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Landlord and Tenant Matters

May 10th, 2013 | By | Category: Landlord & Tenant

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It has been widely reported that the financial crisis may have contributed to the rapid growth of demand for rental places because people are more likely to consider renting instead of buying in times of financial hardship. Fast depreciation of goods and a more transient workforce also mean that people are increasingly searching for rentals. It seems that the practice of renting a place will never die as well as the problems between landlords and tenants.

Overview

A Landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate which is rented (or leased) to an individual, who is called a tenant. The relationship between the tenant and the landlord is called a tenancy. In Ontario, Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 covers the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Types of Tenancies

  • A fixed-term tenancy lasts for some fixed period of time. It has a definite beginning date and a definite ending date. Such a tenancy can last for any period of time – even a tenancy for a few days. A fixed term tenancy comes to an end automatically when the fixed term runs out. If a holdover tenant remains on the property after the termination of the lease, they may become a tenant at sufferance because the landlord has suffered (or allowed) the tenant to remain as a tenant instead of evicting them. Such a tenancy is generally “at will,” meaning the tenant or the landlord may terminate it at any time, upon the providing of proper statutory notice.
  • A periodic tenancy, a tenancy from year to year, month to month, or week to week, exists for some period of time determined by the term of the payment of rent. Either the landlord or the tenant may terminate a periodic tenancy when the period or term is nearing completion, by giving notice to the other party as required by Residential Tenancies Act. Neither landlord nor tenant may terminate a periodic tenancy before the period has ended, without incurring an obligation to pay for the months remaining on the lease.
  • A tenancy at will is a tenancy which either the landlord or the tenant may terminate at any time by giving reasonable notice. Unlike a periodic tenancy, it isn’t associated with a time period. It may last for many years, but it could be ended at any time by either the landlord or the tenant for any reason, or for no reason at all. Proper notice must be given.
  • A tenancy at sufferance (sometimes called a holdover tenancy) exists when a tenant remains in possession of a property after the expiration of a lease, and until the landlord acts to eject the tenant from the property. Although the tenant is technically a trespasser at this point, and possession of this type is not a true estate in land, authorities recognize the condition in order to hold the tenant liable for rent.

Rental Agreement

A landlord and a tenant step into relationship by signing a contract called rental agreement. With this contract one party that has superior title to the property, i.e. the landlord, grants possession and use of the premises for a limited period to the other party, i.e. the tenant. The landlord may not be the actual owner of the property but keeping in some way the right to sub-lease.

A rental agreement defines such terms as the price paid, penalties for late payments, the length of the rental or lease, and the amount of notice required before either the landlord or tenant cancels the agreement. In a few words, the responsibilities are as follow: the landlord is responsible for making repairs and property maintenance, and the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean and safe.

Common elements of a rental agreement include:

  • Names of the parties
  • The starting date and duration (term)
  • Address of a rental property
  • Conditions for renewal or non-renewal
  • Amount of a security deposit
  • Specific conditions (default conditions, specific remedies, restrictive use, and other)

In Ontario, a rental agreement is a legal contract, and thus enforceable by all parties under the Residential Tenancies Act that came into force on January 31, 2007. The rental agreement should not contain any terms that are inconsistent with the Act. If it does contain a term that is inconsistent with the Act, that term will not be enforced by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The landlord and tenant can sign a written rental agreement or they can have an oral agreement. The landlord must give the tenant:

  • a copy of any written agreements
  • the landlord’s legal name and address so that the tenant can give the landlord any necessary notices or documents
  • whether there is a written or oral lease, provide new tenants with information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and about the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board in a form approved by the Board. The Board has a two-page brochure that landlords should use for this purpose

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

The Residential Tenancies Act covers most residential rental units in Ontario including mobile homes, care homes and rooming and boarding houses. The Act sets out the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants who rent residential properties. The Act does not cover commercial tenancies.

