U.S. Embassy worker skips out on rent, claims immunity: Ottawa landlord
Published Friday, January 26, 2018 8:53AM EST
A “frustrated” Ottawa landlord says one of his former tenants is claiming diplomatic immunity in refusing to pay him more than $8,000 in owed rent.
U.S. Embassy employee Betsy Zouroudis was paying $4,225 per month for a unit in a high-end townhouse for about a year when other tenants began complaining about her, landlord Rolf Baumann said.
After “some repeated concerns” about Zouroudis, Baumann said he addressed them with the U.S. Embassy and she agreed to vacate the rental in May, 2017. But Baumann said Zouroudis did not leave at that time, and her move-out date was extended to a later date.
But Baumann told CTV Ottawa that Zouroudis left the townhouse before she was supposed to and left him with two months of unpaid rent.
Baumann took the matter to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board, which ruled in his favour. But in a letter, Zouroudis’ lawyer said his client is “an agent of a foreign state, and as such enjoys immunity from civil matters throughout Canada.”
Baumann said the ordeal has left him “frustrated” and “angry.”
He said he expected the U.S. Embassy would “do the right thing” and “take accountability for an employee’s actions, especially since she was under contract."
“It’s unfortunate that I’ve had to go through this process and find out that I may not have a recourse,” he said.
CTV Ottawa has reached out to Zouroudis, but has not heard back. Both her lawyer and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa said they are unable to comment on the case.
Baumann said he is now taking the matter to court.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Claudia Cautillo