How do I deal with the (possibly benignly neglectful, possibly dickish) behaviour of my ex-landlords? My phone is ringing quite a lot these days.
I devoted an AskMe to the antics of my erstwhile landlords, the Shady Brothers, once before
(when the heat went out in our building in the depths of an Ottawa February) and my co-habitant Wendy BD also asked one when they were treating our hospitalized neighbour across the hall shabbily
(by giving away his cat, in fact).
We moved away a year ago. In Ontario, you typically pay first and last month's rent on a rental unit. I did so five years earlier but the landlords claimed they had no record of this, so at my own expense I had my bank dig up a copy of the cashed cheque. (When pressed, they admitted that they knew I had paid first and last, but wanted me to show proof.) I then pressed them for the interest on the deposit, which took about ten months for them to pony up.
So: we are now 400 km away, halfway across the province, and well clear of the Shady Brothers. I thought. Lately I have been getting a lot of odd voicemails on my cell phone -- messages like, "Brian, I am downstairs," and "Hey, Joe, we're here," At the same time, I started getting apparent prank calls from the rental office of the building we used to live in: my phone would ring but when I answered, there would be no one there.
It was not until I managed to get someone calling my phone last week that I sorted out what had happened. A woman asked for Brian, I asked what number she had dialed, and she told me 0-0-4-8. We talked for a moment and I realized she was standing in the lobby of my old building.
A call to the landlords revealed that yes, they had replaced the old buzzers in that building (where you pressed the buzzer marked 803 to reach apartment 803, for example) with a newer system where you dial a code and it rings the tenant's phone.
Trouble is, of course, that they have used my cell phone as the number for one or possibly two apartments. And as I am now long distance from there, it costs me a bit of money every time I answer the phone to tell callers they have not reached the apartments of their friends Brian or Joe. Of course, I could just not answer at all, but no reason to have Brian and Joe wondering where the hell their friends are and why they keep insisting they came by and buzzed but there was nobody home.
Calls come at all hours -- 1:15 AM being the latest call, and my phone company says they have no way to block a number. They suggested I either change my number or else just turn the ringer off at night. (Incidentally, a bit of Googling revealed that this phone carrier has apparently told customers who are being stalked and harassed to just not answer the phone when they do not know who is calling -- useful!)
So, a brief talk with one of the Shady Brothers late last week resulted in promises of getting this fixed right away, but I am still getting calls as of this morning (two in the last hour). Thing is, these are jokers who have left tenants shivering in the dark for a week, lost track of rent cheques that have already been cashed and tried to get second rents out of tenants, given away the pets of hospitalized tenants to avoid the hassle of feeding them, avoided repairs for years on end, posted notices saying that if you are stuck in the elevator on the weekend, you should settle in and the service guy will come on Monday morning... I have zero reason to believe they will fix this any time soon.
I am keeping track of all the calls -- as they are on my cell phone, the times, dates and durations are all there. Any suggestions for how to proceed?