Unlawfully obtained tenancies involve false statement or information conveyed during LTB Application process.
This includes unlawful termination of leases with fraudulent information.
If a person lies in a Tenancy Application could the person be Criminally Charged?
A person who knowingly provides false information when applying for a tenancy may be criminal charged. Additionally, other persons who knowingly assist in providing false information may also be criminal charged.
Understanding that giving false information while applying for a tenancy is illegal and may result in criminal charges.
When a tenant applies for housing, the common law, the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, and the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17, expect and require that the tenant is providing accurate information so to avoid misleading the landlord that will be reviewing and considering the risks of accepting the tenant. Generally, the landlord will be interested in capacity to pay the rent on time; and accordingly, information related to creditworthiness, among other things, will be requested or required. Where a prospective tenant provides false information with intent to mislead the landlord in hopes of obtaining a tenancy, such conduct is wrongful and perhaps even criminal.
Many sections of the Criminal Code may apply when false information is submitted for a fraudulent or deceptive purpose; and accordingly, where a prospective tenant knowingly provides false information to a landlord such may constitute as a criminal offence. The relevant sections of the Criminal Code include:
- Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 at section 361
- Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 at section 380
Interestingly, other than a multitude of cases heard at the Landlord Tenant Board with findings of providing false income information where rent is geared to income per the Housing Services Act, 2011, S.O. 2011, Chapter 6, Schedule 1, and thereby a proceeding outside the realm of a criminal proceeding, there appears few, if any, cases available for citing as sources of criminal conviction for providing misleading information to a landlord during the application for tenancy. With this said, and despite the lack of cases appearing within the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website, the case of James Regan, referred to as "Toronto's Professional Tenant" is highly referenced example of a fraud conviction against a tenant. For more information, see:
- The CBC News story;
- The Yahoo News story; and
- The National Post story.
- Improper Third Party Conduct
Sometimes a third party, meaning a person other than the tenant or landlord, will offer false information on behalf of a tenant (and the same would apply if done by the landlord) for the purpose of misleading and inducing. Typically, this situation may arise when a friend of the tenant provides false information to a landlord by acting as a reference and providing information contrary to actual truth such as stating that the tenant is employed, the tenant makes a certain level of income, the friend is a former landlord, among other falsieties.
Criminality, third party
As above, providing false information may constitute as "False Pretences" in violation of section 361 of the Criminal Code as well as "Fraud" contrary to section 380 of the Criminal Code. Additionally, when persons collude to breach a section of the Criminal Code, among other laws, such conduct may constitute as "Conspiracy" contrary to section 465(1) of the Criminal Code wherein it is stated:
- Criminal Code,R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 at section 465(1)
Accordingly, a friend of a prospective tenant who knowingly provides incorrect information on behalf of the prospective tenant for the purpose of inducing a landlord to enter into a tenancy relationship with the prospective tenant may, and likely is, engaging in criminal conduct and may be charged for doing so.
Tortiousness, third party
In addition to the risks of a criminal charge, a friend of a tenant who knowingly provides misleading information may also be found civilly liable for the tort of deceit. Although civil litigation for the tort of deceit is more commonly brought against the person with whom dealings were directly engaged, civil litigation for the tort of deceit may also be brought against a third party as a person outside of the contractual relations such as a friend of a tenant when the friend provided false information to a landlord on behalf of the tenant. This third party deceit form of civil litigation first occurred within the English case of Pasley v. Freeman (1789), 100 E.R. 450 and was referenced and cited into the common law of Ontario within the case of Toronto-Dominion Bank v. Mapleleaf Furniture Manufacturing Ltd., 2003 CanLII 22203 where it was said:
- TD Bank v. Mapleleaf Furniture,2003 CanLII 22203 at paragraph 86
Additionally, although perhaps redundant and unnecessary, where the friend of a prospective tenant agreed to assist the prospective tenant by providing false information to a landlord, the friend may also be civilly liable for the tort of conspiracy. Of course, if the the tort of deceit is proven, as would be required in proving the tort of conspiracy, then there is likely little, if anything, gained from alleging the tort of conspiracy in addition to alleging the tort of deceit within the litigation as proof of the deceit would be enough to create a civil liability; however, there may be circumstances where including both the tort allegation of deceit as well as the tort allegation of conspiracy are helpful to the litigation.
There are many misunderstandings and common false beliefs among both landlords and tenants regarding the criminality and other unlawfulness involving intentionally made false statements. As referenced above, criminality and tortiousness may occur when false information is used to induce or coerce others to enter into contractual relations, including tenancy agreements.
A source of misperception appears to arise from the inaccurate presumption that if the police fail to investigate and lay a charge then the conduct is therefore legal. Instead, it should be appreciated that the police may have discretion to determine what matters to pursue. Furthermore, it may actually be that where the police improperly choose to refrain from investigating potentially criminal conduct, the police may be acting wrongfully. One need only to remain aware that the police commonly turn an eye to unlawful conduct. As a plain and obvious example, the police routinely ignore speeding drivers until the severity of the speeding is significant whereas a driver exceeding the speed limit by five (5) kilometers per hour is ignored while a driver exceeding the speed limit by fifty (50) kilometers is chased down and charged despite that the driver exceeding the speed limit by five (5) kilometers per hour was, technically, breaking the law. Even more simply put, it should be remembered that getting away with breaking the law fails to mean that the conduct may be interpreted as legal.
Another source of misperception is the inaccurate belief that the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, is the only law that governs landlord and tenant relationships and that only the Landlord Tenant Board may adjudicate where a dispute arises between a landlord and tenant. This misperception appears to arise from misunderstanding of section 168(2) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, and the lack of attention or understanding of section 17 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 whereas these sections state:
- Residential Tenancies Act, 2006,S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 at section 17
- Residential Tenancies Act, 2006,S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 at section 168(2)
Despite the rarity of criminal charges, among other legal action, for false representations made during the tenancy application process, such action remains unlawful. Furthermore, in addition to the potential of criminal charges against a prospective tenant, a friend of a prospective tenant that participates in the misleading of a landlord may also be charged criminally or sued civilly.
- Kanata, ON
- Toronto, ON
- Gloucester, ON
- Niagara Region, ON
- York Region, ON
- Carleton Place, ON
- Nepean, ON
- Waterloo Region, ON
- Peel Region, ON
- Orleans, ON
- Ottawa, ON
- Stittsville, ON
- Halton Region, ON
- Durham Region, ON
- Hamilton-Wentworth, ON
- Mississauga, ON
- ... including surrounding communities.