our own invoices and bank statements: which didn't stop the letters. There was a lot of back and forth (because we had to try to contact Union Gas who wouldn't give us the information pre Jan 2015 because... it wasn't in our name, but they did confirm OUR account had never been in arrears). Finally, somehow, the letters stopped, and thankfully, we never received a charge.
Fast forward to spring. They took our second parking spot away from us that was promised (and paid for monthly) since we moved in, and we have to park down the street even now. They were in the middle of construction when we moved in and we were told by the guy who rented to us in that in the spring we'd get our new spaces. We sucked it up, only to be told once everything was fixed in the parking lot that "he lied" (yes, we have that in writing), he no longer works there, and now we have to park several blocks away in whatever random spot we find: and we're still paying for an additional parking spot to do so. Oh well, not a big deal: clearly a misunderstanding.
When we moved in there were also some maintenance issues (back yard outlet is dangling, shower plug remains on so can't have a bath, railing is rusted and dangling halfway off, other side the railing looks like it had been pulled out), and we filled out a maintenance request (a few times), and eventually paid out of pocket ourselves to get the shower fixed and are still waiting to get the back outlet and steps fixed. A little irritating but we just avoid the back yard with guests. No biggy.
Fast forward to this week. We get an angry letter from our landlord asking us to pay for Horizon Utilities bill $300, that again, they paid for (without talking to us whatsoever), and will charge us if we don't pay them. We are with Horizon, are account is not in arrears. We reply to them with a copy of our invoice showing we're not in arrears (like we did previously with Reliance) and they, again, won't provide us with invoicing on their end, but reiterate that they'll have to charge us.
It's getting more than a little frustrating, especially since they call us every couple of weeks and offer us money to leave (we got in at a good time and now they are renting the same units for about $500/month more than we currently pay), and when we ask about our maintenance request we're told "we'll note that and get back to you" only to "get back to us" with the same offer of paying us to get out and no updates on our maintenance request.
We've never been late on rent, we've never had a neighbour complaint against us (our neighbours are all very nice, in fact), we're clean and keep the noise down, and so I don't know where all of this is coming from. It started when we moved in and crops up every few months. It's almost as if they want us to be feel so uncomfortable we want to leave. I'm 8 months pregnant, I'd rather not go looking for a new place, but I'd also not like to be charged for previous tenants (we've gotten enough of their mail and people poking around asking for money). It feels like every time we think things have settled down there’s a new fresh problem they want to throw at us.
Is this common to find when you move in after someone who's been a bad tenant? Are they just doing this automatically per common practice and we just feel like we’re being pushed around for no reason? We never had any problems like this at our previous place, and we were there for 6 years. I don't even know what category this would fall under if I was to claim it with LTB, and do I really want to do that and cause further tensions between us and the landlord? It feels really wrong to do that unless they are doing things that are completely illegal, and what they're doing so far is albeit very aggravating, but not illegal.
Any help or insight you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I just want this to go away!
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Moderator
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2029


Posted On: 20 days ago
Moderator
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2029
Hello,

Thank you for sharing your situation and question with us.

We can appreciate that you would be very concerned about this situation.

It is best that you contact the nearest Community Legal Clinic for some advice and assistance with your situation.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions and if there is any follow up to your question/situation.

=====
Anna
Settlement.Org Content and Information/Referral Specialist, CIRS
Settlement.Org
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