Tribunal evicts Ontario senior from his own home on leased land in retirement community

Click to play video: 'Landlord and Tenant Board orders the eviction of 82-year-old man with mental health issues'
Landlord and Tenant Board orders the eviction of 82-year-old man with mental health issues
WATCH: Landlord and Tenant Board orders the eviction of 82-year-old man with mental health issues – Jul 12, 2022

Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board has ordered the eviction of an 82-year-old man with mental illness from his home which is owned by his daughter on land leased within an adult lifestyle community.

“They’re evicting my dad on behaviour that’s based on mental health issues and also a neurological issue because he has so much damage from three strokes,” explained Valerie Bartholomew through tears.

Her father, Lawrence Bartholomew who is nearly deaf, moved to Sandycove Acres in Innisfil, a retirement community where a person owns their own dwelling but leases the land from a company called Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Canada’s largest land-lease company.

“We wanted to give my dad this one last kick at the can. I know my dad was half the person he was before the strokes but he was able to have some independence, by being able to live here. We got him a golf cart and he could go to the corner store that’s in the community. They have swimming pools, they have all kinds of clubs, organizations and leagues,” Valerie Bartholomew said.

Story continues below advertisement

The family sold their home in Ajax and purchased a permanent mobile modular home for the senior.  All was well within the community until last August when the father began creating disturbances at Sandycove. It started with confusion surrounding the number of parking spots he had and escalated to harassment in the form of letter writing to the property manager.

An application put forward by Parkbridge to terminate the tenancy and evict the senior for the harassment and unruly behaviour was granted at the end of last month. The tribunal found allowing the man to stay would “negatively affect the residents,” adding in its decision that the man’s “conduct is escalating.”

“Our highest priority is to ensure the physical and psychological safety of all our residents and colleagues. This is a long-standing issue, with years of documented communication, where the actions of a single resident has interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of all residents in the community, the details of which are addressed in the Landlord and Tenant Board’s decisions,” wrote Parkbridge spokesperson Dale Albers in an email to Global News.

“It’s upsetting for all of us. We hope for, and continue to work toward, the best outcome for Mr. Bartholomew.”

Click to play video: 'Longueuil police help ease the trauma for senior facing eviction'
Longueuil police help ease the trauma for senior facing eviction

The family appealed the decision but were denied. They’ve now been seeking assistance to fight the eviction.

Story continues below advertisement

But this isn’t a “one-off” according to an Ontario-based Paralegal who specializes in landlord-tenant disputes.

“These types of applications are before the board (Landlord and Tenant Board) on a regular basis,” explains Kathleen Lovett who operates Landlord Solutions & KLP Paralegal Services. “Those private communities are not treated any differently than a regular rental unit, however, they are exceptionally different than a regular rental unit because they own the structure that is on.”

While the family understands the senior may be better suited in a long-term care facility or even private care, they say they don’t have many options because financially they’re left with empty pockets. Parkbridge could confiscate belongings and the structure if the senior doesn’t leave the premises after an eviction notice is served.

“If they don’t remove everything then a landlord can seize any and all property and they can either sell it, dispose of it or do whatever they want with the property,” Lovett added. “The eviction would be that you have to remove that trailer from that land; the difficulty I would see for the resident is cost.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario finance minister outlines increased funding for seniors care, hospitals in fall economic statement'
Ontario finance minister outlines increased funding for seniors care, hospitals in fall economic statement

The family says they have been trying to get the senior into long-term care but the waitlist in Ontario is about 40,000 people, according to the seniors advocacy group CanAge, a national seniors’ advocacy organization.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re going to see more families in more crisis points, unless we take seriously, meeting the needs of people’s cognitive impairment,” adds Laura Tamblyn-Watts, founder of CanAge.

“Certainly, there’s some red flags here but he was met with a legalistic answer, what he needed to be met with was a compassionate and social health answer,” Tamblyn-Watts said.

With nowhere to turn, the family says they have no choice but to wait until a sheriff shows up, from there the senior may be placed in a hotel until more permanent accommodations can be found.

Sponsored content