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Old 12-14-2012, 07:06 PM   #1
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No heat for common-in-law tenant

Before I start, we need a law and civil rights forum or something like that.

So my mom owns a house with the people upstairs. She has 40% and the other has 60%. The guy upstairs temporary moved out due to some incident he had with my mom and now refuses to turn on the heat for her. He comes back maybe once a week to get his letters and stuff.

Is there anything my mom can do about this? She has a lawyer but he hasn't replied to her in about 2 weeks and I'm worried about my mom living in a cold basement.

Paid the lawyer and he's not even doing anything.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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i have no useful input, but as a temporary solution maybe have a electric heater to warm her space while her situation gets resolved so she doesn't freeze during the winter?

hope it works out for her.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:28 PM   #3
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Why I don't ever want to go into home ownership with someone other than a wife/common law, even then...
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:31 PM   #4
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I would go to home depot and buy a few area heaters. Fairly inexpensive and cheaper than a lawyer. He can't turn the electricity off now can he.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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This seems to me like something of a survivability issue. My recommendation would be calling a furnace or heating company and having a secondary thermostat installed. You'd most likely have to give the guy notice that someone was coming in to do work, but I don't think it'd be more than a phonecall.


I'm quite confused by "common-in-law tenant" though. Commonlaw is a type of non-marriage marriage, and in-law is someone I'm related to through marriage. A tenant is someone who pays rent, but the way you write your question it seems like "He owns 60% of the house and she owns 40%". Do you mean "Shared ownership residency?"
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:20 PM   #6
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Since the furnace is probably in the basement, it should be an easy matter to add a thermostat... or even just bypass the thermostat.

We had the same sort of problem years ago when we were renting a basement suite: the renters upstairs would go away for the weekend and leave the 'stats turned down and we'd freeze... even when they were just out for the day, they'd often turn the 'stat down, and most of what little heat there was would just go upstairs.

The good thing was, the furnace was in our suite, and there was a bare splice point in the thermostat wires (most of them only run 12VDC or so), so I got a little wire jumper with alligator clips on the ends... clip it across the bare wires, and the furnace turns on.

Only thing to watch out for: sometimes we'd forget, leave it going when we went out... upstairs would come home to a roasting hot suite and a furnace that wouldn't shut off when they turned the 'stat down. So then we'd get a call from the landlord, coming by to see what was wrong with the furnace... naturally the wire would be long gone by the time he got there
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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This seems to me like something of a survivability issue. My recommendation would be calling a furnace or heating company and having a secondary thermostat installed. You'd most likely have to give the guy notice that someone was coming in to do work, but I don't think it'd be more than a phonecall.


I'm quite confused by "common-in-law tenant" though. Commonlaw is a type of non-marriage marriage, and in-law is someone I'm related to through marriage. A tenant is someone who pays rent, but the way you write your question it seems like "He owns 60% of the house and she owns 40%". Do you mean "Shared ownership residency?"
I wasn't sure what to call it so yeah.
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:17 PM   #8
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So they both own the house? Is there a contract or any kind of other document that says in what situations the other party is allowed into the house? Like what happens if a pipe bursts and the water shutoff is in the basement; are you allowed to enter for maintenance or emergencies? Because if so, while this isn't an emergency per se, it doesn't seem unreasonable to get a heater tech to come in and install a secondary thermostat--especially since he or she may not even have to go upstairs.
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #9
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i have no useful input, but as a temporary solution maybe have a electric heater to warm her space while her situation gets resolved so she doesn't freeze during the winter?

hope it works out for her.
Only downside to this is the electric bill will spike. Heating by electric tends to cost a lot more than with gas.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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I think the contract states that there are certain area of the house that belongs to my mom and area where she can't go, like upstairs obviously.

They are planning on selling the house so my mom won't want to pay for any installation. The dude is suing her for not selling the house, but she never said no. She is just postponing it because she needs a place to recover after her surgery. My friend suggest that we can press charges on him for some sort of act to force my mom out of the house.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:30 PM   #11
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Yeah, see, all of those things are kind of important for the story. This now got a frakton more complicated.


