Landlord speaks out after becoming victim to a suspected rental scam targeting new immigrants

A Toronto landlord says his tenant was renting out his condo, taking deposit money from several people and then taking off. Pat Taney reports.

By Pat Taney

Aaron Dsouza purchased two condos in separate buildings as investment properties several years back. His plan was to give them to his two children in the future.

“The way housing prices are, we wanted to secure a place they could eventually call home,” Dsouza shared.

In the meantime, he has been renting them out. But nothing prepared him for the setbacks that would follow with a tenant, named “Troy,” in one of those condos at 2301 Danforth Avenue.

“For the first year, things were great,” he said. “Rent was being paid on time and we had no issues.”

The second year he said, things went downhill fast. “My tenant stopped paying rent, claiming he lost his job.”

Dsouza worked with him, allowing the tenant to make partial payments but said even those stopped.

“I’ve been trying to evict him since 2022.” Dsouza said delays with the Landlord and Tenant Board prevented him from legally removing his tenant.

Then, came a notice from the management company that runs the building.

“Not only was my tenant not paying rent, building management notified me that he had been renting out the condo as an Airbnb, which is against building rules.”

Late last month, Dsouza gave notice to his tenant that he would be coming to inspect the unit, which provided an even bigger surprise when he arrived.

“Troy wasn’t there but I found five strangers living in the one bedroom, 500-square-foot condo.” Dsouza, worried about his own safety, called police.

“When police arrived and we entered the unit, each one of these people said Troy took $2,000 each from them, to stay there,” Dsouza said. “He had been renting out this space.”

At least two of those men were newly arrived immigrants, they asked not to be identified.

“They told me Troy actually picked them up from the airport when they arrived, brought them here to live and took the money.”

The men say Troy wanted to stay with them, but they eventually asked him to leave, which he did.

Neither the men nor Dsouza have seen Troy since. “Those tenants just want their money back as they soon will have no place to stay,” Dsouza explained.

Toronto police are investigating after reports were filed by Dsouza, the new tenants and building management.

“The police officers also mentioned that they have three other reports on file with them regarding my tenant where he had taken first and last month’s rent,” Dsouza said. “These are different people that haven’t even lived in this unit yet.”

Speakers Corner was able to reach out to Troy. We are not releasing his full name as police say he has not been charged with a crime, although their investigation continues.

He refused to comment on the allegations and would not tell us where he is residing currently. When we asked if Toronto police have reached out to him, he said, “I have nothing to say to that.”

While shocking, cases like this are not isolated. Earlier this month, Toronto police arrested a 26-year-old woman after being accused of a similar crime.

Police say Lariza Resendez Lopes was claiming to operate under the company names and LRLManagement and posted ads for apartment rentals on various websites between June and August of 2023.

Potential renters would provide deposits, but police say they were later told the apartment was no longer available.

According to investigators, it was later discovered the woman, like Dsouza’s tenant, was not authorized to rent the apartments.

Dsouza doesn’t expect to recoup any of the lost rent he had been trying to collect.

“I’ve written that all off, I now feel bad for these gentlemen who he took money from, thinking they had a place to stay.”

Due to their situation, Dsouza is allowing them to stay in his unit until the end of the month, rent-free. “It’s a bad impression coming to Canada for the first time and this is what we do to new immigrants,” he said.

If you have an issue, story or question you’d like us to report on, reach out here.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today