Twenty-eight-year-old Nancy Matta is still in disbelief.
Until Sunday, a tenant was living in the condo she’s owned in Montreal’s West Island since 2017. His presence came to an abrupt and frightening end.
“I’ve heard of horror stories like that, but I never believed that would happen to me,” she told Global News.
Matta claims her tenant left without warning and robbed her in the process.
According to Matta, the nightmare began in March of 2020 when she rented the home to a man in his 30s or 40s. The rental included five brand new appliances she owns.
“I took him out of pity. He told me he was getting out of a divorce and he had to move in right away,” she told Global News.
“We said, ‘This is a good guy, he seems like a good person, why do a background check on him?’” said Matta’s husband Emile Beaudry.
The trouble started almost immediately.
“I would get complaints all the time,” said Matta.
Four different tenants who spoke to Global News but did not want to appear on camera said they had problems with the tenant in question. One said she called the police to complain because he was regularly having parties during COVID. Another claimed he stole Amazon packages from the front lobby.
“I lost a baby in the process of all this, caused by all the stress,” she said, recounting a miscarriage in January that happened days after a hearing at Quebec’s Rental Board.
She tried twice to have him evicted before the board, but lost both times. She says the tenant did not even show up to the hearings, but that she made a mistake and did not bring a document that was required.
Matta claims the tenant has now missed four consecutive rent payments, failing to pay for January, February, March and April. On Sunday the situation came to a head.
Without any advanced notice the man hired movers and left. The moving truck was set up in the parking lot of an adjacent building, and the movers took the condo’s contents over a fence, damaging it and a tree.
Matta says in broad daylight, the tenant stole all of her appliances. The washer, dryer, fridge, stove and dishwasher are all gone.
“The cops showed up, they opened the door and my heart was broken,” she said.
When confronted with the theft, she says the tenant claimed she sold him all the appliances.
“That’s absolutely false,” she said. “I haven’t received a penny from him.”
Police confirmed to Global News a report has been filed for theft over $6,000, and that they are investigating.
“We have so many examples of these situations,” said Hans Brouillette of Quebec’s Landlord Corporation (CORPIQ).
Brouillette says some landlords are too quick to trust tenants based on a “good feeling.’
“It’s very important to do a complete screening, which doesn’t mean only the credit record, but also criminal record, civil court decisions and also to see if the previous landlords were happy with the behaviour of this person,” he said.
Brouillette advises seeking advice from CORPIQ before going in front of a judge at the rental board alone. He said in an effort to reduce the amount of cases before the board, the government recently implemented changes to document requirements.
“You must prove to the tribunal that either the landlord or tenant has been notified that you are suing him, and you have 45 days to prove that,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, this new rule is not very well known, and in many cases they are having their file being closed because this important document is missing.”
Matta does not expect to get her stuff back, and Brouillette said he would be surprised if the police investigation bore fruit.
She is now planning to sell her condo because she’s so frustrated about the whole ordeal. She just hopes others learn from her mistakes.
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