Ultramar Part II
In the end, we, the little guys, managed to eek out a small victory over the Mr. Bigs of the world.
Today’s mail brought our judgement from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Tribunal which agreed with us we endured “eight days of substantial disruption” of our “reasonable enjoyment’ of our rental unit, and we were therefore owed $182.14, or 50 percent back from our rent for those days. I only asked for 20 percent, so I thought that was pretty good.
It doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t much in monetary terms. But it’s the principle of the thing, after all. The judgement was a cautionary tail for our landlord and landlords everywhere that they don’t get to screw with tenant rights, that they don’t get to jackhammer and put holes in front yards because they think they can. We set a precedent with the 50 percent number — that I’m sure. I did my research before our hearing and the last people to win this kind of judgement only got 20 percent back on their rent. So our judgement will help others who in the future will have to endure the mess and the stress of having a toxic oil spill in their basement, or a flood, or something else equally bad.
We are still out thousand of dollars thanks to the Ultramar spill, but I do take comfort knowing that Lordy had to spent a humiliating hour in front of the board defending himself against my charges that he harassed me. I am also pleased that he had to spend a grand to bring his high-priced lawyer and mouthy contractor to the proceedings and the process cost us nothing but our time. (I drove Scott, so we didn’t have to pay for parking.)
On a far grander scale, we managed to deliver Ultramar a public come-uppance in the Ottawa Citizen last week. The Public Citizen rang a long article about how Ultramar’s shoddy workmanship had resulted in the toxic oil spill which had ruined our summer, the landlord’s property, the neighborhood along with the new sewers, water lines and sidewalks on Smyth Road. For his part, Michel Martin, a spokesthingy for Ultramar described the situation as “unfortunate, especially for the displaced tenants and the neighborhood”.
He said Ultramar would pay for the cleanup, which will make the landlord and his insurance happy. For us, the people who really suffered, I guess it’s the bird.
But Ultramar looks bad, bad, bad. The landlord looks bad, bad, bad.
So in the end, there’s that.
As for us, we are looking forward not backward, settling in to our new place, grateful that we are being heated by natural gas and not Ultramar oil. And we are grateful in the knowledge that a tiny but jagged hammer was brought down on a corn on the giant’s club foot.
By the way, oil companies like Ultramar kill birds and fish, ruin the lives of fishermen and innocents while raking in gazillions in profits. They don’t care about people, they only care about money. Landlords, too.