I Live In Appreciation

I have lived and worked all over Ontario as a Building Superintendent with my husband. It was a great career, for the most part. I have a lot of appreciation!

When we first got involved in the Property Management industry in Brampton In the Fall of 2000, it was for a Townhouse complex of 176 units of 3 & 4-bedroom, 3-level Townhouses. It was known as Little Newfoundland, as there were so many people living there who came from Newfoundland!

It was a bit rough at times, so much so that I got into the habit of walking around with a baseball bat, for my protection.

We had our first Eviction at this property and it was an eye-opener: There was a single parent living on-site, with a few children. They lost their partner to Cancer a year before and after trying to work with the Tenant over their non-payment of rent over 8 months, they had no choice but to proceed with an Eviction.

It was heartbreaking for me to evict this family 3 days before Christmas. What amazed me, even more, was to find that this Tenant had broken in, using one of the children to climb in a window, later that evening. I had to call the Police but they had left before they came.

This Tenant had 72 hours to arrange to get their belongings from the house, and I tried for 3 months to get this Tenant to come to get their stuff, but they refused. I left the unit as it was for 3 whole months. It was a hard one for my first eviction.

I packed up a lot of their personal stuff like clothing and all the kid’s stuff, into boxes and stored it in my own basement. They came 7 months later and picked it up, finally. I told them I was leaving myself and if they didn’t come get it, It was going in the garbage. It got them moving… I didn’t have to do that, but I felt for them, so I did. I never did it again though!

Not long after moving in to work there, they decided to renovate the units and convert them to Condos so they could be sold. I spent many months walking around with a hard hat and work boots on as I had to go through the areas that were being renovated! It was an experience! Mass evictions went on, a block of units at a time. That was not fun either!

I learned a lot then about what went into renovating an apartment. I appreciate all I learned there. Tearing out walls and flooring, removing furnaces and replacing them. We even came across a few units that had asbestos and I learned how they had to get rid of it. I spent a lot of time with the Project Manager, who was an engineer, and he taught me so much about buildings and all that went into maintaining them. So many little details went into maintaining an apartment building.

It was such an education that after a year and most of the units were renovated, they asked us to move to Hamilton and take over looking after the 2 buildings they had there. We stayed in Hamilton for about 4 years and lived from one end of the City to another, getting apartment buildings organized and full.

I found my niche, as I was very good at providing customer service to the Tenants and I was great at renting vacant apartments. I was very good at organizing and scheduling turnovers and getting apartments ready, sometimes even back to back. Paperwork was also where I excelled and I could quote the RTA and LTB after a while.

One company I worked for did testing of my Customer Service skills and I got the highest score they ever had, 100%!

The Property Managers I had were wonderful in teaching me the ins and outs of property management and I learned a lot during those first few years. I even learned a lot about Human Resources! They would even take me with them to the Landlord and Tenant Board hearings, as I had such an interest in it.

Eventually, I was offered training in the rules of the Residential Tenancies Act and the Landlord and Tenant Board and I soaked it up. In time, I was doing my own hearings, representing the Management Company I worked for, even for complex cases.

I was fair and willing to mediate with Tenants, but if you went back on your mediated payment plan or kept up the bad behaviour, you were evicted. I stood my ground and stuck to the rules. I came to see that if you gave into a tenant’s demands, they would expect it all the time.

I had a unit in Hamilton, rented to a Student who had a big dog. This Student left the dog home alone, a lot. This one time that the dog was home alone, the dog somehow got the faucet knob off the bathroom sink and caused a major leak into the Laundry Room below. Good thing it was the Laundry Room and not another unit!

As it was an emergency, we had no choice but to enter and found the unit flooded and the dog going mad for attention. I just could not reach the Tenant and kept leaving messages for him. (This was in 2002 so cell phones weren’t as advanced as they are now!) Animal Control came and took the dog.