There are some situations where a rental unit may not be covered by the Act or certain parts of the Act. The Residential Tenancies Act does not apply to people living in:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Hospitals or nursing homes
  • Non-profit and public housing
  • Prison
  • University and college student residence or dormitories
  • Units that are used on a seasonal or temporary basis
  • Those sharing a kitchen or bathroom with the owner or certain family members of the owner

The Residential Tenancies Actcovers most of the landlord-tenant related matters:

  • Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
  • Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Rules for Rent
  • Maintenance and Repairs
  • Care Homes and Mobile Homes
  • Entering the Rental Unit
  • Security of Tenure
  • Ending a Tenancy
  • Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Board Proceedings
  • Vital Services
  • Evicting a tenant
  • Enforcement of an Order and more

Part II “Tenancy Agreements” of Residential Tenancies Actcontains the following clauses about tenancy agreement.

Part VII “Rules Relating to Rent” of Residential Tenancies Actcovers almost every aspects about rent.

Part XI provides detail information about the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Landlord and Tenant Board

The Landlord and Tenant Board (the Board) was created by the Residential Tenancies Act (the RTA) which came into force on January 31, 2007. This Act gives residential landlords and tenants specific rights and responsibilities, and sets out a process for how these rights and responsibilities can be enforced. The Board is one of Ontario’s “quasi-judicial” agencies. “Quasi-judicial” means “almost like a court of law.” The Landlord and Tenant Board resolves disputes between tenants and landlords. It is similar to a court. The role of the Landlord and Tenant Board is to:

  • resolve disputes between landlords and tenants through either mediation or adjudication,
  • regulate rent increases in most residential rental units and enforce these rules
  • educate landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.

The Landlord and Tenant Board is an independent agency. Any decision which the Board makes about the rights or responsibilities of individual landlords or tenants cannot be influenced by any Member of Provincial Parliament or Minister of the Crown. Either a landlord or a tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Their disputes can be worked out through mediation or adjudication. In mediation, a Board Mediator helps a landlord and tenant reach an agreement they are both satisfied with. In adjudication, a hearing is usually held. A Board Member makes a decision based on the evidence the landlord and tenant present, and then issues an order. An order is the final, written version of the Board Member’s decision.

The Landlord and Tenant Boardwebsite is: www.ltb.gov.on.ca

Rental Rules

In Ontario, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 sets down the rules which can help ensure that the renting experience will be pleasant for both parties – for landlords and tenants, and covers all aspects of Landlord-Tenant relationships:

  • the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
  • the procedures of resolving disputes between landlords and tenants through either mediation or adjudication
  • the rules for rent increases in most residential rental units and procedures to enforce these rules
  • the role of the Landlord and Tenant Board

Rules about Rent

  • A landlord and tenant decide how much the rent will be and which services will be included in the rent (for example, parking, cable, heat, electricity). Both parties have to determine the date when rent is due and the way of rent delivery.
  • Paying rent on time: Verbal or written tenancy agreement should be clear about: the day that rent payments are due; the way on how rent payment is to be delivered to the landlord; and the method of payment. 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.
  • Tenant is not allowed to withhold rent: A tenant should not withhold any part of the rent, even if the tenant feels that maintenance is poor or a necessary repair has not been done. A tenant could be evicted, if they withhold rent without getting approval from the Landlord and Tenant Board.
  • Receipt for payment: A landlord shall provide free of charge to a tenant or former tenant, on request, a receipt for the payment of any rent, rent deposit, arrears of rent or any other amount paid to the landlord.
  • Landlord not to charge more than lawful rent

Rules about Rent Increase

  • Increase void without notice: A landlord must give at least 90 days notice in writing of any rent increase. An increase in rent is void if the landlord has not given the notice required by the Residential Tenancies Act. The landlord must give a new notice before the landlord can take the increase.
  • 12-month rule: In most cases, a landlord who is lawfully entitled to increase the rent charged to a tenant for a rental unit may do so only if at least 12 months have elapsed, since the day of the last rent increase for that tenant in that rental unit, if there has been a previous increase; or since the day the rental unit was first rented to that tenant.
  • Rent increase guideline: There is the rent increase guideline which is set each year by the Ontario Government. It is based on the Consumer Price Index. Each year, the Government announces the guideline by August 31st for rent increases that will take effect on or after January 1st of the following year. A landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an increase above the guideline if: 1) the landlord’s costs for municipal taxes and charges, and/or utilities (such as fuel, electricity or water) have increased significantly; or 2) the landlord has done major repairs or renovations (these are called capital expenditures); or 3) the landlord has operating costs for security services performed by persons who are not employees of the landlord.

