Not being able to make rent in Toronto is a very real thing. But one man, known as a “professional tenant,” has gotten away with skipping out on the monthly payments for two years.
James Regan did not pay rent at three high-end addresses between November 2014 and November 2016, CBC reports. On Tuesday, he was convicted on three counts of fraud over $5,000.
The 64-year-old has earned a reputation as a notorious rent thief in Toronto. His professional, well-dressed demeanour helped him fool landlords into thinking he was a person of influence.
“One of the great Canadian swindlers, he’s drifted penniless into the upper class on audacity, legal chicanery, and empty talk,” wrote investigative journalist Michael Lista for The Walrus in 2017.
— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) June 25, 2019
Regan was initially charged by police in August 2017 after several property owners filed complaints. Now that he’s been found guilty of fraud, he will remain in custody until his court sentencing on July 29.
Regan is no stranger to making headlines. Not only has he been accused of not paying rent, but he’s also been caught up in a number of other scams. The con man allegedly did not pay for $16,000 worth of furniture and failed to return a new car to a dealership when his credit application didn’t go through. Regan also allegedly used a man’s credit card without permission, racking up more than $700 in charges.
Each case was determined to be civil matters by Toronto police and Regan was never charged.
So, what happens if you actually can’t afford rent?
Rent in Toronto is only getting higher. That’s why it’s not hard to believe that some tenants aren’t always able to make their first-of-the-month payments.
If this happens, your landlord could serve you a Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent (N4 form). This can be served as early as one day after the late payment. If rent is paid within 14 days of receiving this notice, then the N4 form will be nulled.
However, if rent is not paid within the 14-day timeframe, you could potentially be evicted, depending on how your landlord wants to resolve the issue. They have the option of applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to make you pay or to have you evicted.
Landlords could also report your late rent to a credit agency, which could affect your credit score, Ontario law site Steps To Justice reports.