A Charlottetown tenant is facing a second eviction order after a previous order was overturned by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
Mengzhou Gong, a 29-year technical service manager at Device Doctor on St. Peters Road, said he was handed a notice of termination of his rental agreement on Jan. 29, his second that month. This was the same day an IRAC rental property officer threw out another eviction order issued on Jan. 1 by his landlord, Sammi Zhang. The officer found Zhang had failed to prove that the eviction order had been issued in good faith.
“Right after the hearing, right before we leave the hearing room, they gave me the second eviction notice,” Gong told The Guardian.
On Gong’s current eviction notice, he has been ordered to move out of the apartment he and his girlfriend share by April 29.
Gong appealed the second order as well and is now waiting on a decision from IRAC. His landlord, meanwhile, has also appealed the decision to throw out the first eviction order.
Gong previously told The Guardian the initial eviction, issued in December, had been issued after he had informed Zhang that a proposed $100 rent increase was higher than what is allowed under IRAC’s regulations. Gong believes his eviction orders were issued in retaliation for this.
"Ever since we had the argument about the price, everything started there. Clearly, it's about the money," Gong said.
Rent can only be increased between 1.5 and 2 per cent per year in P.E.I. The $100 rent increase would have been a 10.5 per cent increase.
The eviction order claimed Gong had caused damage to a bathtub in the unit, which caused leakage in another rental unit.
In his order, rental property officer Andrew Cudmore stated Zhang had admitted that the rent dispute had been “part of” the reason for the eviction order. Cudmore also wrote Zhang had not included details of planned renovations to the unit with the eviction notice, as required by the Rental of Residential Property Act.
“The Officer finds that the lessor has not established, on a balance of probabilities, that the proposed renovations are so extensive that they genuinely cannot be carried out while the lessee remains living in the premises,” read the Cudmore’s order.
Cudmore also noted Gong claimed the leak from the bathtub had been fixed before he was issued the eviction order.
The newest eviction order lists damage to the premises, planned renovation and impacts on other tenants as reasons for the order. The order also states Zhang plans to move into the unit and that renovations are required before the end of March.
However, the property has been recently listed for sale on Century21.ca.
Zhang has also issued a notice of intention to keep the full amount of Gong’s damage deposit, $950 in all. The notice claims information listing the repair costs of the damaged bathtub was delivered to Gong.
Gong said Zhang has claimed his cars are blocking another tenants’ access to the driveway. Gong said he has three vehicles parked in the driveway, but that this was not identified as an issue prior to the rental dispute. He has since sold one of the vehicles.
“She's threatening me that she's going to tow my car and just throw my stuff out," Gong said.
A representative for IRAC said the agency could not comment directly on matters related to tenant hearings but noted that a decision about an appeal of a director’s order would be made by the commission.
In an email, Zhang said the damage to the unit below Gong’s was fixed in November but said the damage to the bathtub was costly.
“The bathtub cracking became a big hole (that needed) to be totally replaced and the ceiling needed to be fixed and repainted. It cost much more money because (Gong) didn’t report (it),” Zhang wrote in an email.
“We respect every honest person and we could be generous to everyone without any bias but not to a LIAR.”