Three Things about the Law that your Idiot Neighbour doesn't Know.

There are three factors that you need to know when someone is spouting off, “I WILL SUE YOU”.

There is:

1)Reading the law

2)Interpreting the law,

3)Applying the law.

I have a tenant and landlord dispute going on (I only work for landlords). The tenant is behaving crazier than a soup sandwich but that isn’t the problem. The tenant is continuously accusing me (in the course of representing the client) of some illegal activity or other and the bhaviour, while irritating, did provide me a topic for this blog:

You, my loyal readers, might want something to think about when someone in your life threatens to sue or runs you ragged with their “knowledge” of the law.

Sure, this tenant knows which law is which, but his error, quite obvious to me is that he doesn’t know how to apply the law. He can “cut and paste” a section of the Landlord and Tenant Act into a threatening email, but fails to realize that a legislative act must be taken in its entirety.

Any one shouting vehemently enough to put you on edge - that they will “get you”, quoting a part of an Act can be intimidating to any one.

And that is where mistakes can be made.

Those threats can make the average person do things that my not be in one’s own best interest. If someone (who is not a professional) starts to quote from an Act you have my permission to ignore him or her. All they are sharing with you is that they know how to read.

This particular tenant was withholding rent on a very flimsy excuse. It was his assertion that the controlled access to the secure building was defective and that defect was reason enough to stop paying the rent. Now to the average, hard-working person, and to the landlord, the tenant was being very unreasonable and something had to be done.

I interviewed and obtained affidavits from all the other tenants (an affidavit is just your words on paper with an oath that these are your words) stating that they were not aware of a defective access system and that the building was secure.

After being accused of criminal trespass, while working for the client (who owns the property) and harassment while serving papers, it was asserted by the tenant that I had commited fraud by forging the affidavits.

Since I actually take my position seriously and interviewed the other tenants of the building, his tactic failed. When he couldn’t prove that little nugget, his assertion changed to the affidavits being improperly executed.

He quite correctly quoted that I needed three things for the affidavit to be legitimate. I needed the “oath”, the “affirmation”, and a “seal”. On the strength of that he filed a motion with the Tribunal, which effectively delayed the process for no reason.

You see, the section of the Act he quoted was correct, but the regulations around the Act stated that by virtue of my office I, as a commissioner of oaths do not require a seal. That was not part of his understanding. In fact, the Tribunal provided the template, an easy to use, layperson-friendly form that I used for just that purpose.

The tenant, as many people do, discovered something that “seems legit” to fit his or her own personal narrative. Once striking upon this shining revelation, they are convinced they have a rock solid legal manoeuvre that will not only assure a headline grabbing victory, but also assure a humiliating defeat of their unsuspecting opponent.

At no time was I concerned that the motion would carry. However, some might think these ranklings legitimate. “I WILL SUE”, can be pretty intimidating too, but acting rashly on that assertion may not be in your best interest.

Until the other party files formally within the court you might treat it as nonsense. Don’t let it bother you. Talk is cheap. Contact legal representation. Get a good night’s sleep.

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