Rules about Security and Rent Deposits

  • General: A landlord can collect a rent deposit from a new tenant on or before the start of a new tenancy. Where the tenant pays rent by the month, the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent; where the tenant pays rent by the week, the deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent. The rent deposit can only be used as the rent payment for the last month or week before the tenant moves out. It cannot be used for anything else, such as repairing damage to the rental unit. If the landlord gives the tenant a notice to increase the rent, the landlord can also ask the tenant to increase the rent deposit by the same amount. Landlord must pay the tenant interest on the rent deposit every year.
  • Security deposits: The only security deposit that a landlord may collect is a rent deposit. “Security deposit” means money, property or a right paid or given by, or on behalf of, a tenant of a rental unit to a landlord or to anyone on the landlord’s behalf to be held by or for the account of the landlord as security for the performance of an obligation or the payment of a liability of the tenant or to be returned to the tenant upon the happening of a condition.
  • Rent deposit: A landlord may require a tenant to pay a rent deposit with respect to a tenancy if the landlord does so on or before entering into the tenancy agreement. The amount of a rent deposit shall not be more than the amount of rent for one rent period. If the lawful rent increases after a tenant has paid a rent deposit, the landlord may require the tenant to pay an additional amount to increase the rent deposit. A landlord shall pay interest to the tenant annually on the amount of the rent deposit.
  • Rent deposit, prospective tenant: A landlord shall repay the amount received as a rent deposit in respect of a rental unit if vacant possession of the rental unit is not given to the prospective tenant.

Subtenants

A subtenant may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board as if the subtenant were the tenant and the tenant were the landlord.

Rules about Maintenance and Repairs

  • A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards. The landlord is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the common or shared areas of the building, such as hallways and yards; and also – for removing snow from driveways, walkways, etc. A tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board if the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations. If the Landlord and Tenant Board agrees that the landlord is not meeting their maintenance obligations, there are a number of remedies the Landlord and Tenant Board can order.
  • A tenant is responsible for ordinary cleanliness of the rental unit, except to the extent that the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean it. The tenant has to keep the home in a way that most people think is clean. A tenant is responsible for the repair or fix of undue damage to the rental unit or residential complex. The tenant must repair or pay for the repair of any damage to the rental property caused by the tenant, the tenant’s guest or another person who lives in the rental unit. This includes damage in the tenant’s unit, as well as any common area such as a hallway, elevator, stairway, driveway or parking area. It does not matter whether the damage was done on purpose or by not being careful enough – the tenant is responsible. However, the tenant is not responsible to repair damage caused by normal “wear and tear”. For example, if the carpet has become worn after years of normal use, the tenant would not have to replace the carpet.
  • Garbage removal: One of the biggest problem areas for landlords is improper removal of garbage. In addition to being unsanitary, uncollected garbage makes the rental property look run-down. The rules should clearly state how frequently garbage must be removed and where garbage should be placed for removal.

Rules about Vital Services

Landlord is responsible for providing with vital services. A landlord cannot shut off or deliberately interfere with the supplyof vital services, or care service, or food that the landlord must provide under a tenancy agreement. However, the landlord is allowed to shut-off services temporarily if this is necessary for maintenance or to make repairs. The landlord is not allowed to cut vital services as a result of non-payment of rent. The vital services are the following:

  • heat (from September 1st to June 15th: during this period, the minimum temperature is 20oC)
  • electricity
  • fuel (such as natural gas or oil)
  • hot or cold water

More Rules

Landlord not to interfere with reasonable enjoyment: A landlord shall not at any time during a tenant’s occupancy of a rental unit and before the day on which an order evicting the tenant is executed substantially interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of the rental unit or the residential complex in which it is located for all usual purposes by a tenant or members of his or her household.

Tenant to be reasonably quiet: A tenant should not disturb others who live in the same building.

Landlord not to harass: A landlord shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a tenant.

Tenant not to harass: A tenant shall not harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a landlord.

Rules about Changing Locks

  • A 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. A landlord cannot lock a tenant out of their rental unit unless the landlord has an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board and the Sheriff comes to the rental unit to enforce it.
  • A tenant shall not alter the locking system on a door giving entry to a rental unit or residential complex without the consent of the landlord. The tenant is not allowed to change the locking system on the door that gives entry to the rental unit unless they get their landlord’s permission.

