tenancy and mental health

If rental arrears are the most common reason for eviction, they can also be relatively simple problems to solve.  Payment plans, often with assistance from the Rent Bank or Community Start-Up benefits, can help reduce an eviction notice to basic arithmetic.

Things get murkier when evictions fall under the N5 rubric.  Interference with reasonable enjoyment, safety, even some criminal offences cannot always be explained as “bad behaviour”.  Very often, these offending tenants are suffering from some form of mental illness.  Mental illness itself is difficult to define.  It can range anywhere from anxiety to clinically-diagnosed schizophrenia, but the fact remains that such an illness can be serious enough to interfere with tenancy.  This is a significant challenge not just for tenants and their support systems, but also for landlords.  No one expects a property manager or superintendent to be well-versed in social work.

More and more at CERA, we find ourselves mediating between troubled tenants, overwhelmed landlords and other community supports.  This is a role for which CERA is particularly well-suited; we are a small organization and can adapt easily to whatever need arises.  And it seems the need has never been greater.

July 30, 2010