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A Charlottetown tenant has successfully had a third consecutive eviction notice overturned.
Mengzhou Gong was informed on March 13 that a third eviction order issued by his landlord, Sammi Zhang, would be annulled. The province’s Office of the Director of Residential Properties had thrown out two other eviction notices issued to Gong earlier this year, claiming the orders were not issued in good faith.
Gong claimed the third order, like the previous two, was due to a dispute over allowable increases to his rent. Gong had disputed an increase to his rent last December on the grounds that the amount would have exceeded legal rent increases.
“It’s almost like they’re harassing me,” Gong said. “It’s an abuse of the system, obviously.”
In a written decision, rental property officer Andrew Cudmore stated Zhang had claimed the reason for the most recent eviction notice was to allow her to live in the unit. Zhang claimed she was in the process of overseeing the construction of another home and required the use of the unit to live in during this process.
But Cudmore noted that Zhang had claimed the need to occupy the apartment as her reason for the first eviction notice issued by Gong on Jan. 1, 2019.
Cudmore stated that the first eviction notice was overturned and that the most recent notice was “an attempt to re-litigate” the previous ruling. He found that this amounted to “an abuse of process” and declared the most recent eviction notice invalid.
Zhang had admitted to Cudmore during a previous tenancy hearing that “part of” the reason for the initial eviction notice issued to Gong was related to the dispute over the rent increase.
Cudmore also noted that an Air Canada flight itinerary was submitted by Zhang as evidence of her plans to travel and reside in P.E.I. Gong also submitted a flight booking search for the dates Zhang identified. This search noted the flight booking had been cancelled.
The ruling on the second eviction notice issued to Gong by Zhang dealt with a number of complaints of Gong’s conduct as a tenant, ranging from damage to the property to his upkeep of a garage attached to the unit. Zhang had claimed Gong needed to vacate the premises as a result, but Cudmore ruled that eviction was not necessary in order to carry out repairs.
Gong said the three-month dispute with his landlord has affected his mental health as well as his work life. In order to attend IRAC hearings, he has had to take time off from his work.
Although there are no more eviction notices pending, he said he has not been informed by staff at the Office of Residential Properties of any regulation which would prohibit his landlord from continuing to file further orders.
“The system is questionable. It has to be stopped at a certain point,” Gong said.