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.

Rules about Entering the Rental Unit

In Canada, every individual has a right for privacy which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Privacy Act and other laws. According to the law, a landlord has to provide a tenant with their privacy. A landlord is not allowed to enter a rental unite without written notice. The landlord may enter a rental unit in accordance with written notice given to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry.

Entry without notice

A landlord may enter a rental unit without written notice:

  • in cases of emergency at any time
  • if the tenant consents to the entry at the time of entry
  • to clean the rental unit if the tenancy agreement requires the landlord to clean the rental unit at regular intervals and
  • the landlord enters the unit at the times specified in the tenancy agreement
  • if no times are specified, the landlord enters the unit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • to show the unit to prospective tenants (before entering, the landlord informs or makes a reasonable effort to inform the tenant of the intention to do so)

Entry with 24 hours written notice

A landlord can enter the rental unit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and only if they have given the tenant 24 hours written notice:

  • to make repairs or do work in the unit,
  • to carry out an inspection, where reasonable, in order to determine whether repairs are needed,
  • to allow a potential mortgagee or insurer of the complex to view the unit,
  • to allow a potential purchaser to view the rental unit (note: the Act also allows a registered real estate agent or broker to enter for this purpose if they have written authorization from the landlord),
  • to allow an engineer, architect or other similar professional to make an inspection for a proposed conversion under the Condominium Act; or
  • for any reasonable purpose allowed by the rental agreement.

The notice must include the reason why the landlord wants to enter the rental unit and must state what time, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the landlord will enter the unit. If the landlord gives the tenant the correct notice, the landlord can enter even if the tenant is not at home.

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.

Rules about Eviction of Tenant

The Residential Tenancies Actpermits a landlord to terminate a tenancy early for several reasons. 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. The Residential Tenancies Act allows a tenant to be evicted for specific grounds including (but not limited to):

  • non-payment of rent
  • persistent late payments
  • undue damage
  • interference with the reasonable enjoyment or lawful right of the landlord
  • overcrowding
  • impairing safety
  • illegal act

Privacy

In Canada, every individual has a right for privacy which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Privacy Act and other laws. According to the law, a landlord has to provide a tenant with their privacy. A landlord is not allowed to enter a rental unite without written notice. The landlord may enter a rental unit in accordance with written notice given to the tenant at least 24 hours before the time of entry.

Landlord Duties and Rights

Landlord Duties

Renting a home to tenants in Ontario comes with many responsibilities for landlords that described in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.

  • Landlord’s responsibilities to provide with copies of documents
  • Landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and repairs
  • Landlord’s responsibility to provide with vital services
  • Landlord not to interfere with reasonable enjoyment
  • Landlord is not allowed to harass
  • Landlord is not allowed to take tenant’s personal property

Landlord Rights

Do not forget, as a landlord, you also have rights! Small landlords, in fact, are doing honourable job by providing people with affordable and decent housing. It is a hard work and it seems that a landlord has more responsibilities than rights. Generally, landlords have the following rights:

The right to choose a tenant: A landlord has the right to choose a tenant using income information, credit checks, references, rental history, guarantees, and similar business practices as prescribed in the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, a landlord cannot select or refuse tenants based on race, place of origin, ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status (e.g. small children) or disability.

The right to collect rent: The main right of any landlord is to collect money – rent – from a tenant for a residential unit where the tenant stays. While a tenant is renting from a landlord, this is the most important landlord’s right. The landlord is entitled to collect rent, in full, on the day that it is due.

The right to collect rent deposit: It cannot be more than one month’s rent, or if rent is paid weekly, one week’s rent. The maximum amount of this deposit is the same as the rent for 1 rental period (for example, 1 month or 1 week). This deposit must be used as the rent payment for the last month or week of your tenancy. It cannot be used for any other reason, such as to pay for damages. A landlord must pay interest on the deposit every year.

The right to increase the rent: A landlord can increase the rent once in a 12-month period. However, a landlord must follow rent increase guidelines. There are special rules that limit how often a landlord can increase the rent and by how much. In most cases, a landlord can increase the rent only once a year by the guideline that is set by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. A landlord must give a tenant at least 90 days notice in writing of any rent increase and this notice must be on the proper form.