Call a lawyer.
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:23 AM   #12
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See, this is why you don't marry strangers...and they are married, apparantly, through a house

This is why you need contracts that are actually useful. It's fine to have a document that says, "you own this, and I own this and you do this and I do this" but it does nothing for you. You need to sit down, long before this shit starts and say, "what happens when things go bad?" This is me rambling in general, as its too late for OP, but someone may think about this.

Maybe you have a shot gun clause(I love them) where if one person says they want to sell(pull the trigger) then the other person gets like 60 days to arrange financing to buy out the whole thing or it goes on market. Have a document that spells out what recourse you will have if you have problems. Who is the higher authority that you will turn to?

People turn to petty forms of payback when they feel that their power is being negated. I realize its not the same situation, but it happens ALL the time with tenants.

And I will tell you from that situation, I DO have experience in talking people down and it can be done. You need to walk the other party through you logic. First, they will try to talk over you, so I always make a point of shutting up and listening to them...as wrong as they may be.

Then, its my turn, and as soon as you say something, they will try to cut you off, and I make a point of saying, "hey! I listened to you, so its my turn" and do that as many times as neccessary, and then map out the logic you have, but make them get there on their own.

"we have a ownership dispute. I get that. And we're going to get to that. But I need to ask, DO YOU find it reasonable that as a result of one issue that we are having, that I have no heat?"

What are you doing? No one in their right mind(huge key here...if they aren't 'right', you be f'd) can sit there and say, "yes, That is a reasonable action, under our scenerio"

They will deflect! No one wants to hear that they are wrong. "yeah, but..."

And just keep driving the point home, whatever one you are trying to accomplish. Don't go down the "yeah but" route. And for god sakes, sheck your emotion at the door.

You will find that you end up driving the conversation. You listened to them for 30 seconds, and paid little attention and if you keep saying, "I listened to you" your turn on the floor is the rest of the conversation. Never raise you voice, and never speak of anger, and if they swear, then walk away. Its a power move.

I think you will find that a good conversation will help you immensely.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #13
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See, this is why you don't marry strangers...and they are married, apparantly, through a house

This is why you need contracts that are actually useful. It's fine to have a document that says, "you own this, and I own this and you do this and I do this" but it does nothing for you. You need to sit down, long before this shit starts and say, "what happens when things go bad?" This is me rambling in general, as its too late for OP, but someone may think about this.

Maybe you have a shot gun clause(I love them) where if one person says they want to sell(pull the trigger) then the other person gets like 60 days to arrange financing to buy out the whole thing or it goes on market. Have a document that spells out what recourse you will have if you have problems. Who is the higher authority that you will turn to?

People turn to petty forms of payback when they feel that their power is being negated. I realize its not the same situation, but it happens ALL the time with tenants.

And I will tell you from that situation, I DO have experience in talking people down and it can be done. You need to walk the other party through you logic. First, they will try to talk over you, so I always make a point of shutting up and listening to them...as wrong as they may be.

Then, its my turn, and as soon as you say something, they will try to cut you off, and I make a point of saying, "hey! I listened to you, so its my turn" and do that as many times as neccessary, and then map out the logic you have, but make them get there on their own.

"we have a ownership dispute. I get that. And we're going to get to that. But I need to ask, DO YOU find it reasonable that as a result of one issue that we are having, that I have no heat?"

What are you doing? No one in their right mind(huge key here...if they aren't 'right', you be f'd) can sit there and say, "yes, That is a reasonable action, under our scenerio"

They will deflect! No one wants to hear that they are wrong. "yeah, but..."

And just keep driving the point home, whatever one you are trying to accomplish. Don't go down the "yeah but" route. And for god sakes, sheck your emotion at the door.

