an ideal option for landlord-tenant disputes
Tenants and landlords caught up in disputes should consider paralegal services to
help find a resolution, Ottawa paralegal Amri Murray tells AdvocateDaily.com.
A paralegal could offer different options and
levels of service for either tenants or a landlord ,
says Murray, principal of AJ Murray Legal Services. “As trained legal
who are regulated by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), we are licensed to speak at
the Landlord and Tenant Board.”
Murray says paralegals are specifically trained to handle
tribunal and board matters, as well as small claims court lawsuits.
These are key areas where paralegals are
typically quite adept and ready to provide guidance ,
The Hamilton Spectator reports that the dispute involved
post-secondary students who alleged they were "threatened and intimidated" after
posting negative reviews about an off-campus landlord and his property and claimed
they were told he would reveal their personal information online if they did not
remove the "fake" comments.
The allegations included threats of lawsuits and a suggestion
from the landlord that he would tell future landlords of one student that she was a
terrible tenant, the newspaper reports.
The students also claimed that they had difficulty recovering
their security deposits, according to the report.
This is an issue that could be brought before
the Landlord and Tenant Board , she says.
Murray says if the landlord can prove that what is being
alleged is inaccurate, then a paralegal may be able to assist in obtaining a remedy.
The option in this case for a landlord could
possibly be filing a claim through the small claims court , she says.
The landlord would need to prove damages consequent to the
negative reviews, Murray says.
If a landlord is going to assert they have
suffered a financial loss because of online posts, they need evidence. You must be
able to prove your damages , she says. “A
provide valuable assistance in putting together all the pieces necessary for a
successful case before the Small Claims Court.”
Services from paralegals are often less expensive than
lawyers, Murray says, but paralegals have the skills and experience to deal with
some of the same housing issues that lawyers handle.
For clients who want to represent themselves, she offers the
option of a limited-scope retainer, where she would provide guidance and help with
filling out forms correctly, as an example.
A self-represented person may not be able to
afford a paralegal or a lawyer to represent them, or they may feel confident enough
to present their case before the board , Murray says.
paralegal can still offer guidance to both landlords and tenants to ensure their
rights are protected as provided for under the Residential Tenancies Act.
We have an academic background as well as experience in
proper board procedures and rules.
Murray says understanding these procedures is essential when
going before a board.
The rules for each board and each tribunal tend
to vary. Many people don’t realize that — especially those who represent themselves,
and having a paralegal can definitely boost your chances for a successful outcome.