The right to enter the rental unit: A landlord may enter the rental unit in order to complete maintenance or repairs, to show the unit to a potential tenant, or in an emergency. However, the landlord must follow certain entry guidelines.

The right to end tenancy: The Residential Tenancies Actdefines the circumstances under which a tenancy may be terminated and establishes specific notice requirements which vary depending on the notice being given. There may be an agreement to end tenancy; notice of tenancy could be terminated before end of the term; or tenancy could be terminated at end of the term. The Actpermits a landlord to terminate a tenancy at the end of the rental period or term for specific reasons including:

  • landlord’s own use
  • purchaser’s own use
  • demolition, conversion or repairs

The right to evict a tenant: The Residential Tenancies Actpermits 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. A landlord may terminate a tenancy early for specific grounds including (but not limited to):

  • non-payment of rent
  • persistent late payments
  • undue damage
  • interference with the reasonable enjoyment or lawful right of the landlord
  • overcrowding
  • impairing safety
  • illegal act

Tenant Duties and Rights

Tenant Duties

Although, a tenant buys the right to occupy temporarily somebody else’s housing, being a tenant in Ontario comes with many responsibilities that described in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. The main responsibilities of any tenant are as follows:

  • Paying rent on time
  • Tenant is not allowed to withhold rent
  • Tenant’s responsibility for cleanliness
  • Tenant’s responsibility for repair of damage
  • Tenant not to harass, etc.
  • ·         Tenant to be reasonably quiet

Tenant Rights

Do not forget that as a tenant, you also have rights. In Ontario, every tenant has the right for a well maintained, clean and safe home. As a tenant in Ontario, you have legal rights. These rights are explained in the Human Rights Code and the Residential Tenancies Act. The Human Rights Code applies to every person in Ontario. The Residential Tenancies Act applies to most people who rent their housing.

  • Tenant to be provided with copies of documents
  • Tenant’s right for a well maintained housing
  • Tenant’s right for vital services
  • Tenant’s right for reasonable enjoyment
  • Tenant is not to be harassed
  • Tenant is not to be locked out
  • Tenant’s Right for Privacy
  • Landlord is not allowed to take tenant’s personal property
  • Controlled rent increases

Termination of Tenancy

When a landlord rents a unit to a person, they enter into a tenancy agreement (or lease) – a contract in which the tenant agrees to pay rent for the right to live in the rental unit. Usually, the landlord and tenant agree that the tenancy will last for a specific period of time – a fixed term tenancy. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, has rules for how a landlord or tenant can end a residential tenancy.

A landlord and tenant can agree to end the tenancy at any time, even during the term of a lease. They can make an oral agreement to end the tenancy, but it is best to have a written agreement. This way, if there is any confusion about the agreement, both the landlord and tenant have a written copy to refer to. Written agreements should be signed by all parties included in the agreement.

A tenant and landlord can agree to end a tenancy early. The parties can make an oral agreement to end the tenancy, but it is best to have a written agreement. A notice of termination does not have to be given by either the landlord or the tenant if there is an agreement to end the tenancy.

Renewing a Lease

The end of a fixed term tenancy or lease does not mean that a tenant has to move out or sign a renewal or new lease in order to stay. The lease is renewed automatically on a month-to-month basis (if the rent is paid monthly) or week-to-week basis (if rent is paid weekly). This means the landlord and tenant do not have to sign a new fixed term lease when the term of the lease runs out. All the rules of the former lease will still apply to the landlord and tenant. The landlord and tenant can also agree to renew the tenancy agreement for another fixed term period, or enter into a new lease. If a new agreement is not reached, the tenant still has the right to stay:

  • as a monthly tenant, if they paid their rent by the month in the expired lease, or
  • as a weekly tenant, if they paid their rent by the week in the expired lease.

