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Retired couple facing eviction ponders camping at City Hall

Aho says they lived amid mould and water damage for years. 'It's all about the bad tenant but as soon as you get a bad landlord, nobody's interested'

It has been a tough stretch for seniors Terry and Patricia Aho as they have been packing up their belongings and, after 25 years as tenants in the same North Bay home, they are set to be evicted on May 19.

"My wife is crying every day," Terry says.

Aho says he is speaking out to draw attention to the "broken landlord-tenant system," and to advocate for the rights of tenants in the hopes the same fate does not befall another family. 

Having exhausted their life savings in search of their son, Robbie, who disappeared in 2009 and has not been found, Terry says, unable to go back to work due to health issues, they have been living off CPP and OAS and, despite all the damage inside their home on Cholette Street, they continued to live there because the rent suited their income level.

Aho says he is seriously considering parking his camper on the lawn outside the City of North Bay's municipal offices. "We have no place else to go."

See related: Homeless pitch tents in City Hall's front yard to advocate for change

Their landlords split up, according to Aho, and that was when the first eviction notice came in April 2021. They want to sell the house and that is within their rights but Aho suspects the sale has to do with the high demand for real estate inventory and a market situation that allows sellers to divest themselves of troublesome properties with standing remediation orders.

Aho says he partially blames the City for neither upholding nor enforcing property standards orders regarding mould and water damage in the basement of the home issued in July 2021 and says he is contemplating filing a lawsuit against the City of North Bay. As far as the state of the basement, in the video below, Aho calls it "downright ridiculous."

"The City did a walk-through, issued the order and there hasn't been $100 in repairs done to the house. Nothing has been done with the mould," says Aho. 
He adds he has tried various agencies and organizations to help but "they all keep passing the buck. Nobody cares. If I was a bad tenant and hadn't paid my rent in months, I'd be all over the news. It's all about the bad tenant but as soon as you get a bad landlord, nobody's interested," although Aho admits there are plenty of both. 

See also: Tenants live rent-free in landlord's head — and house

He also says the front door of the home has been decommissioned because an order to install a railing along the front steps was ignored by the landlords. Aho points to a photo of a board blocking the use of the front door (see photo above) as the standard of repairs they have experienced. The City of North Bay acknowledges there is an open property standards file at the address.

The family says, despite some recent bickering due to the stress of the impending eviction, they have been good tenants and always paid their rent on time. Aho says, about a dozen years ago when their original landlords sold the home to the current landlords, they were asked to stay on as tenants. 

They agreed, and the new landlords, a married couple, promised they would undertake some renovations to "make the house the nicest one on the block," according to Aho.

Those exterior renovations did take place — Aho claims the work was done without permits — and the tenants were initially pleased. However, he says some excavation work around the foundation caused the water and mould damage in the basement, as seen in the photo gallery and video above.

The tenants, whose bedroom was situated in the unlivable basement of the home, had to move everything upstairs, according to Terry, and they also lost the use of the downstairs bathroom. Aho says this damage has been worsening for years. He says they were paying the same rent for about half of the original square footage.

Aho explains they are contesting the eviction but will not have another hearing before they have to be out on May 19. There are ongoing Landlord and Tenant Board files, as well as litigation pending in this eviction matter. BayToday attempted to contact the landlords but was rebuffed and directed to contact their legal counsel. As of publication time, BayToday had received no response from the landlords' lawyer.

"They told us they would give us six months' notice," once we learned we would be evicted, "but then they only gave us three," says Aho. "Our hands are tied, the Landlord and Tenant Board is so slow, we're going on 10 months now. We had to adjourn our last meeting because we didn't have a file number. We still don't, four months later."

Aho concludes, "We want our tenants' rights observed and we want some compensation for having to live like this and being lied to."

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Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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