Roommate or tenant? The issue is at the heart of a leasing dispute in Ontario that has led to a viral video

A bitter argument between two people who lived in the same house in London, Ontario has gone viral on video, fueled by resentment and anger directed at landlords in Ontario’s highly competitive real estate market.

Mikayla Koevoets has rented part of a three-bedroom house in east London with a shared kitchen and shower for $900 a month for 18 months. The 27-year-old social worker said she moved on April 25 after the man she was renting from asked her to leave the house this summer so his fiancee could move in.

Koevoets searched for an apartment for weeks, but eventually moved into her mother-in-law’s basement because she couldn’t find an apartment in her price range.

“It was absolutely brutal,” she said. “I would go to an apartment every day and get kicked out by people who wouldn’t show up. There was one unit I loved. I applied that night, and apparently three others people too, and I was outbid for unity.”

Unit up to $300 more than she paid

“I offered $1,100,” she said. “People are bidding on apartments.”

Koevoets said on May 10 she saw her old apartment listed online. It was for rent for $1,200 a month, $300 more than she paid when she lived there just over two weeks ago.

“I was absolutely speechless,” she said. “That feeling of being cheated, of being lied to. I took it personally.”

Less than an hour after discovering it, she created a video on TikTok. The story begins with Koevoets making a rude gesture at the door of his old apartment, and since being posted on the social media platform, the video has racked up tens of thousands of likes and over a thousand likes. comments.

I was absolutely speechless. This feeling of being cheated, of being lied to, I took it personally.-Mikayla Koevoets

“It’s a bit bloated,” she said of the video, adding that many of the comments suggested that what the man she was praising to wasn’t right.

Except that’s not how he sees it. CBC News agreed not to publish the man’s name or the location of his home due to concerns for his own personal safety.

He said that since the video was posted, he has received online abuse and threats.

Owner receives ‘flat from bad’ feedback

“It’s not pretty stuff to read,” he said. “I see purely evil comments that have nothing to do with anything, like, ‘Oh, hope her house doesn’t burn down’ or ‘I hope her relationship crumbles’.”

“People email me saying, ‘I hope your business collapses.’ There are posts on Facebook saying, “I don’t want to live here because you’re like a mean landlord.”

“I’m worried about my safety. You don’t know what the crazies are on the internet, saying your address, saying, ‘I wonder what would happen if his house burned down?'”

The man said he repeatedly asked Koevoets to remove the video, but she refused.

“I don’t want to hurt her. I’ve kindly asked several times,” he said. “I don’t want to pursue this legally, but maybe I should.”

I’m worried about my safety. You don’t know what crazy people are on the internet.– Owner-lessor

The owner of the house, who is a paralegal by training, maintains that under the law Koevoets was never his tenant even though she was paying rent. The couple shared a shower and a kitchen, so he maintains they were roommates under Ontario Residential Tenancies Act.

Not ‘a standard landlord-tenant relationship’

“It’s not a standard landlord-tenant relationship; it’s a strictly shared space,” he said, adding that he could have asked her to leave whenever he wanted for any reason.

“It could be as simple as, ‘I’m not happy with you as a roommate, please leave.'”

The man said he was looking for a short-term tenant while he worked out his future with his fiancée, and he only raised the rent after Koevoets told him what the going rate was in London.

“It’s actually indicative of what she said to me. She was like, ‘Wow. I can’t find anything under $1,300,'” he said. “There is a high demand. Anyone in my position would do the same.

“It’s none of her business what price I choose to put. She chose to leave.”

She could have a remote case, lawyer says

While she chose to leave, when Koevoets initially signed her lease, the landlord did not live inside the house, which could mean she has a case, albeit a distant one, according to Ian Dantzer.

Ian Dantzer, review attorney with Community Legal Services run by Western University Law School, says Koevoets can have a lawsuit against the landlord, but it depends on how the rental was advertised and other factors. (Western Law/Western University)

The lawyer from London, Ont., is a reviewing counsel for Community Legal Services at Western University, a student legal clinic that helps with legal aid cases, including landlord and tenant disputes.

“The only possibility is that she knew about sharing a bathroom or kitchen with the landlord before she moved in. Was it advertised like that? Was it promoted like that? Was it explained like that ?

“If she can establish that she didn’t know about it, if she can establish that she did, then maybe she can make a claim and ask for a bad faith claim for him renting the apartment and does not actually use it for possession.”