Where the tenant stays on as a monthly or weekly tenant, all the rules of the former lease will still apply to the landlord and tenant. But the landlord can increase the rent each year by the amount allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Ending a Tenancy by a Landlord

A landlord can end a tenancy only for the reasons allowed by the Residential Tenancies Act:

  • the landlord wants the rental unit for their own use or for the use of an immediate family member or a caregiver
  • the landlord has agreed to sell the property and the purchaser wants all or part of the property for their own use or for the use of an immediate family member or a caregiver,
  • the landlord plans major repairs or renovations that require a building permit and vacant possession
  • the landlord plans to demolish the rental property

The landlord has to give the tenant notice in writing in a proper form approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board. If the tenant does not move out after receiving the notice, the landlord can ask the Landlord and Tenant Board to end the tenancy by filing an application. 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 to a Member of the Board.

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 Residential Tenancies 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 “For Cause”

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”. 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
  • illegal activity in the rental unit or residential complex.

Security of Tenancy

Tenants have security of tenancy. This means that a tenant can continue to occupy the rental unit until:

  • the tenant decides to leave and gives the landlord proper notice that they intend to move out,
  • the landlord and tenant agree that the tenant will move out, or
  • the landlord gives the tenant a notice to end the tenancy for a reason allowed by the Act.

If the landlord gives a tenant a notice to end the tenancy, the tenant does not have to move out. The landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order allowing the eviction of the tenant. The tenant has the right to go to a hearing and explain why their tenancy should not end.

Ending a Tenancy by a Tenant

A tenant must give their landlord written notice if they plan to move out:

  • If the tenant pays rent on a daily or weekly basis, the tenant must give at least 28 days notice.
  • If the tenant pays rent on a monthly basis, the tenant must give at least 60 days notice.
  • If the tenant has a lease for a fixed term, the tenant must give at least 60 days notice.

Assigning a tenancy and subletting

A tenant may be able to transfer their right to occupy the rental unit to someone else. This is called an assignment. In an assignment, a new person takes the place of the tenant, but all the terms of the rental agreement stay the same. A sublet occurs when a tenant moves out of the rental unit, lets another person live there for a period of time, but returns to live in the unit before the tenancy ends. In a sublet, the terms of the rental agreement and the landlord-tenant relationship do not change. A tenant must have the landlord’s approval for an assignment or a sublet, but, in either case, the landlord must have a good reason for refusing.

Remedy for a Tenant

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 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 Board.

Application to the Landlord and Tenant Board

A landlord can apply to the 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

If there is a “tenant remedy”, the landlord cannot file an application to the Landlord and Tenant 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. In most cases, there is a deadline by which the landlord must file their application to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

In most cases, the Landlord and Tenant Board will schedule a hearing to decide the landlord’s application. The landlord must inform tenant of the hearing by giving a copy of the Notice of Hearing and a copy of the application to the tenant. 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 Member of the Board will make a decision about the landlord’s application and issue an order. If it is an eviction order, and if a tenant does not 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”). Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant. 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.

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.

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.

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 andto 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 toEvict 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.

Hearing

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.

ENFORCEMENT

Either a landlord or a tenant can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. Their disputes can be worked out through mediation or adjudication. In mediation, a Board Mediator helps a landlord and tenant reach an agreement they are both satisfied with. In adjudication, a hearing is usually held. A Board Member makes a decision based on the evidence the landlord and tenant present, and then issues an order. An order is the final, written version of the Board Member’s decision.

If a landlord or tenant refuses to pay money they were ordered to pay by the Landlord and Tenant Board

Orders issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board are legally binding decisions – they must be obeyed. If one person is ordered to pay the other person money and they do not, then the person who is owed the money can file the order with Small Claims Court to have it enforced.

If a tenant does not move out of the unit by the date set out in the eviction order

If a tenant is ordered by the Landlord and Tenant Board to leave the rental unit by a specific date and has not, then the landlord can file the eviction order at the Court Enforcement Office (Sheriff’s Office), pay the applicable fee, and ask the Sheriff to remove the tenant from the unit. The Sheriff will usually give the tenant a notice that tells them the date they will come to the unit to evict the tenant. If the tenant has not moved out by that date, the Sheriff will go to the unit and remove the tenant from the unit. The locks on the unit can then be changed.

Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant who does not leave a unit as directed by an eviction order issued by the Landlord and Tenant Board.

What you should keep in mind

If you are a tenant you can get free legal assistance from the Landlord and Tenant Board at the hearing.

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.

You can find tons of useful info concerning landlord and tenant matters at the Landlord and Tenant Board website: www.ltb.gov.on.ca .

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