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Homelessness

This is a new section, to capture case law relevant to homelessness. The COVID crisis has precipitated a vast increase in those at risk, both in number and in social class - giving added strength to arguments for solutions which have to date been inadequate. Most of the cases will be L&T cases to start, with more and varied to come.

. Porringa v. Everitt and Lundy

In Porringa v. Everitt and Lundy (Div Ct, 2021) the Divisional Court heard a valiant Charter attempt by an 'unauthorized occupant' to preserve his RTA appeal against the landlord's motion to quash it. The chief tenant had been already ordered terminated and evicted but the appellant 'unauthorized occupant' wanted to preserve his appeal, and the automatic stay on filing an appeal. His case fell on the easiest grounds available to the judge: inadequate evidence to substantiate his Charter grounds. However, but in doing so (IMHO) the judge overstated the law by stating: "His occupancy of the Premises is not covered by the RTA. Mr. Porringa is an “unauthorized occupant” since he did not have a tenancy agreement with the Landlord" [para 28]. Properly, section 104 of the RTA plainly countenances the existence of such unauthorized occupants and gives them 'rights' in some circumstances, essentially a right to become a 'full' tenant if the criteria of s.104(4) are met.

But the case is most compelling for pointing up the reality that older, disabled and otherwise commonly discriminated-again occupants, if they do manage to obtain shelter in this harsh private market, remain perpetually at risk of their 'security of person' in this country:
[26] Lastly, Mr. Porringa argues that he occupied the finished lower level of the house living entirely separate and the Landlord was obligated to include Mr. Porringa in his eviction action along with Mr. Everick and he intentionally chose not to do so, which has certainly had major implications for Mr. Porringa’s occupancy. Furthermore, it is Mr. Porringa’s position that it should not have been permitted by the RTA for the Board to exclude him from Mr. Everick’s eviction proceedings because the latter had already decided to consent to the eviction.

[27] A “tenant” is defined in s. 2(1) of the RTA as:
a person who pays rent in return for the right to occupy a rental unit and includes the tenant’s heirs, assigns and personal representatives, but “tenant” does not include a person who has the right to occupy a rental unit by virtue of being,

(a) a co-owner of the residential complex in which the rental unit is located, or

(b) a shareholder of a corporation that owns the residential complex; (“locataire”).
Mr. Porringa concedes in his Factum and in his evidence that he is not a “tenant” as defined by the RTA. It therefore remains that Mr. Porringa is an “unauthorized occupant” as stated in the Board Order. He adds that he is an elderly man with underlying health conditions and tight finances. Furthermore, he often remarks about the criminality of the Board member, Mr. Lundy, and his colleagues. In his Factum, for example, Mr. Porringa puts forward conspiracy theories that the audio recordings of the hearing have been edited or tampered with, that the Landlord and the Board unethically and illegally interfered with Mr. Porringa’s request for transcripts of the recorded telephone hearing and that there was a disruption of his mail service where one or more local postal employees agreed to assist in the illegal activity. Mr. Porringa states in his Factum that “the [Board] must be stripped of its misused powers in this particular case and a full public inquiry into this rogue government agency is needed by judicial order”. I find that Mr. Porringa has not provided any evidence to support his claims about discrimination due to his age, his health condition and the criminality of the Board and Mr. Lundy. In addition, he has not provided any evidence that the Board misused its powers and is a “rogue government agency”. I find that Mr. Porringa has failed to show that any of his Charter rights or rights in the Code have been breached by the Landlord and/or the Board.

[28] Based on my review of the evidence provided, there is no evidence to support a breach of Mr. Porringa’s rights. His occupancy of the Premises is not covered by the RTA. Mr. Porringa is an “unauthorized occupant” since he did not have a tenancy agreement with the Landlord. It was within the Board’s jurisdiction to make the Order of July 28, 2020. I find that Mr. Porringa’s appeal is devoid of merit and I quash his appeal pursuant to s. 134(3) of the Courts of Justice Act. Given this finding, I need not address the other issues raised by the Landlord.


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