You will find that you end up driving the conversation. You listened to them for 30 seconds, and paid little attention and if you keep saying, "I listened to you" your turn on the floor is the rest of the conversation. Never raise you voice, and never speak of anger, and if they swear, then walk away. Its a power move.

I think you will find that a good conversation will help you immensely.
I was hoping someone can share some advice or point me in the direction as to where I can make a complaint or if there is a board committee or something that takes care of these stuff. My friend suggested the realtor board but I don't think they deal with rights and stuff.

Thanks for the lesson on how to get your point across to your listener. But the matter at hand is much more complicated then "hey, listen..." and the person against my mom here is much stubborn and ignorant that will go "oh ok, you're right".

This guy is jerks of all jerks.

He refuses to pay anybody to cut the bushes that extends out to the sidewalk (even after city hall received complaints about it). He refuses to cut the grass, rake the leaves, and fixes anything in the house.

He wakes up every morning before my mom and purposely make noise so her dog will bark non-stop (in hopes that the neighbor will complain) because he wants my mom's dog outta there.

He complained to city hall about his fellow neighbor for installing a sundeck on their house and his neighbor had to ditch the whole renovation half way until he can get all his neighbors to sign the approval form, which he refuses to sign.

He complained to city hall when his other neighbor were having a yard sale, that everyone who went their took up parking spots around his house. And they had to stop having a yard sale until neighbors approved them.

He complained about my mom setting up a fence on the front yard and said "what if robbers climbed the fence up to the balcony and break in" after complaining how there is no protection in the front yard. And he never paid for the fence.

Complains that my mom flushes the toilet 2 - 3 times after 12 (she lives with another tenant in her suite) and made a rule that there is no flushing or using the showers after 12 as if the house is owned by him.

Called the police and accused my mom's dog of attacking him, but have no injuries to show for. My mom admit that her dog was barking at him at a very close distant and said that, if a dog sees an intruder in its house and doesn't bark, it's not a dog. And the officer agreed.

Called the police a few times for other small incident like how my mom showed threatening actions against him. I think after a few times, the cop warned him to stop calling them or they'll charge him with obstruction of justice.

Asked his sister what action to take against my mom and was suggested that he called a lawyer. Now knowing that my mom will rat him out to revenue of canada that his wife is teaching piano without business license, got paranoid and personally phoned my mom to drop the case. My mom told him that she will tell her lawyer about him calling her, which is prohibited if they have a case against each other.

I think he personally knows that if the case is taken to court, he will lose for sure because my mom never disagreed to sell the house. And he will lose more if they can prove that his wife has been teaching piano for 9 years without a license, but no work is required by my mom because his wife will be investigated or simply have to stop teaching piano (if you think she's innocent, she's just as bad as him)

His wife brings her student through my mom's house, up the stairs to hers. Usually with them wearing their shoes even on a rainy day. Bangs on the door like maniacs if its locked. And complains about my mom vacuuming up the dirt left from her students shoes because it's too loud and she can't teach piano. Complains about her dog barking at her student and even told the police that it attacked them and also have no injuries or witness (the students) to prove it.

I can go on about her... but I think you get my point.

Last edited by mr_chin; 12-18-2012 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 12-18-2012, 12:38 PM   #14
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I suppose asking how the hell your mom ever got hooked up with this ass is moot at this point... I can't imagine how charming and convincing he would have had to be to get her to agree to BUY A HOUSE TOGETHER in the first place - I wouldn't even want to do that with most of my closest friends, and certainly not without a *detailed* contract.

So here's a question: what IS there in the way of a contract? There must be SOMETHING on paper, no? How about something defining rules and boundaries? In a rental situation, even the landlord must have a renter's permission to enter the rental suite - surely the wife using your mom's portion as her own entrance to the building constitutes trespassing in some form.

