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Police charge landlord with mischief in dispute with tenant

Tenant says she's elated her former landlord is 'facing the music' after having her possessions disposed, illegal eviction
Brei Twa was suddenly evicted from her Newmarket home, with her former landlord now facing criminal charges.

Aurora resident Brei Twa has had a difficult time with housing in recent months.

Forced out of the tenuous rooming situation in Newmarket at the start of February before a planned move-out date, she found herself sleeping in her car temporarily while she worked out a living arrangement. It was the culmination of months of tension between her and her landlord, during which she said she faced unjust attempts to remove her vehicle and belongings.

After months of dispute, she said she received a call from York Regional Police with mixed feelings. Her landlord is facing two charges of mischief.

“I’m elated, basically,” she said, but added that “there wasn’t as many (charges) as there should be, but it’s a start and it will help me when it comes to civil action.”

York Regional Police confirmed two charges of mischief now before the courts, but with the investigation ongoing, said it could not disclose details. 

Twa said the charges related to her landlord disposing of her property intentionally and locking her out of the room on a day she had the legal right to be there.

The charges have not yet been tested in a court of law.

Twa alleged that her landlord had mistreated her, recounting that she initially agreed to a rent hike for utilities. But after not agreeing to what Twa described as random extra costs, their relationship soured. That led to the landlord taking actions like trying to get her vehicle towed out of the driveway repeatedly.

They worked out a date for a move at the end of February, Twa said. But the landlord locked her out before then, ending the living situation early. 

After all the difficulty, Twa said she does plan to pursue her legal rights.

“It’s about time. There’s a time you can only get away with so much crap and then you have to face the music,” she said. “You can’t abuse vulnerable people in society, and think because you’re a landlord, you can do whatever, carte blanche, you want.”

NewmarketToday reached the landlord for comment, who said she was going to sue Twa, alleging theft. She then said on advice of her counsel, she would not respond further. 

Twa said she has found a stable housing situation now.

For other tenants out there, she said she hopes they do not have to go through what she did.

“The sad part is, it’s hard for me to suggest anything because most people, I assume don’t have the knowledge or the finances to look at the legal aspect of it,” she said.

Talking about her story on social media, Twa said she has spoken with those who feel a landlord has a right to handle their home as they wish.

But Twa said that does not mean they can ignore a tenant’s rights. She said homeowners who behave well will not run into situations with criminal charges.

“You can’t violate somebody’s rights. You can’t do whatever,” Twa said. “If you’re a good homeowner and a good landlord and renting out rooms, and you don’t do what this lady did, then you have nothing to worry about.” 

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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