Possible real estate scam in Gatineau |  Tenants allegedly cheated by the wrong landlord

Possible real estate scam in Gatineau | Tenants allegedly cheated by the wrong landlord

A family and woman in Gatineau say they were victims of real estate fraud after paying apartment deposits to a former renter who claimed to be the owner. According to the Popular Action Front in Urban Redevelopment (FRAPRU), their misfortune illustrates a trend that is being exacerbated by the housing crisis.

Posted at 6:00 am

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Frederik Xavier Duhamel

Frederik Xavier Duhamel The press

Kelsey Daye is the current tenant of a house on Rue du Renard in Aylmer. She moved in on July 1 and says she paid three months’ rent in advance, or $6,600.

Possible real estate scam in Gatineau Tenants allegedly cheated

PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The house in the rue du Renard, in Aylmer, in Gatineau

However, Madeda Milca and Taylor Muanza also wanted to rent this home, and the couple said they paid a month’s rent, or $2,200, to reserve it. They even visited the house on June 27, but could neither sign the lease nor move in afterwards. They say they filed a complaint with the Gatineau Police Department because they didn’t get a refund. They are temporarily living with relatives in Montreal with their two young children and claim to have lost their jobs because of this story and the difficulties that followed.

Police confirm they have “received a complaint of housing fraud for an apartment on Rue du Renard”. A “suspect” is mentioned who “claimed to own the premises” without providing her identity for “legal and strategic” reasons.

That’s not all: Although she prepaid for the months of July, August, and September for the lodging to simplify her procedures, the current tenant — Mrs. Daye — had to and will pay August rent, or $2,395 need the same in september. It’s like the $6,600 she paid earlier didn’t end up in the right pockets. Ms Daye claims she also filed a complaint and La Presse was able to see her statement, but Gatineau Police say they only received one complaint in this case.

FRAPRU denounces the situation

FRAPRU’s Véronique Laflamme is not surprised. The agency doesn’t have data on property fraud, but “with the housing crisis, it feels like there’s been more of it in recent months, if not years,” she says.

In Quebec, the landlord can only ask for the first month’s rent in advance when signing the lease. While it is illegal for a landlord to require a security deposit, “a security deposit may be freely and voluntarily paid by a tenant,” Éducaloi said. “The owners play with the vagueness by saying that the tenants are willing to pay them,” Ms Laflamme agrees.

[Cela] helps ensure people don’t become suspicious when asked to post bail, a practice that, while illegal, is also spreading due to the housing shortage.

Veronique Laflamme from FRAPRU

Gatineau Police Constable Andrée East says fraud is not new and comes in waves. Police warned the public about this type of fraud last year. In this particular case, however, “the victim was able to visit the shelter, which certainly led to victim confidentiality,” she notes.

“Its scary”

Ms Daye and husband and wife Madeda Milca and Taylor Muanza say they paid their rent to a third party at the request of a woman posing as Davina Gilembe who allegedly listed the house for rent online. They believed she was the owner. La Presse was able to see screenshots of these transactions and SMS conversations, which supported the complainants’ comments. The woman, who identified herself as Davina Gilembe over the phone, said she rented the house last spring but denied trying to rent it to others after that.

This is where the story gets complicated: the one posing as Davina Gilembe adds that she did business with another woman she believed to be the owner, Elisabeth Ndjakomo. Via email, Ms Ndjakomo claims to have rented the house to Ms Gilembe and Ms Daye, who currently resides there. In fact, Ms Daye signed a lease with Ms Ndjakomo, who La Presse was able to consult, but who introduced herself to her as… Davina Gilembe. Ms Ndjakomo says she herself rents the house from a “company”.

The company in question, Les Entreprises JYT, has a management contract (which La Presse has seen) with the true owner, François Kakese. JYT operations manager Julie Tellier confirms that she has rented the house to Elisabeth Ndjakomo for a year from April 1. La Presse was able to see the lease.

Ms Tellier has never heard of Davina Gilembe, but she is certain her tenant – Elisabeth Ndjakomo – cheated on the other current tenant, Kelsey Daye.

“I had never seen that before,” says Ms. Tellier, who manages around 350 rental properties. “It’s scary to see people doing this. »

Proceedings with the Administrative Housing Tribunal

According to a hearing notice sent to La Presse, Ms Tellier took action against Ms Ndjakomo in the Administrative Court for Housing to terminate the lease and recover the rent. According to Ms. Tellier, the ex-tenant gave her no more signs of life after an email exchange about the alleged fraud. The manager claims Ms Ndjakomo did not pay for July and August, although she appears to have pocketed the money from the current tenant, Ms Daye. The latter was eventually able to secure a legal lease with Les Entreprises JYT, which did not claim the rent for the month of July from her but intends to claim it back from Ms Ndjakomo.

To avoid falling into such a trap, Agent Andrée East of the Gatineau Police Department advises people to check the Gatineau Atlas to find out the true identity of the owner of an apartment. The information is also accessible from the land register.

The home’s owner, François Kakese, who was asked to comment on the situation, relied on comments made by the manager, Ms Tellier.