Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thank you for not sending an eviction notice. Kindness works.

Anyone who rents an apartment in Ontario is probably familiar with the consequences of the stranglehold that provincial housing regulations have on both landlords and tenants. Due to these regulations, tenants and landlords have few incentives to treat each others kindly.

I wrote about my unpleasant experience as a tenant here. After over six years of tenancy, my landlord sent my family an eviction notice because of a single late rent payment. Since the late payment was a result of a simple oversight, I suggested that the landlord send us a reminder in the future, as a sign of respect for our long business relationship. Saying that I got little to no understanding for this suggestion from the landlord would be an understatement. I was in fact told, with a patronizing tone, that this is not their responsibility and that, even if they wanted to send me a reminder, they are not legally allowed.

My landlord claimed that the only legally allowed correspondence between us when a late payment occurs can be the official N4 eviction notice. Of course, this statement is ridiculous. This might be the only legally recognized form of communication, but this does not mean that other forms are not allowed. This simply means that other forms cannot be used as evidence in court. The landlord's refusal to concede this point during our phone conversation only illustrates the level of disrespect shown for our relationship. And this is what ultimately resulted in my public analysis of this case, which was reprinted by various outlets since then, and, apparently, it might have reached my landlord too.

Even though I didn't expect that my analysis and a critique of the current state of the tenant-landlord relationship in Ontario would change anything, it seems that it did have some effect. When I came home from work today, I found this nicely designed reminder note from my landlord. It had a nice gentle colour and a friendly informal font, all the things marketing professionals worry about when they want to communicate with their customers. So, it seems that my landlord is legally allowed to send informal reminder notices after all.


In response, I wrote this in the memo section of my rent cheque: Thank you for not sending an eviction notice. Kindness works.




1 comment:

  1. Isn't the Internet wonderful! A little public negative Social Preferencing can easily reach many people these days. Yes, it's clear that your landlord responded to this publicity (EIWO Canadian was clearly identified as deserved) because s/he did not want this behavior of theirs to be seen by prospective tenants. Your little note on the check was a well done reminder that courtesy reaps its rewards - now they have the publicity that they are truly responsive.... even if it took publicizing the negative first.

    ReplyDelete