Today was a hearing at the Landlord Tenant Board for John Cerino’s L1 Application to evict for unpaid rent. The Hearing Notice and copy of the Application is (Doc 344).
Dealing with our landlord, John Cerino, is always a world class pain in the ass. Even (perhaps especially) when he has representation.
John showed up with another paralegal in tow, this guy:
Curiously, the url on the business card, www.jklegal.com , leads to a law office in Washington state. However, www.jklegal.ca does take you to Joe’s site. Ooops.
Joseph Kazubek would be John Cerino’s fourth representative in this mess.
A google search of the name “Joseph Kazubek” yields this interesting gem. It would seem that Mr Kazubek was a candidate in the 2018 Municipal election for Ward 7 City Councillor. He ran on a platform that would have gotten my vote (briefly, he states that “Joseph believes that one of the biggest issues in Hamilton are slumlords, who’ve been abusing their power and acting high handedly over people who live in poverty and would be facing displacement if they didn’t comply.”) Like John Cerino, for example. He got his ass kicked in the election, with 160 votes (1.33% of the popular vote). Joe got some exposure though.
<rant> It doesn’t pay to be one of the good guys in politics in this city, Joe. Come to think of it, it doesn’t pay to be one of the good guys at all in this city, and I’m beginning to suspect that holds everywhere in Ontario. But if you aren’t one of the good guys, you’re part of the problem. On the other hand, you did try (assuming your candidacy wasn’t just another hustle). At least you ran. Me, I just tried to rein in a single slumlord, my third in ten years. </rant>
Now Mr Kazubek represents the most abusive landlord I’ve ever heard of, let alone encountered. Life is full of irony; Mr Kazubek is now the latest in John’s parade of legal whores; the kind of legal “professional” who will spread the legs of their talent for anybody with a fistful of cash. I guess I’ll have to wait and see about that point. Or maybe he’s just broke and needs the work. (If so, I’d advise him to squeeze John for the largest retainer he can get, and not let John run a tab. That didn’t work out so well for Jennifer Greenway, or Vidiwatte Yahkni. I don’t know about Dale Skvereckas, his third paralegal. John doesn’t pay his bills unless he’s forced to do so).There’s a lot of that going on in Hamilton these days, despite the glowing headlines about this being the best economy ever. (Update 7 September 2019 – The headlines about the economy aren’t so glowing any more.)
John’s L1 Application (SOL-06060-19) had a few errors in it (Doc 344). I spoke to tenant duty counsel, and asked about the errors, as well as how to ask that the three T2 Applications be heard under Section 82 of the RTA. She explained how I would go about asking that, but did not tell me that the errors invalidated the N4 (Doc 287).
An N4 is an eviction notice, and like an N5, it can’t be amended. The landlord has to get it right the first time. The N4 (Doc 287) had an error. Instead of listing a monthly rent of 1139.95 for us, John had added an extra zero, filling in 11039.95 as our monthly rent. Ooops #2.
The member, Peter Guzina, was the same member who had heard one of our landlord’s L2 applications (SOL-01323-19, which was withdrawn on June 7, 2019 after two hearings, the other being on March 29, 2019) and his previous L1 Application (SOL-01207-19 on March 19, 2019) and had issued an interim order for us to pay our rent to our landlord’s representative to avoid exactly the kind of harassment that led to the first application (on March 21, 2019). Mr Guzina knew all of us by name. When I told him what I wanted, he said that Member Henry had been seized of the other applications (which, as far as I know, isn’t quite correct). Sean Henry had reserved the applications for himself (since they were related and should be heard together), but the only one that had even started to be heard was our T6 application for maintenance, filed in December 2016 (SOT-77620-16). Henry hasn’t heard or seen any evidence or anything else for our three T2 Applications). When I told him that Henry was releasing those applications to be heard, he asked us about our monthly rent. That’s when the plan went a bit awry.
At the end of the hearing, the application was withdrawn. Member Guzina did take the time to say that he shared some of the concerns about the Vice Chair’s directive (that’ll make more sense when the missing time periods are filled in on the blog) and the fact that our landlord can get hearing after hearing for his eviction applications while our applications (which allege some of the worst behavior possible for a landlord under the RTA) have languished unheard for almost three years. He suggested I write to the Vice Chair of the LTB and/or the Chair of the SJTO about the situation. Whatever Vice Chair Bugby’s intentions, that directive has had the effect of allowing John Cerino to bring multiple eviction applications (three), two of which were withdrawn and the third settled by a consent order that our landlord had ignored (which was why we were there today). If the joined applications are heard separately and anywhere near simultaneously it becomes very difficult for me (or any other self represented litigant) to prepare and argue multiple applications.
I’m aware the LTB would rather this mess just go away. (Me too.) Sean Henry’s coercive tactics in pushing mediation (more on that coming) when it became larger and larger made that very apparent. Prejudicing the tenants interest is NOT the way to make it go away. If that scenario happens, I’ll do my best and get my objections to it on record at every opportunity. I started today.
Somebody should have stopped this marathon abuse of process a long time ago.
Member Guzina awarded us costs of $150. When he asked the paralegal (Joseph Kazubek) for submissions on the subject of costs, Mr Kazubek asked for an adjournment to prepare the submissions. When that didn’t fly, he asked the tenants (us) for proof of employment to back our claim that we had missed work that day. Since I was dressed in a company uniform, on my way to work after the hearing, that didn’t impress the member. Then Kazubek tried to blame the errors in the N4 and L1 application on John Cerino’s previous representative. Since the forms had been signed by John, it was clear Kubuzek hadn’t bothered to actually read the documents. I was ready to point that out, but the member picked up on it himself. Sharp guy. Ooops #3.