I mean, it sounds like there are half a dozen ways BOTH of them could be charged civilly, if not criminally... either would probably be enough for them to either have to sell, or forfeit their share of the house. Or if your mom wanted to sink to their level, should provide more than enough ways for her to impose her will - ie. "You can buy me out for 50 cents on the dollar, or I'll tell CRA about your wife's little side business and regular trespassing through my section".
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Old 12-23-2012, 09:05 PM   #15
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I was hoping someone can share some advice or point me in the direction as to where I can make a complaint or if there is a board committee or something that takes care of these stuff. My friend suggested the realtor board but I don't think they deal with rights and stuff.

Thanks for the lesson on how to get your point across to your listener. But the matter at hand is much more complicated then "hey, listen..." and the person against my mom here is much stubborn and ignorant that will go "oh ok, you're right".

This guy is jerks of all jerks.

He refuses to pay anybody to cut the bushes that extends out to the sidewalk (even after city hall received complaints about it). He refuses to cut the grass, rake the leaves, and fixes anything in the house.

He wakes up every morning before my mom and purposely make noise so her dog will bark non-stop (in hopes that the neighbor will complain) because he wants my mom's dog outta there.

He complained to city hall about his fellow neighbor for installing a sundeck on their house and his neighbor had to ditch the whole renovation half way until he can get all his neighbors to sign the approval form, which he refuses to sign.

He complained to city hall when his other neighbor were having a yard sale, that everyone who went their took up parking spots around his house. And they had to stop having a yard sale until neighbors approved them.

He complained about my mom setting up a fence on the front yard and said "what if robbers climbed the fence up to the balcony and break in" after complaining how there is no protection in the front yard. And he never paid for the fence.

Complains that my mom flushes the toilet 2 - 3 times after 12 (she lives with another tenant in her suite) and made a rule that there is no flushing or using the showers after 12 as if the house is owned by him.

Called the police and accused my mom's dog of attacking him, but have no injuries to show for. My mom admit that her dog was barking at him at a very close distant and said that, if a dog sees an intruder in its house and doesn't bark, it's not a dog. And the officer agreed.

Called the police a few times for other small incident like how my mom showed threatening actions against him. I think after a few times, the cop warned him to stop calling them or they'll charge him with obstruction of justice.

Asked his sister what action to take against my mom and was suggested that he called a lawyer. Now knowing that my mom will rat him out to revenue of canada that his wife is teaching piano without business license, got paranoid and personally phoned my mom to drop the case. My mom told him that she will tell her lawyer about him calling her, which is prohibited if they have a case against each other.

I think he personally knows that if the case is taken to court, he will lose for sure because my mom never disagreed to sell the house. And he will lose more if they can prove that his wife has been teaching piano for 9 years without a license, but no work is required by my mom because his wife will be investigated or simply have to stop teaching piano (if you think she's innocent, she's just as bad as him)

His wife brings her student through my mom's house, up the stairs to hers. Usually with them wearing their shoes even on a rainy day. Bangs on the door like maniacs if its locked. And complains about my mom vacuuming up the dirt left from her students shoes because it's too loud and she can't teach piano. Complains about her dog barking at her student and even told the police that it attacked them and also have no injuries or witness (the students) to prove it.

I can go on about her... but I think you get my point.
Some people are just assholes. I find about 20% in my line of work.

Sadly, there is no "authority" that you can appeal to that is going to sort out this mess for you. If it was a rental, then there are all kinds of people that are happy to get their nose in your shit for you and sort it out.

As your mom is in an unusual situation, you are going to have to treat it like an unusual situation.

First, you do need to talk to the guy. If it were my situation, I'd go armed with a piece of paper that has your position on it. You will do the following things. You will NOT do the following things. I will do and won't do...you get the point.

At that point, no matter where you need to take it, you have a paper that says, "I tried". And honestly, you may need to lawyer up.

When you are talking to the guy, and you say, "here's my idea of reason" and he says no, then tell him, we may need a lawyer. It doesn't even need to be movie style, federal law type lawyer, but it can be a mediator or whatever.

And I'm going to assume that he has a list equally long regarding your mom, so don't approach this from a righteous point of view.
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