Situations when a landlord and a tenant have disagreements are not unusual. Disputes between residential landlords and tenants are resolved by the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Residential Tenancies Act determines all legitimate reasons for filing for an eviction. According to the Act, there are three common reasons why a landlord cannot evict a tenant.

1. Ontario landlords cannot evict tenants for having a roommate

In Ontario, a tenant cannot be evicted simply for having a roommate. However, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants. For example, if the roommate is making a lot of noise, damaging the unit, or there are too many roommates (overcrowding), the landlord can serve a notice of termination and apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict them from the unit.

You also have to know that roommates or other occupants who are guests of the tenant do not have any rights or protections under the Residential Tenancies Act and cannot apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

2. Ontario landlords cannot evict tenants for having a pet

Three things you have to know if you are a tenant and have a pet in Ontario:

  1. A landlord can refuse to rent to a person who has a pet. (Keep in mind that a service animal is not considered a pet.)
  2. A tenancy agreement cannot forbid a tenant from having a pet.
  3. And once there is a tenancy agreement, a landlord cannot evict the tenant simply for having a pet. This is true even if they agreed that the tenant would not have a pet.

However, there are some cases when the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict a tenant who has a pet. These are some common examples:

  • the pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit or causing other tenants to have allergic reactions
  • the breed or species is inherently dangerous (e.g. a tenant’s pit bull could be considered “inherently dangerous” even if it hasn’t bitten anyone)
  • the rules of the condominium corporation does not allow pets like the one tenant has

3. Ontario landlords cannot evict tenants for smoking

The Residential Tenancies Act does not address smoking.

A landlord may include a “No Smoking” clause in the rental agreement. A tenant could even sign it. However, if they later smoke, you cannot evict them just because they broke their promise. The “No Smoking” clause is null and void.

What can the landlord do? Maybe nothing. Evicting a tenant for smoking is hardest thing to do. However, a landlord may have grounds to apply to evict a tenant for smoking if the smoke damages the property or bothers other tenants. If the landlord had stated in the ad that no smoking is allowed due to allergies, then it would be a good chance.

One of the ways to win the case in the Landlord and Tenant Board is to claim impaired safety: if someone was allergic, had asthma or lung illness and had lived in a three unit building or less.

If the tenant fights the eviction and lies about the situation, the landlord more likely ends up losing. The tenant could be very creative and invent many “don’ts” to fight the eviction. Such cases require multiple witnesses who document things impeccably.

It’s 99.99% impossible to evict a tenant from a multi-unit building for smoking because they could say the smell was not coming from their unit. The landlord would need an entire forensic department to prove the opposite.

The Landlord and Tenant Board contacts

For more information, or to obtain copies of forms and publications:

  • LTB.gov.on.ca
  • 416-645-8080 or toll-free at 1-888-332-3234
  • You can visit your local Landlord and Tenant Board office. A list of Board office locations can be found on the website.

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