LANDLORD AND TENANT: EVICTION OF TENANT
The Residential Tenancies Act allows a landlord to give a tenant notice to end the tenancy early if the tenant, the tenant’s guest or someone else who lives in the rental unit does something they should not do, or does not do something they should. This is sometimes called ending a tenancy “for cause”.
There are a series of “no-fault” applications where landlords can apply to evict tenants even if the tenant has done nothing wrong. The most common type is the “Landlord’s Personal Use” application. Another of the no-fault applications is the application based on a notice of an intention to perform extensive repairs or renovation, or to demolish the property, or to convert it to a purpose other than residential
The Residential Tenancies Act permits a landlord to terminate a tenancy early for several reasons. In some situations, a landlord can evict a tenant. Most provisions for early termination of tenancy provide a tenant the option of avoiding termination by correcting the problem within a specific time frame. If a landlord gives a tenant(s) a notice that he/she wants them to leave, and they do not agree, a landlord have the right to file an application and have a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board. If a tenant does not agree with what is in the notice, they do not have to move out of the unit. This means the landlord would be required to apply for an eviction hearing and order through the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Reasons a landlord can apply to the landlord and tenant board to evict a tenant
The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 allows a landlord to give a tenant notice if the tenant, the tenant’s guest or someone else who lives in the rental unit either does something they should not do, or does not do something they should. For example:
- not paying the rent in full
- persistently paying the rent late
- misrepresenting income
- causing damage to the rental property
- illegal activity
- affecting the safety of others
- unauthorized occupant
- disturbing the enjoyment of other tenants or the landlord
- allowing too many people to live in the rental unit (“overcrowding”)
In some cases, a landlord can give a tenant notice based on the presence or conduct of a pet the tenant is keeping, such as where a pet causes damage to the rental property.
It is illegal for a landlord to lock a tenant out
It is illegal for a landlord to lock a tenant out of their unit. The tenant cannot be forced to move out unless the landlord has a legal reason to end the tenancy and received an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Sheriff comes to the rental unit to enforce it. The landlord shall not alter the locking system on a door giving entry to a rental unit or residential complex or cause the locking system to be altered during the tenant’s occupancy of the rental unit without giving the tenant replacement keys.
If the landlord locks the tenant out or evicts them illegally, the tenant can call the Police or the Investigation and Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
It is illegal for a landlord to change the locks to a rental unit or the building, without giving the tenant a key for the new locks. The only exceptions are where:
- the locks are changed because the tenant has been evicted by the Sheriff, or
- the landlord is sure that the tenant has abandoned the unit
It is an offence for a landlord to illegally lock a tenant out of their rental unit or the building. If a landlord is convicted in Provincial Court under the Provincial Offences Act, they could be fined up to $25,000 if the landlord is an individual, or $100,000, if the landlord is a corporation.
If a tenant is illegally locked out and if the unit is still vacant, the tenant can apply to the Board for an order that requires the landlord to let the tenant back into the unit.
Landlord is not allowed to take tenant’s personal property
If a tenant damages the landlord’s property or does not pay rent still living in a rental unit, a landlord cannot take tenant’s personal property.
Tenancy agreement should be clear: When a landlord agrees to rent a unit to a person, the following information about rent payments should be made clear:
- the day that rent payments are due
- the way each rent payment is to be delivered to the landlord
- the methods for paying the rent
It is very important that rent payments are made on time. The rent is late if the full amount is not paid by midnight on the day it is due. A landlord does not have to accept partial payment of rent.
Payments are usually made by either cash or cheque. The tenant must deliver the rent payment to a place agreed to or set by the landlord. If a rent payment is mailed, the tenant should mail it in advance so that it gets to the landlord by the due date. The tenant should allow at least five days for delivery. A landlord must give the tenant a receipt for any rent payment. Once a decision is made about how rent payments should be delivered, it cannot be changed unless both the landlord and tenant agree.
A landlord must give a tenant a receipt for any rent payment, rent deposit or other charge, if the tenant asks for one. A rent receipt must contain the following information:
- the address of the rental unit,
- the tenant’s name and the landlord’s name
- the amount paid,
- the date the payment was made,
- what the payment was for (such as arrears, rent, rent deposit, etc.), and
- the signature of the landlord or the landlord’s agent.
Eviction for non-payment of rent
The Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant to be evicted if they have not paid their rent. If a tenant does not pay their rent, the landlord can give the tenant a notice to pay the rent they owe or move. If the tenant does not pay or move in response to the notice, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to evict the tenant and to collect the rent that the tenant owes. The landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board only for an order to collect the rent that the tenant owes, and not ask the Board to evict the tenant.
Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Nonpayment of Rent
If a tenant does not pay the full rent by the end of the day that it is due, a landlord can give the tenant a notice in writing, in a form approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board and called a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Nonpayment of Rent (N4). The notice tells the tenant:
- how much rent the landlord believes the tenant owes
- the date that the landlord wants the tenant to pay the overdue rent by (this is called the termination date
- that if the tenant does not pay the rent or move by the termination date in the notice, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict the tenant
If a tenant rents on daily or weekly basis the termination date must be at least 7 days after the notice is given. If a tenant rents month by month or has a lease for more than 1 month the termination date must be at least 14 days after the notice is given.
If the tenant pays all the rent they owe before the landlord files an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board, the notice is void and the tenant does not have to move.
To void the notice the tenant must pay the amount of arrears in the notice, plus any additional rent payments that have come due after the notice was given to the tenant. For example: A tenant did not pay May’s rent and the landlord gave the tenant an N4 notice with a termination date of June 4th. If, on June 2nd, the tenant wants to pay the landlord everything they owe to void the notice, the tenant must pay the rent for the months of May and June.
Applying to the Landlord and Tenant Board
If the tenant does not pay the full amount of rent owing, or they do not move out by the termination date in the notice, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order that requires the tenant to pay all of the money they owe, and allows the tenant to be evicted, unless the tenant voids the order by paying all the money they owe.
If you are a landlord, please note:
- You must apply using the proper form (L1). It is called an Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes.
- The earliest day this application can be filed is the day after the termination date in the notice and the tenant must be in possession of the unit at the time the application is filed.
The landlord may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board only for an order requiring the tenant to pay the money they owe. In this case, the landlord would not have to give the tenant a notice to end the tenancy. The landlord must apply using the Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes (L9) form.
Scheduling a hearing
If the landlord, or someone acting on behalf of the landlord, files an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board, a hearing will be scheduled. The landlord must give the tenant a copy of the application and the Notice of Hearing that tells the tenant when and where the hearing will be held. These documents must be given to the tenant at least 10 days before the hearing. It is important that both the landlord and tenant go to the hearing.
To avoid hearing
To avoid eviction, the tenant can do one of the following:
- Pay everything they owe before the Landlord and Tenant Board issues an order. In this case, the amount the tenant must pay includes: 1) the amount the landlord is claiming in the application (this includes the landlord’s $170 application fee) plus any new rent that came due after the application was filed.
- Work out a payment plan with the landlord and file a copy of the agreement with the Landlord and Tenant Board or
Once everything has been paid, the tenant should contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to see if the hearing has been cancelled. If it has not been cancelled, the tenant needs to go to the hearing. The tenant should get a receipt.
If the tenant disagrees with the amount the landlord is asking for, they can talk to the landlord to see if the landlord will agree with the amount the tenant thinks they owe. If the landlord is not willing to agree, the tenant should go to the hearing to explain why they disagree with the amount that the landlord is claiming in the application.
If the landlord applies to the Landlord and Tenant Board and the tenant cannot pay everything they owe right away, they can contact their landlord to see if the landlord is willing to work out a payment plan. If the tenant and landlord reach an agreement, the tenant or the landlord can file a copy of the agreement with the Landlord and Tenant Board prior to the hearing. The Landlord and Tenant Board can issue an order based on the payment plan they have agreed to. If the Landlord and Tenant Board issues an order, the hearing will be cancelled.
The Landlord and Tenant Board offers mediation services to landlords and tenants on the day of the hearing at most hearing locations. Mediation is voluntary – which means that both the landlord and tenant must agree to mediate If all of the issues are settled a hearing does not need to be held.
The tenant can go to the hearing to challenge the landlord’s application. The date, time and location of the hearing are shown on the Notice of Hearing, which the tenant received from the landlord.
At the hearing a Member of the Board will listen to both parties and make a decision about the application and other issues raised at the hearing. A Member may delay or refuse eviction. The Member will consider all the information presented by the landlord and tenant. The Member will decide if the eviction of the tenant should be refused (provided that this would not be unfair to the landlord). If the Member decides the tenant should be evicted, they will also consider whether the tenant should be given more time to pay the amount owing or move.
If you are a tenant you can get free legal assistance from the Landlord and Tenant Board at the hearing. Or you can simply contact CP Paralegal Services, and we will help you to fight for your rights.
If you are a landlord you should remember, that at the Landlord and Tenant Board you will not be provided with any legal advice. If you think that your rights have been violated, do not wait. Act fast! Do you know that you have to wait minimum 14 days after serving a notice of termination to your tenant prior to filing the application to terminate the tenancy? It can take up to 4 months from the time notice is served, until the Sheriff shows up to enforce the eviction. Often, it is not about money. In most cases, a landlord is happy enough to get the tenant out of their property. Contact CP Paralegal Services as soon as rent is late, and we will prepare the proper notice for you and fight for your rights.
CP Paralegal Services can give you an advice on all residential tenancy matters or represent you at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board.
We are licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and can ensure you are in compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act.