FIRST of all I'd like to say I haven't put any names so I don't get sued for slander or something (even though it is all true).
I've been looking for an apartment for 2.5-3 months. Last week I came across an ad in the paper and phoned. The apartment was 2 bed/2bath, bubble tub, ground floor, deck, 5 appli, fireplace, hardwood floors, recently reno, and happen to be located right across the street from our current place which was perfect because we really (I especially) like where we are now location wise.
I made an appointment to see the place the next day at noon.
Monday we see the place and it is exactly what we had been looking for. The tenant was showing the place, and I immediately asked him for applications which we filled out. The other two people also asked for applications, though one did not leave a deposit check, and the other took the application with them. I phoned the landlord and said we had filled in the application and wanted to know what would be best to do with it, and he said he would come meet us right away. We told the tenant that the landlord was coming to meet us, and the tenant gave us the other persons application to give to him (which I did first thing). The landlord meets with us, looks over our applications, asks us a few questions, asked if we realized the rent at the apartment was a lot more than we were currently paying (of course we know, but we can afford it!), and then he said that everything looked good and that he would write up a lease and we would meet Wednesday at noon to sign it. I was thrilled. Finally after 3 months of stress and inconvenience looking for an apartment, we had found the perfect one.
Tuesday I call the landlord early evening to confirm our meeting to sign the lease.
Wednesday We go over to meet with the landlord and he says, "sorry, I think you'd be uncomfortable paying for rent here after paying less and I've rented it to someone else". This was hugely insulting, and as far as we could tell, he had not even bothered to phone anyone on our application.
Shortly after leaving him, I phoned and said I had a question about the apartment, and he asked if and when I had seen it, before telling me it was rented. I said I had called to ask if by rented he meant he was considering an application (which is what some property management places say), or if the lease had been signed. He said it was leased.
Thursday we see from across the street, people being shown into that apartment and the landlord hanging around. my supervisor comes in to work and asks how it went, and then said there was a super helpful website dealing with things landlords can and cannot do... so I thought maybe I would look into it. I ended up at this place: http://www.equalityrights.org/cera/ and I talked to them... and they said that the reason the landlord gave for rejecting the application happens to be illegal.
Friday CERA calls the landlord and asks about the apartment first, which he says is rented. They asked him why our application was rejected and he says it was because of the situation that the tenant was breaking lease, the tenant had gone and rented it to someone on Wednesday morning. The lease was signed by them on Thursday.
Now, I want to go back and fill in some more details.
Monday, one of the other people looking at the apartment happens to be the boyfriend of someone I have been emailing and exchanging information on different rentals because we were both looking for the same type of thing in the same price range. I can't see that they would reject a rental that would be perfect for us, however we reject some rentals only because the layout does not work for us... in which case I would let them know the details on it in case they were interested in pursuing it. They were obviously interested in this apartment as well, but they were also waiting to hear back from another apartment they had seen that was PERFECT for them. When we met with the landlord we asked him if the tenant was breaking lease, because it is not usual (although it happens) that the tenant shows the apartment. The landlord said that yes, he was allowing the tenant to break lease... and that was all he said on it.
Tuesday, the boyfriend has his application picked up by the tenant, and the tenant tells him that our application had been turned down. I'm not sure what all exacly he said. Note that the landlord says nothing about that when I phone him to confirm our appointment later that day. The girl I've been emailing says that Tuesday night she phoned and was talking to the landlord, and he said they would talk more once he saw their application.
Wednesday morning, supposedly when the tenant goes ahead and rents it to someone else, but no lease is signed. Note Wednesday aft is when we met with the landlord again. 5 min before walking over I get an e-mail from the gf saying that the tenant told them we were turned down for the apartment.
Thursday supposedly when the new tenants signed the lease. This is the day that I got in touch with CERA. They asked me questions and said they would phone the landlord the next day.
Friday, CERA calls me to tell me they phoned the landlord. He said he was sorry.. something something.. (I'm hoping CERA will send it to me in writing)... I'm not sure exactly how the questions and responses were worded... but the overall message was that it had nothing to do with the rent amount, but because the tenant rented it to someone else. I got the feeling that he was very nice and apologetic when talking to CERA.
Let me ask, If we were actually rejected because of the tenant already renting it to someone else why:
1. Why was the tenant handing over all the applications to the landlord and not reviewing them himself, or telling us that he was the one who was renting it.
2. Why did the landlord also not tell us that it was up to the tenant to choose.
3. The landlord said he was letting the tenant break lease, not that he was letting the tenant sublet. If I understand correctly, subletting is when the tenant chooses the new tenants.
4. Why did the landlord not communicate to the tenant that he had "rented" it to us, and that we had an appointment to sign the lease?
5. If we did not get the apartment only because the tenant had rented it to someone else already, then why was the tenant telling the bf that we were turned down on TUESDAY when picking up the bf APPLICATION when the landlord told CERA the place was rented to the other people WEDNESDAY morning.
6. The landlord told CERA basically that we were not rejected, but because of circumstances we didn't get it... then why was the tenant telling the bf that we were TURNED DOWN?
7. Even if it were legal to turn us down for the reason that he gave us, he did not give us any opportunity to explain ourselves, nor to our knowledge did he do a credit check (both of ours are great), or phone landlords or employers for references. FYI CERA said that the only reason that landlords can reject an application is based on either the credit check or the references (at lease in Ontario)... however if they have a whole stack of applications they can choose who they want, as long as they don't reject whoever they want for discriminatory reasons.
Since he did not admit to the reason he gave us, even though I'm not sure CERA asked him directly what reason he gave us, CERA said at this point if we wanted to submit a complaint that we would need to get third party to come forward. CERA themselves are one, because of the things that he told them over the phone, and the others being the bf/gf who I asked for more details, but have not heard from since Thursday afternoon even though I sent them an update, and recommended a couple more apts for them to see... their side of the story questions the timeline that the landlord gave CERA. The only other option is to have a third party (as a witness) call the tenant on our behalf and ask for his story and see how it matches with the landlords.
OK, and there is the option of just letting him get away with it, which takes up less of our time I suppose. The thing is I guess... if it had been any other apartment we would have been like "oh well, it sucked anyways", shake the dust off our feet and move on to better places... actually we had said that before when another landlord had discouraged us from filling out an application... but the fact that the apartment was perfect in almost every way, combined with the landlord basically saying that it was ours, then insulting us and lying about it.... would this be the singular time the landlord has ever acted this way? Could our pursuing it stop him from doing the same to someone else in the future? We also risk that pursuing this may put a black mark on us with other landlords if they knew of it.
What do you think???