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This landlord bought a Toronto-area farm 2 years ago. But the tenant has barred him from the property – CBC.ca

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A man who bought a 40-hectare farm in the Toronto area two years ago says he’s still waiting to move in because a tenant is refusing to leave — and he says the body that’s supposed to rule on landlord-tenant disputes has been too slow to act.

Sarbjit Sra, a real estate broker from nearby Brampton, bought the property in April of 2020. He first went to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) in June of that year seeking an eviction order on the grounds that he and his family want to live on the property, located about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto. But the board didn’t rule in his favour until June of 2021 and the order can’t be acted upon until the LTB issues it in writing.

Almost 10 months later, Sra is still waiting for that written order.

“I can’t sleep at night right now,” he said. “Right now, we are very frustrated.”

Meanwhile, he says, he’s facing expenses of about $10,000 a month to pay mortgages, taxes and utilities on the farm, which he bought for $1.75 million. He says the tenant refuses to pay rent or allow him onto the property to inspect it for damage. Organizations that represent landlords in Ontario say the situation underscores a growing problem — the LTB’s seeming inability to quickly rule on these disputes and promptly evict problem tenants. 

‘A bizarre situation’

Since that first application, an exasperated Sra has tried to speed things up by applying for two more eviction orders. In November of 2020, he filed a request on the grounds that the man hadn’t been paying his rent. That was denied but the board did order the tenant to pay back rent of almost $11,000. Sra says he hasn’t seen a penny of it. 

So Sra then filed for a third eviction order, also based on non-payment of rent, in June of 2021. It was heard by the board this past January, and this time, the LTB agreed — in writing — to evict the tenant. But about a month ago, Sra was notified that order had been set aside while it was reviewed at the tenant’s request. 

Sra and the paralegal who represents him say it all could have been avoided if the board had only issued a written order on his original application in a timely fashion. An LTB spokesperson declined CBC Toronto’s request for an interview to explain the delay, but in the past, the board has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a backlog of cases.

Paralegal Ajmer Singh Mandur says he’s never known a client to wait for almost 10 months to receive an eviction order in writing from the LTB. He calls the situation ‘bizarre.’ (Mike Smee/CBC)

“Due to shifting of staff resources, there will be a substantive delay [in] processing and scheduling some types of applications,” a statement on the board’s website reads. “Orders will be issued between 20 to 60 days depending on the application type.”

But Ajmer Singh Mandur, the paralegal representing Sra, told CBC Toronto he’s rarely seen an applicant wait this long for a written order.

“I can say in my practice for the last 11 years that I have never come across such a bizarre situation,” he said.

CBC Toronto has requested an interview with the tenant through his legal representative. So far, there has been no response.

The farm includes a barn, outbuildings and two adjacent rental units — the farmhouse and a connecting apartment. Sra says the lease calls for a monthly rent of $1,140. The LTB has calculated the tenant has racked up back rent of almost $23,000.

“Property owners who purchase a home that they wish to live in should not be made to wait for up to a year or more … and should not be prejudiced if tenants refuse to pay the rent,” said Rose Marie, vice-chair of an organization called the Small Ownership Landlords of Ontario.

“Rental housing providers are starting to wake up the fact that there is something seriously wrong with the system — it is broken. We look forward to changes in the near future. Not next year, now.”

Marie says from 2019 to 2020, there were 41,621 eviction applications aimed at tenants who were refusing to pay their rent — resulting in losses to landlords of about $1.45 billion. The following year, due to the pandemic, the number of applications dropped to just 24,400, which translates to loss of rental income of about $856 million, Marie says.

Her organization is calling on the LTB to hold timelier, more efficient hearings.

“We need changes with the speed of light,” she said.

The 40-hectare farm comes with a barn and outbuildings. Sra says he comes from an agriculural background and would like to farm this property. (Mike Smee/CBC)

“There’s something broken inside that needs to be fixed,” Mandur said. “COVID has had its effect on these cases, but that has to do with scheduling; nothing to do with writing decisions.”

On top of everything else, Sra says he’s also tried to inspect the property, after giving 24 hours notice, “six or seven times,” but has been barred by the tenant.

“It’s a nightmare for me,” Sra says.

“I believe in our judicial system. I believe in the courts, I believe in the LTB and hopefully we will get possession one day.”

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gas prices reach new high | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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Gas prices have reached yet another new record after rising six cents per litre overnight.

As of midnight the average price of a litre of fuel across the Greater Toronto Area is now 208.9 cents per litre, according to Canadians for Affordable Energy President Dan McTeague.

The latest jump means that gas prices have now risen 11 cents per litre since Friday, with no real relief in sight due to supply shortages brought about by Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been imposed a result.

“When you look at the fundamentals, supply and demand for diesel and for gasoline going into the summer driving season, not only is it low or critically low and that is one of the main reasons why prices are going up but the second factor is the Canadian dollar,” McTeague told CP24 last week. “It continues to show weakness despite the fact that in the old good old days when oil was $100 a barrel we would be on par with the U.S. dollar. The fact that we’re not is costing you 33 cents a litre.”

Gas prices have risen by about 60 per cent since last May, when drivers were paying around $1.30 per litre to fill up.

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Musk says Twitter legal team told him he violated an NDA – The Globe and Mail

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award in Berlin on Dec. 1, 2020.Hannibal Hanschke/The Associated Press

Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted that Twitter Inc.’s legal team accused him of violating a non-disclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was 100.

“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” tweeted Mr. Musk, chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc.

Mr. Musk on Friday tweeted that his US$44-billion cash deal to take the company private was “temporarily on hold” while he awaited data on the proportion of its fake accounts.

