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BEYOND LOCAL: Sault renter caught in legal battle with out-of-town landlord

Numbered company led by CPM Properties co-director Nels Moxness facing lawsuit, fines — and potential repossession of a Morin Street home — on top of ongoing complaints over questionable property management

Maliyah Walls has started paying rent to a new landlord, but it’s not the property owner: Instead, she’s been directed to pay a mortgage lender who claims the property owner is now in default. 

It all started on May 16, when an employee of Spectrum Property Management showed up at her Morin Street home, claiming the owner of the property — 13756327 Canada Inc. — hasn’t been paying the mortgage and could potentially have the home repossessed.   

“He was wearing a bulletproof vest,” said Walls. “It was super weird.” 

A few days later, she received what’s known as a notice of rental attornment, directing her to pay Spectrum the $1,950 in monthly rent on behalf of mortgage lender Olympia Trust going forward. 

It’s just the latest wrinkle in Walls’ ongoing tenancy woes since moving into her two-storey rental home in April 2022. The house didn’t have a working heating system during her first winter there. There was standing water in the basement last summer, which led to mould growing and mushrooms sprouting up through the flooring due to a malfunctioning sump pump. Each issue, Walls told SooToday, took weeks — if not months — for CPM Properties to rectify.

A contractor employed by CPM Properties has advised Walls that no work is being done on her home until he gets paid by the company for previous work.  

“I have a door upstairs that’s falling off the hinges. The back door is broken. My dishwasher is broken,” said Walls. “I have all this stuff, and we have to wait until this guy gets paid — and he’s not getting paid, so the work is not getting done.”

Walls' less-than-desirable rental experience has prompted her to file two separate claims with the Landlord Tenant Board against the numbered company. Records retrieved by SooToday have revealed that 13756327 Canada Inc. is a Hamilton-based corporation that lists Nels Moxness as sole director. 

His name may ring a bell for some SooToday readers: Moxness is also co-director of CPM Properties alongside Mathew Moxness, a relative who is believed to be his son. 

At one time, 13756327 Canada Inc. owned seven properties in the Sault; these days, it lays claim to five properties locally, including an empty lot where a vacant, boarded-up home at 267 Huron Street used to sit — the same vacant house where two people died as the result of a fire this past December.  

The numbered company was found guilty in provincial offences court March 26 and fined $50,000 for failing to comply with an order to remedy issued by a city bylaw enforcement officer at the Huron Street property. 

Moxness has since filed both a notice to appeal the conviction and an extension of time to appeal with the Ontario Court of Justice. But a recent memo from Ontario Court Justice John Condon has requested that the appellant file an amended notice “in the absence of a valid and comprehensible ground of appeal,” by June 14. 

The Moxness-led company was also convicted and fined $10,000 on March 26 for failing to comply with an order to remedy issued at 365 North Street for a vacant building charge under the city’s property standards bylaw, according to information provided by the Provincial Offences Act office. 

The trial for charges at 267 Huron Street and 365 North Street was held with no representation from the property owner, despite having a number of individuals represent the numbered company at earlier court appearances. 

A week prior to the trial in provincial offences court, CPM Properties co-director Mathew Moxness appeared before city council, seeking approval of a rezoning application that would make way for a five-storey, 47-unit apartment complex on the former Red Cross property, located at 105 Allard Street.  

City solicitor Karen Fields warned council that denying the rezoning application could be appealed on the basis of not being fair and open-minded, or being biased, towards the applicant. An appeal would lead to an Ontario Land tribunal hearing, the city’s lawyer added, which could take up significant resources at city hall. 

Council begrudgingly approved the application, but not without some choice words for the developer due to a number of vacant, boarded-up homes and derelict properties in the city. Mathew Moxness downplayed his track record as a real estate investor in the Sault, while slighting the Sault for the neighbourhoods that both he and Nels Moxness — director of at least 25 numbered companies that own more than 130 properties locally — chose to purchase real estate in.

“We’ve taken on certain challenges, and I don’t think anybody can deny that certain areas in town have challenges in terms of homelessness, drugs and other issues — and that’s really all I’ll say,” Mathew Moxness told council at the time. 

Council’s approval of the rezoning application earlier this year baffled many locals, Walls included. “They should not be in charge of anything. That’s my personal opinion,” Walls said of CPM Properties.  

The numbered company that owns her home on Morin Street is also facing a civil suit, along with its director, Nels Moxness, for allegedly going into default on a $240,000 loan that was taken out against the property in June 2023, according to a statement of claim filed on behalf of Olympia Trust in Ontario Superior Court last month.

The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking repayment of the loan and possession of the property, in addition to interest and court costs. The total due under the mortgage as of April 4 was $243,524, court filings show.  

The allegations have not been tested in court, and a statement of defence has yet to be filed. A message left for Nels Moxness by SooToday Wednesday has not been returned. 

Olympia Trust has now started collecting the monthly rent at Walls’ home, which she and her live-in boyfriend have been working to maintain in the absence of CPM Properties. “I’m just shocked that we have more interest in keeping it nice when it’s not even ours — they’re the ones who put money into it and actually invested in this property,” Walls said. “We’re doing so much for it, because we love where we live. We really do. 

“It just sucks that we’re under these circumstances.”

On Wednesday night, a real estate agent working on behalf of the property owner advised Walls her rental home is being listed on the market in an effort to lure prospective buyers.    

James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday in Sault Ste. Marie
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