‘We need to occupy the house’: Ontario landlord says tenant won’t leave

To Brampton, Ont. The woman and her husband say they have lost more than $22,000 in unpaid rent and cannot occupy their only home because a tenant has refused to leave since they asked him to move out.

“We need to occupy the house,” said Yvonne Folkes, describing months of frustration trying to regain access to her home.

Folkes and her husband rented the Brampton townhouse, their primary residence, from Hermann Founiapte Dakono for about $3,200 a month. She described him as a “good tenant” until she says he refused to move out and abruptly stopped paying rent or some utilities as needed.

Folkes and her husband had been temporarily living in another house nearby with other family members and the rent was applied to their monthly mortgage payments, she said.

While her tenant isn’t paying, she says the family is tapping into their line of credit to cover the expense.

Story continues below ad.

“It’s challenging, it’s depressing, it’s difficult,” Folkes told Global News in an interview in April after hiring a paralegal in an attempt to remove the tenant.

“We need them,” Folkes explained, frustrated by a series of ongoing delays with the landlord-tenant board.

According to Folkes, the tenant, who signed a lease as Hermann Founiapte, insisted that the court hearing of his case be conducted in French, his native language, although he speaks English and has communicated with Folkes exclusively in English.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world delivered to your inbox, as it happens.

Global News attempted to obtain comment from Founiapte at his home. Someone inside the home called Peel Regional Police claiming there had been a burglary when a crew showed up at the front door.

When two police cars arrived minutes later, officers interviewed Founiapte, who eventually stepped out into the driveway for an interview.

When asked why he had not paid rent since October 2023, Founiapte blamed Folkes.

“She told me she didn’t want me to pay,” he told a reporter, insisting that Folkes returned his postdated checks at the time.

But Founiapte continued to live in the house with a female partner and a child for more than seven months.

Neighbors and Folkes say other people also live in the house, some of whom have their own keys, according to neighbors.

Story continues below ad.

“We have a building in Hamilton, (she) can wait until summer; when it’s built, we’ll leave,” she said, explaining that they are building her own house in the city west of Toronto.

Founiapte has not cited an inability to pay rent; He drives a late model red Dodge Ram pickup truck that is parked in the driveway. Founipate runs a transportation company.

“No, no, no, I’m not afraid to talk to you,” Founiapte tells a Global News journalist.

He says he is familiar with the rules governing landlord-tenant relationships in Ontario, when asked if he knows “the system.”

“Of course I have to know,” Founiapte said.

Kevin Costain, author of From Rent to Ruin, says some tenants are betraying the trust of small landlords, many of whom have rented their only home, as Folkes did.

“Now you can get away with not paying rent for a year,” Costain said, referring to the bureaucracy and delay in the system, a particular challenge for people like Folkes and her husband.

Costain says he made a mistake by renting his house to a tenant whose son caused extensive damage to the house and was later charged with arson.

Warns of the potential risks of renting a property to a tenant who could cause problems in the future.

Story continues below ad.

“If a homeowner got burned like me, I can’t do it again, the fear would terrify me,” Costain said.

Global News asked the Folkes tenant if he would ever pay back rent and unpaid utilities.

“We are going to go to court and the judge will decide if I am wrong or not,” he said.

“I will stay here until the court’s decision comes,” he added, referring to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Founiaipte then got into his truck and drove off to work, as Folkes and her husband yelled “liar” at him from the sidewalk, while two Peel Regional Police officers reminded him that there was nothing they could do to help and urged the police. couple to move forward. peace.

“We need you out, we need the house, we need the rent,” he told the agents.

The hearing is scheduled for June 4.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.