Out in the cold on New Year’s Eve, but perservering

To the Expositor:

I moved to Sheguiandah First Nation May 1, 2011. A rental agreement was drawn up between myself and the landlady, which was also signed by two witnesses. As per usual, first and last month’s rents were paid in full to the landlady.

Stipulation three on the agreement states, “One month’s notice (30 days) to vacate shall be given by either the tenant or the landlady.” This has not been the case.

On December 18, 2011, I was stunned when my landlady gave me a verbal order to get out. (She wanted me out within the week.)

The reason for landlady’s actions was that I supposedly had been slandering her good name around the reserve. This was a total fabrication! I admired my landlady, got along well with her in many aspects and never did what I was being accused of.

When I made reference to the signed contract between us, the landlady said to me, “Too bad, you’re on the reserve, so none of that matters here.” She then turned her back without allowing me to defend myself, or my character.

My landlady never gave a quack about putting me out in the cold, or about my welfare and well being. I was devastated both financially and emotionally over the entire episode as just before Christmas I had to think about a roof over my head, had to pay storage and pay helpers for moving me in a snowstorm. I was out by December 30, 2011!

I am a 53-year-old woman on disability. My landlady knows this, yet she still refused to return my last month’s rent. I’m in need of that $400 in order to help me get re-situated.

I did get in contact with my social worker about what happened, however she told me they don’t deal with matters like this.

I then spoke with a lawyer and, after a lengthy conversation, he suggested my only recourse for retrieving any monies was through small claims court.

In short, the message I felt I was receiving was to write the whole thing off. I felt lost, depressed and totally undone.

Furthermore, I was told it (my predicament) was not a big enough issue for the Human Rights people to get involved. This pretty much floored me. What to do?

In closing, I have to admit I’m slowly recovering emotionally, but still struggling financially. I will persevere.

I hope and pray this never happens to another human being, reserve or no reserve, contract or no contract.

Finally, I’d like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the two gentlemen who helped me move (snowstorm and all). God Bless you guys.

Brenda Lee Cywink

Little Current