Tenant (probably) stuck in Toronto prison and time keeps dragging on...
March 27, 2014 5:34 PM   Subscribe

How can I find someone who is currently awaiting trial or in jail in Toronto?

My former tenant, who owes me a lot of money (i.e., back rent, cleaning fee, cost of repairs) has disappeared. He was arrested in early January of this year. As of late January he was out on bail and had to remain with his surety and so was no longer living in the basement apartment of my house, though his stuff was still all there and he had left it a disgusting filthy mess. He promised to pick up his stuff, clean up the worst of the mess, and start paying me some money every month until what he owed me was paid. But he did not do so, and I haven't heard from him since January 28. The only contact info I have for him is an email address, and I emailed him three times in February asking him to pick up his stuff but received no reply. I will be filing a small claims court case against him once the apartment repairs are all completed and I have the total of what it cost, but for the purposes of the lawsuit and of communicating with him, I would like to find out where he is, whether he's in jail, what the charges are, and how long he's likely to remain in jail. How can I find this out? I do have his social insurance number, if that helps.
posted by orange swan to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well how did you find him the last time you asked this question? And how is this situation different?
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:06 PM on March 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Call all the jails, call anyone remotely related to him whose number you have - his surety, his family, his previous employer, did he give any references when he first signed the lease?

Do you actually need to communicate with him? It seems to me that you're going to end up suing him anyway. So when you have filed the papers just engage a process server to serve him. Where I am you can also get the bailiff/sheriff to serve, at additional cost of course.

Also it might be worth a consult with a lawyer re what you can and can't do with his stuff.
posted by pianissimo at 7:17 PM on March 27, 2014

If you think he'd be (or might be) in the federal system (sentenced for 2 years or more), contact Correctional Services Canada.

If not, probably call Toronto East/West.

If you think there's been an actual case (rather than just a bail hearing) done, then you could always try putting his name into CanLii, although it's unlikely to work.

Just to confirm, when you two made your agreement(s), did you sign a form N11 (Agreement to Terminate a Tenancy)? Or if not, have you filed an L2 (Application to Evict) based on their abandonment? Because otherwise it's very possible that the small claims court is going to say that they don't have jurisdiction and it needs to go before the LTB.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:20 PM on March 27, 2014

I don't have an official signed agreement to terminate the tenancy. What I have is a Facebook convo in which he agreed he was giving it up as of March 1st and how much he owed me in back rent. When I emailed him about picking up his stuff those three times I also told him I needed him to sign the termination agreement, but of course it never happened. But I do have that conversation and he hasn't lived in the apartment for nearly three months now, so I consider I can show that his tenancy has been terminated as per our agreement as of March 1st.
posted by orange swan at 8:00 PM on March 27, 2014

Did you give him a deadline for when his stuff had to be removed? If he's passed it, go ahead and toss his things.

Every where I've rented in the US it's been made clear that cleaning fees were taken out of my security deposit if the place wasn't broom clean when I left.
posted by brujita at 8:38 PM on March 27, 2014

Well how did you find him the last time you asked this question? And how is this situation different?

Last time I made two phone calls before locating him in the Toronto West Detention Centre. This situation is different because last time I knew he was in custody (the police told me when I tried to report him missing) and this time I don't know where he is.

Call all the jails, call anyone remotely related to him whose number you have - his surety, his family, his previous employer, did he give any references when he first signed the lease?

I do not have any information regarding his surety. He formerly worked for his father's company. I have contacted a couple of members of his family previously and they basically don't consider this is their concern at all and wouldn't give me his contact info even if they had it. He gave a few references of former landlords when he applied for the apartment and they wouldn't have any idea of where he is.

Since his tenancy is terminated, his belongings are now legally mine to do with as I like (Ontario law is that any property left behind after the end of a tenancy becomes the property of the landlord). I can show I've made every reasonable effort to get him to pick up his stuff, and I am neither able nor willing to store it for him, though I might keep some of his papers for him.
posted by orange swan at 8:56 PM on March 27, 2014

It's probably still worth calling all of the jails even if you don't 100% know that he's incarcerated. The worst that will happen is that they'll say they don't have any record of him. I know it will be a pain, but it's the first thing I'd try, if it were me.

You say he's definitely had some sort of hearing. Do you know which court it was? Did he have a lawyer? If you call the court they'll be able to tell you what info is available on their public record. It might give you his lawyer's name, maybe even the charges and the date of the next hearing. The lawyer probably isn't going to give you his contact details, but might pass a message on.

(IMHO though, you're done talking. He's not exactly a reliable guy. Figure out if he's worth suing, and if so then do it. If not, then as grating as it is, you'd be better off moving on with your life than pursuing a lawsuit.)
posted by pianissimo at 10:50 PM on March 27, 2014

How can this guy be worth suing? He's in jail. I really doubt he is going to care about having a judgment against him, let alone PAYING one. He sounds like the very definition of judgement proof.
posted by saradarlin at 11:41 PM on March 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I hate to say this, but if I were you I would drop this one. Dump his stuff - yeah, you will probably have to pay to have it all taken away - clean the place up and move on. You are never going to see that money and you are probably never going to see him again. You can take him to small claims court all you want - I seriously doubt he has it and my guess is he never will. All you will have accomplished is making yourself miserable.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know what court my tenant had his hearing in.

I don't know what my tenant has done, but although this may sound naive I can't believe he's done anything of a nature that will warrant life imprisonment. My guess is that if he goes to jail at all he'll only be in jail for a few months, or at the most a few years at the most, and then he'll get out and get some kind of job. My thinking is that I'll eventually be able to recover at least some of the money he owes me. It's a lot of money for me and it seems worth the risk of the relatively minor cost of filing a court case to at least try to get it back. And at least I'll know I did everything I could to get him to pay.

I have had several people to tell me to write it off because I'll never get a penny, and I know that this is a sensible viewpoint and there's a good chance I won't, but I just can't stand the idea of letting him walk away scot-free. At least if I haul his ass into court there will be some consequences for him — he has to face me and a judge.
posted by orange swan at 8:16 AM on March 28, 2014

He may have skipped town to avoid both jail and his debts. Is it possible to effectively sue someone if they can't be served with notice?
posted by citygirl at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2014

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