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Tenant left in dark, landlord arrested for turning off utilities without warning

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Police in Barrie arrested and charged a landlord accused of entering a rental property and turning off the utilities without notifying her tenant.

According to police, the tenant returned home to a cold house with no power or gas supply and called officers.

Police say the investigating officer discovered that the landlord, who lawfully owns the property, "showed up unannounced and without formal notification earlier in the afternoon and entered the rental property with the assistance of a handyman."

The landlord showed up at the property while officers were investigating and was advised it was illegal to turn the utilities off and to have them turned back on immediately.

"The landlord refused," police stated.

"Landlords have to be cognizant of the fact that a tenant has rights, and they just can't go in arbitrarily and do what they did," explained Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services. "There are still rules that the landlord must provide heat; they must provide the necessities of water and the gas to keep the house warm."

The landlord was taken to the police station and later released from custody with a court date scheduled for early next month.

"We do receive calls on occasion, but the vast majority of people are pretty fair and decent when it comes to dealing with their tenants and vice-versa when it comes to tenants dealing with their landlords," Leon said. "You have rights as a landlord, but you also have rights as a tenant, and it's those rights collectively that must be respected."

With files from CTV's Dana Roberts

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