He said his team would test “a random sample of 100 followers” on Twitter to identify the bots. His response to a question prompted Twitter’s accusation.

When a user asked Mr. Musk to “elaborate on process of filtering bot accounts,” he replied “I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.”

Mr. Musk tweeted during the early hours of Sunday that he is yet to see “any” analysis that shows that the social-media company has fake accounts less than 5 per cent.

He later said that, “There is some chance it might be over 90 per cent of daily active users.”

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As interest in electric vehicles soars, experts say they haven't quite hit the mainstream – CBC.ca

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When a friend told Seymore Applebaum about the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, he was intrigued.

Applebaum, who lives north of Toronto, was in the market for a new car. While safety features were top of mind, the high cost of gasoline couldn’t be ignored.

So in January, he traded in his sedan for a brand-new plug-in hybrid (PHEV), a vehicle that can run on both electricity and gasoline. Applebaum says he can travel almost 50 kilometres on battery power alone — more than enough to get around the city.

On a recent trip downtown, he recalled, “I drove about 45 kilometres … and the only thing I used was the electric motor and the electric battery that runs the car.”

“Normally, on a day like that, [it] would be comparable to $10, $15 of driving cost.”

Automotive industry analysts say rising gas prices have more consumers looking into electrified and electric vehicles (EVs). 

Gas prices have soared across the country in recent weeks. According to fuel price tracker GasBuddy, the national average price for regular gasoline was just below $1.98 per litre as of Sunday afternoon. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Prices at the pump have soared across Canada in recent weeks. Estimates suggest Vancouver could see the country’s highest prices this weekend, potentially hitting $2.34 per litre for regular fuel. According to fuel price tracker GasBuddy, the national average as of Sunday afternoon was just below $1.98 per litre.

“Canadians are motivated by high fuel prices, but they truly believe this is the new normal,” said Peter Hatges, national automotive sector leader for KPMG in Canada, pointing a recent survey by the consulting group. 

“When consumers believe it or perceive it to be true, they’re going to modify their behaviour around what kind of vehicles they buy.”

Kevin Roberts, director of industry insights and analytics for U.S.-based online vehicle marketplace CarGurus, told Cross Country Checkup he has seen a similar trend. 

“As gas prices went up, interest in electric vehicles went up almost in lockstep with just a couple of days delay for both new and used vehicles,” he said.

But even as interest in electrified cars spikes, experts say too few options — and too high prices — mean they haven’t quite hit the mainstream.

Where consumers in North America favour larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks known for their utility, EVs tend to come in compact or sedan-style models. EV range — and the availability of chargers — are also considerations for many Canadians, said Hatges.

Availability of charging stations, and the range of EV models, are top of mind for Canadian drivers. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

Ramp up production

Big investments into electrification by major automotive makers, however, are beginning to bear fruit. 

A greater variety of models and sizes are coming onto the market in the coming years, the analysts say. Battery life is improving too, with several models able to travel more than 400 kilometres on a charge, according to manufacturer estimates.

“It’s absolutely a tipping point,” said Hatges. “I think there’s a confluence of factors that are pointing toward an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”

The big test for consumers will be whether manufacturers can cut prices enough to get customers in the showroom — and EVs on the road — said Grieg Mordue, associate professor and ArcelorMittal chair in advanced manufacturing policy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

WATCH | Questions about EVs answered: 

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If you are thinking about getting off gas and buying an electric vehicle, or EV, you probably have a few questions. We went for a drive with an expert, and got some answers.

While a handful of models start below $50,000, many run far north of that figure with some selling for over $100,000.

The sweet spot for Canadian buyers? Between $35,000 and $45,000, says Mordue. Key to hitting that price point is mass production, he added. 

“We need production in North America of vehicles at that level, and we need high-volume vehicles — not little, niche vehicles where they sell 10,000 or 15,000 of them a year — because that’s a lot of the vehicles that we have now, Tesla notwithstanding,” Mordue told Checkup.

In April, GM announced a $2-billion investment, with support from the Ontario and federal governments, which will see electric vehicles rolling off assembly lines in Oshawa and Ingersoll, Ont., as early as this year.

Stellantis, which owns brands including Dodge and Jeep, is similarly investing billions into electrification at its Windsor and Brampton, Ont., plants.

Mordue cautions, however, that as plants begin producing electric models, it will take time for them to reach the existing output of gas-powered vehicles.

Seymore Applebaum says his recently purchased plug-in hybrid gives him the flexibility to take longer trips, but can run errands around the city without using any gasoline. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Focus on fuel efficiency

While interest in EVs may be gearing up, Hatges predicts a shift for gas-powered vehicles too.

“I think you’ll see a strive to make cars lighter, more fuel efficient, even when it comes to electricity,” he said. “Heavy vehicles use more power to power themselves down the road, whether it’s electricity or fuel.”

And as long as gas prices stay high, the market could see a shift from SUVs and trucks — which consumers and manufacturers have favoured in recent years — to gas-sipping models.

“We have a fascination with pickup trucks and SUVs, North Americans do, and there’s a lot of them on the road now…. I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said.

“But in the medium term or in the immediate term, will you see a shift or reconsideration of cars that are more fuel efficient? I think so. The price in the pump is very, very significant.”

Applebaum touted the flexibility of a plug-in hybrid, saying he doesn’t worry about range at all. And though his PHEV cost more than a comparable non-electrified model, trading in his previous vehicle combined with the fuel savings over three to four years made it affordable, he said.

With gas prices now higher than they were in January, “that’s even more true,” he told Checkup.

Now, he says friends are taking notice.

“They’re saying the next car they purchase will be an electric car.”


Written by Jason Vermes with files from Abby Plener.

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