The Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) has rules for how a landlord can end a residential tenancy and evict a tenant. A landlord can end a tenancy only for the reasons allowed by the Act. Landlord must give proper notice.
In most cases, the first step is for the landlord to give the tenant a notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out. The proper forms a landlord must use for giving a notice to end the tenancy are available from the Landlord and Tenant Board. There are different notices for different reasons.
Landlords must use the correct notice form and fill it out completely and accurately to ensure that the tenant receives all the information that the Act requires. If the landlord does not give the tenant all the information required by the Act, the notice may be void. And, if the landlord files an application to evict the tenant based on an incomplete or incorrect notice, the application may be dismissed.
Reasons for ending a tenancy
The 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”.
Some examples of “for cause” reasons for ending a tenancy are:
- not paying the rent in full,
- causing damage to the rental property,
- disturbing other tenants or the landlord, and
- illegal activity in the rental unit or residential complex.
There are also other reasons for ending a tenancy that are not related to what the tenant has done, or not done. These are sometimes called “no fault” reasons for ending a tenancy. Some examples of “no fault” reasons for ending a tenancy are:
- the landlord plans to do major repairs or renovations that require a building permit and the work cannot be done unless the rental unit is empty,
- the landlord requires the rental unit because the landlord, a member of the landlord’s immediate family or their caregiver wish to move into the unit, and
- the landlord has agreed to sell the property and the purchaser requires all or part of the property because the purchaser, a member of the purchaser’s immediate family or their caregiver wish to move into the unit. (This reason for eviction only applies in rental buildings with three or fewer units and in condominiums.)
When the landlord must give notice
Where a notice to end a tenancy must be given, the landlord must give the notice to the tenant before the termination date (the day the tenancy will end). The amount of advance notice depends on the reason for ending the tenancy.
For some of the for cause reasons for ending a tenancy, a tenant can prevent the tenancy from ending by stopping the behaviour referred to in the notice, or by doing what the notice requests. This is a called a tenant’s remedy. The notice explains what this is, and gives a deadline for the tenant to comply. If the tenant does what the notice asks them to do by the deadline, the notice to end the tenancy is then void. The landlord cannot apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict a tenant based on a void notice.
For those reasons for ending a tenancy that do not have a remedy, the tenant cannot do anything to void the notice. However, this does not mean the tenant has to move out.
If the tenant does not move out after receiving a notice to end the tenancy, the landlord can file an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to end the tenancy. The Landlord and Tenant Board will decide if the tenancy should end after holding a hearing. Both the landlord and the tenant can come to the hearing and explain their side of the story to a Member of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Applying for approval to end the tenancy
A landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for approval to end a tenancy if:
- the landlord gave the tenant a notice to end the tenancy,
- the landlord and tenant have an agreement to end the tenancy,
- the landlord wants to evict an unauthorized occupant,
- the tenant gave the landlord a notice to end the tenancy,
- the tenant breached a condition of a Landlord and Tenant Board order or mediated settlement and the order or settlement allowed the landlord to apply to end the tenancy,
- the tenant abandoned the rental unit, or
- the tenant was the superintendent and the superintendent’s employment has ended.
If there is a tenant remedy, the landlord cannot file an application to the Board unless the tenant fails to correct the behavior referred to in the notice, or fails to do what the notice requested, by the deadline set out in the notice. Where the tenant does not have a remedy, the landlord can file their application as soon as they give the notice to the tenant.
Deadline to apply
In most cases, there is a deadline by which the landlord must file their application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Most, but not all, landlord applications must be made within 30 days of the termination date set out in the notice. However, there is no deadline for making an application to terminate a tenancy where the landlord has given the tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent (Form N4).
A hearing will be scheduled
In most cases, the Landlord and Tenant Board will schedule a hearing to decide the landlord’s application. However, the Landlord and Tenant Board will not usually schedule a hearing if the application was made because the tenant:
- gave the landlord a notice to end the tenancy, or
- made an agreement with the landlord to end the tenancy, or
- breached a condition of a Landlord and Tenant Board order or mediated settlement and the order or settlement allowed the landlord to apply to end the tenancy without notice to the tenant.
If a hearing is going to be held, it may be one of three types:
- an oral hearing, where the landlord and tenant appear in person before a Member (this is the most common type of hearing),
- a video conference hearing, where the hearing takes place using a video camera link between the Member, the landlord and the tenant, or
- a telephone hearing, where the hearing takes place using a telephone link between the Member, the landlord and the tenant.
The Landlord and Tenant Board will decide which type of hearing you will have. Landlord must inform tenant of the hearing. The Landlord and Tenant Board will issue a Notice of Hearing and give it to the landlord. The landlord must give a copy of the Notice of Hearing and a copy of their application to the tenant. The deadline for giving the Notice of Hearing depends on the reason the landlord is ending the tenancy.
Tenant can dispute the application at the hearing
At the hearing, a landlord will have to prove that the tenant should be evicted. The tenant can go to the hearing to explain why they should not be evicted, even if they have done something that is a reason for eviction. Even though a landlord proves their case in an application to evict a tenant, the Landlord and Tenant Board must consider all the circumstances of each case to decide whether or not the eviction should be refused or delayed.
A Landlord and Tenant Board’s Order
A Member of the Landlord and Tenant Board will make a decision about the landlord’s application to end the tenancy and whether the tenant should be evicted or not. The Member’s decision is always put in writing. This written decision is called an order. The Landlord and Tenant Board will mail a copy of the order to both the landlord and tenant, and their representatives, if any.
Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant
If a tenant doesn’t leave the rental unit by the termination date in the eviction order, a landlord cannot personally enforce the order (remove a tenant from a rental unit or change the locks). An eviction order can only be enforced by the Court Enforcement Office (the “Sheriff’s Office”). The Landlord and Tenant Board does not enforce an order. The landlord must file a copy of the Landlord and Tenant Board order with the Sheriff’s Office to have the order enforced. The Sheriff’s Office will charge the landlord a fee for the enforcement of the order.
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