Monday, June 11, 2018

An Update on The Situation in Apartment 15

I need to begin by stating the following:

- The situation in the apartment has not changed since my previous communication.
- That is, the second-hand marijuana (and, now, tobacco) smoke coming from the downstairs tenant remains constant & oppressive, and is continuing to affect my enjoyment of the space, my quality of life & ultimately my health. This unit remains uninhabitable.
- As you have refused to make a good faith effort to address the problem, you remain negligent under the appropriate case law.
- As you remain negligent, you remain liable for property damage resulting from the tenant’s behaviour & you remain responsible for providing me with moving costs to get me out of the unit.
- Further, I still want to move out of this unit as soon as is possible.

What has changed are questions around the feasibility of a plan to move until questions are answered about the depth of the new government’s pending cuts to social assistance. I live on disability due to severe concerns around my mental health, and specifically an inability to exist in social settings without behaving erratically due to stress (“social anxiety disorder”). I simply can’t handle the stress inherent in what most people consider normal social interactions. You can make appeals to whatever ideals you want, but it won’t prevent me from becoming episodic. The working reality is that I am of little threat to myself so long as I am able to avoid situations where I’m forced to interact with the people around me, but I have a history of conflict with the people around me and of being terminated within weeks of being hired due to conflicts with employees and management - my disability is hard, and there is little chance of me ever entering the workforce again. I just need to avoid people, that’s all there is to it. I think my tenancy has reinforced the point: I can’t deal with living with another tenant that doesn’t care about the consequences that her behaviour is having on me, and thinks she has some kind of right to make me miserable and sick. My contempt for this woman is astronomical.

On June 7th, the people of Ontario elected a majority conservative government on a non-platform of undisclosed cuts to social services. As no actual plan for cuts has been released, other than a pledge to do a “line by line audit in search of ‘efficiencies’”, it is unclear how deep the cuts to my income are going to be. However, if one is to take the previous conservative government as precedent, cuts of upwards to 50% should be expected. It is impossible for me to sign a lease at this point, until exact numbers are determined.

I understand that uncertainty is a fact of life, but this is how people react to uncertainty: they have to change plans, they have to downsize, they have to make due with what they have. I desperately want out of this unit. Over the last several years, I have placed a primary importance on my health. I changed my diet in 2015 to be more healthy, I quit smoking at the beginning of 2016 and I rediscovered my bicycle in 2017. But, I am now unfortunately left in a situation where I have no choice but to compromise my physical health to maintain my mental well-being, until more information is available.

I do not have a driver’s license; I’ve never driven a car before. I decided when I was a teenager that cars were destroying the planet, and I would do my part to counteract that by relying on alternate means of transportation. In hindsight, it would have probably been unsafe to let me drive, anyways, as the social anxiety would have likely led me to road rage: I would not have been able to deal with rude drivers. Over the years, I’ve held to this moral decision as best as I can. While I don’t exactly regret that decision, it means that moving is a very expensive and difficult process, now that my father is dead (and my disability prevents me from meeting friends). The reality is that I am going to need to hire movers, so I am going to require hundreds of dollars in costs to move. The city runs a service, but I used it to move in here less than a year ago and am not likely to be approved again so quickly.

So, let us suppose that I move to another apartment on August 1st, as was my plan, and the government cuts my benefits by 50% on Oct 1st. That is almost certainly going to mean I’ll need to move a second time - or that I’ll end up homeless, altogether. It is going to be hard enough to find costs to move once, and I insist they will eventually come from you; finding moving costs a second time is an impossibility. I must wait, whether I like it or not - and whether you like it or not, as well.

I will state this yet again: I want to move out of this apartment as soon as I possibly can. Right now, “as soon as i possibly can” means “as soon as the government announces the numbers attached to it’s plan to cut disability payments”. So, I can commit to starting this process a second time within days of that announcement. But, I cannot sign a lease at this time, because I have no idea how deep the cuts are going to be.

As such, I regret to inform you that I will be suspending the application I previously filed, SWT-16361-18, to ask the court to sever the existing lease. While I will need to appear at the hearing, it will only be to explain the situation to the judge in order to cancel it. I will bring a copy of this letter to the hearing. I may or may not launch a second application once the cuts are announced, depending on whether you co-operate with me or not - I will need to determine what the best step forwards is when that happens.

The lease remains in force, and I expect to go month-to-month after that until the situation is clarified, if it takes that long for it to be clarified. This is not ideal for anybody, but it is necessary given the circumstances.

I understand that you may want to react to this letter by attempting to evict me, in which case I would request that you wait. As mentioned, I am unhappy here and want to move - but i can’t, or not yet. As i want to move, but cannot, i will have little choice to fight any eviction attempts to the full extent that i can - including launching appeals to the divisional court. When you can’t do something, that means you can’t do it - even if you really, really want to. Further, I am certain to react to an eviction attempt by launching a human rights complaint, which I am acting with restraint in not filing as it is. Attempting to evict me is going to cost you thousands of dollars that you’ll never recoup - and is likely to fail, at that. As I want to leave anyways, it is in your self-interest to co-operate with me in waiting until the cuts are announced and then settling for costs, which is what I’ve been requesting all along.

For what it’s worth, I voted for the greens.

In the meantime, I have requested repairs to the unit and received no response on it. I am re-printing that letter.