All of which resulted in my favorite line of the day “Your submissions on costs have inspired me to consider Board costs”, spoken by Member Guzina to the paralegal, Joseph Kazubek. I’m fairly certain that was lawyer code for “You should’ve buttoned your beak about three minutes ago.” So it cost John an extra $150 in costs (payable to the LTB, not us) as well as his $190 filing fee. If I recall correctly (haven’t double checked) the LTB can only order a maximum of $100/hour for Board costs, figured from actual hearing time. The whole hearing took about 15 minutes, and member Guzina commented on the fact that the tenants had been dragged to the LTB twice in a month for applications that were withdrawn at the last moment by John Cerino. He even commented that the only difference this time was that the tenants found out he was withdrawing the application earlier in the day, rather than having their whole day wasted. He wasn’t happy about that, and I got the distinct impression the paralegal’s words aroused his ire. Hard to say, the guy has a good poker face.
The grand total for John for the day was $490, plus his paralegal’s fees.
The hearing recording is here (Vid 100):
After the hearing Kazubek gave us a card and asked if we wanted to pay the rent by cheque or e-transfer as per the undertaking accepted by Jennifer Greenway. My answer was “Consider my answer to be an upraised middle finger” (my hands were full). I’ll wait for the order to written before I comment much on that point. I’m not certain if he was gaslighting, hoping for a naive tenant who would just pay the rent, or something else. As far as I know, John has to serve another N4, and file another L1 application before that happens. If he does, Section 82 rears its ugly head again. If the order specifies that we pay the rent, then we’ll pay the arrears and start over. The only way to get a hearing, it seems, is to stop paying rent.
Kazubek is as sleazy as the first two, I think. He’d discussed our case with my roomate for about 15 minutes before a previous hearing and had commented that he wouldn’t represent John, and couldn’t because he’d spoken with my roomate about the case. John ended up representing himself for that hearing (March 29, 2019). He’d been polling the paralegals, looking for representation before the hearing. We’ll see what comes of that. (If anything. I’m starting to doubt any paralegals have ethics any more. Or, if they do, it’s anything I’d recognize as ethics.)
The Final Order resulting from the hearing is (Doc 345):
Order under Section 69 Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
File Number: SOL-06060-19
In the matter of: 2, 99 EAST AVENUE SOUTH HAMILTON ON L8N2T6
Between: John Cerino Landlord
Marie Ball Paul Bosch
John Cerino (the ‘Landlord’) applied for an order to terminate the tenancy and evict Paul Bosch and Marie Ball (the ‘Tenants’) because the Tenants did not pay the rent that the Tenants owe.
This application was heard in Hamilton on August 6, 2019. Joseph Kazubek (the Landlord’s Legal Representative), the Landlord and the Tenants attended the hearing.
- The Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent (N4) and the application identify the monthly rent as $11,039.95. The monthly rent is actually $1,139.95 as confirmed by both parties at the hearing. Therefore, the N4 is void and this application shall be dismissed.
- The Tenants sought costs as they have been before the Board several times for several matters, and the last time, the Landlord withdrew the application at the hearing. The Tenants’ request for costs is reasonable as the Landlord and the Landlord’s Legal Representative ought to have known that the information in the N4 and Application is false and it was a waste of the Tenants’ and the Board’s time to proceed with this matter. 3. I am satisfied that costs in the amount of $150.00 each to the Board and the Tenants is appropriate in this circumstance.
It is ordered that:
- The Landlord’s application is dismissed. 2. The Landlord shall pay to the Tenants $150.00 for costs for the day.
Order Page 1 of 2File Number: SOL-06060-19
- If the Landlord does not pay the Tenants the full amount owing on or before September 11, 2019, the Landlord will start to owe interest. This will be simple interest calculated from September 12, 2019, at 3% annually on the balance outstanding. 4. The Landlord shall pay to the Board $150.00 for Board costs for the day. 5. If the Landlord does not pay the Board costs, the Landlord shall be limited in proceeding with other applications in accordance with Section 196 of the Board: 196 (1) Upon receiving information that an applicant owes money to the Board as a result of having failed to pay any fine, fee or costs, (a) if the information is received on or before the day the applicant submits an application, an employee in the Board shall, in such circumstances as may be specified in the Rules, refuse to allow the application to be filed; (b) if the information is received after the application has been filed but before a hearing is held, the Board shall stay the proceeding until the fee, fine or costs have been paid and may discontinue the application in such circumstances as may be specified in the Rules; (c) if the information is received after a hearing with respect to the application has begun, the Board shall not issue an order until the fine, fee or costs have been paid and may discontinue the application in such circumstances as may be specified in the Rules. 2006, c. 77>s. 196 (1); 2013, c. 3, s. 43 (1).
August 27, 2019 Date Issued Southern-RO 119 King Street West, 6th Floor Hamilton ON L8P4Y7
To this point there have been at least fifteen complaints to police (at least 8 from our landlord and his crew) resulting in 14 responses, and charges being laid in two cases (against Jeremy Stamper).
The tally is at 18 hours 0 minutes of hearing time at the LTB, in 15 hearings, two by telephone, thirteen in person (counting the Case Management Hearing and mediation session of May 19, 2017 as hearings). It has also used up 9 hours and 51 minutes of a mediator’s time.
On the criminal side, it has used up whatever time the pre-enquete hearing used when process was issued on Pollington’s private complaint, and one short appearance. Call it two hearings, 50 minutes of a judge’s time.