Once I helped my husband clean up the water, I went back to the office to try to reach the Tenant. It wasn’t until around 9:00 pm that night that I got a call from the Tenant and we met in the office. I told them what happened, what we found in the apartment, and where to find their dog.

In the end, I had to take this Tenant to the Landlord and Tenant Board for damage caused to the unit out of their own negligence. The carpet had to be replaced, the faucet in the bathroom, and the dog had caused damage to the doors, some of the walls, and the bathroom floor, by scratching it up. In the end, they lost almost $6000 in repairs. This person found it hard to accept that he was responsible for what his dog did while he wasn’t there to supervise. He never did get his dog back, the SPCA and Animal Services charged this Tenant as well. They became very nasty but it was their responsibility, not mine.

I have lived and worked in some really nice properties and some not so nice… From Brampton to Hamilton, to Mississauga, Toronto, and Scarborough. I have had some wonderful Tenants and some not so nice ones.

One of the worst properties was in Scarborough, in the Egliongton/ Victoria Park area. 5 low-rise buildings all spread out over a big area that was new to the Management company. It also had a Property Manager on site all the time, and I was the administrator so I spent a lot of time in the office with her. This was a very rough area and they were doing mass evictions for various reasons. The properties were slowly being cleaned out, renovated, and re-rented.

Not long after moving in, I got up one morning to find my car windshield smashed and lug nuts removed from the tires. I was left with one lug nut on each tire…I got it on camera but it was too dark to pick out the features of the person doing it.

I also had my car stolen one night, but I did manage to get it back 3 days later from the Towing company that took it. I posted the Video on YourTube, which is still there, as I was trying to recognize the name on the side of the truck that took it. I got lucky that someone recognized the name and I told the Police. They said they got a call one night, at 3 am mind you, from someone claiming to be building staff to tow a vehicle left on a property. It was a lie…

It came out later to me by the Police that they were part of the criminal enterprise of stealing cars and changing them, to resell abroad. Everyone was arrested as far as I know, even the Tenant who called to get my car towed away! I was lucky in that I got my car back…

As I lived in another building, I was heading home one evening and went to the back door and as I reached to put the key in the deadbolt lock, I dropped them. As I bent over to pick them up, I heard a loud pop over my head. As I straightened up, I noticed this smoking hole in the brick of the building by the doorway and realized what had happened. I was being shot at!! What a terrible experience that was!!

I rushed to get inside, went to the office, and looked at the cameras as I called the Police at the same time as getting on the walkie-talkie to my hubby as well. I was shaking, as you can imagine and don’t recall all that occurred when the Police came.

They never did find the person who shot at me though they did take the bullet from the hole in the building. All we saw on the cameras was a flash, so they know the area it came from but found nothing to point to the person who did it. We all assumed it was a disgruntled Tenant being evicted. It was the last straw for me.

They hired Security Guards to walk around with me on the property so I was never alone but once it started calming down, they removed them. I quit the same day, just 1 day short of the 3 months probation. I couldn’t stay where I didn’t feel safe.

I lived all over Ontario and got to experience some fantastic things. I also got to experience some terrible things.

I got to see some of the best of people and the worst of people. Eventually, the worst of people took over and caused me to lose my faith in the good but I am regaining it back again.

It takes time to rebuild my faith in humanity but every day, I am shown that not everyone is like the Toxic Tenants I had. There are very wonderful people out there in this world.

I had issues with other Tenants over the years, was even assaulted a few times and had Tenants charged for it. I did become a little hard over time, how could I not with all the disrespect I was being shown?

When you are abused you do tend to become a little bitter but I am trying really hard to lose that emotion, as it isn’t good for me.

I don’t want to suffer more than I already have so doing all I can to forgive, not just myself and my naivete, but also the abusers I have had.

I do not want to become like them!! I don’t want my life to be all about what someone else did to me, but filled with my own personal experiences that I did instead.

I may be retired but I still get to enjoy all the life experiences I can find!

It is time for me to move away from anger and bitterness, and find things to help me release it all, finally. Time to focus on other things that I appreciate!

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