As a residential landlord in Ontario, you may be unlucky in your choice of tenants. Perhaps they don’t pay their rent, or their rent is constantly late, or maybe they are using the unit for nefarious purposes such as selling drugs out of the home. There are many reasons why a landlord may want to end a tenancy and evict a tenant, often in an eviction dispute the parties will need to go to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), that’s why smart landlords ensure they have a competent legal representative and hire a lawyer familiar with landlord and tenant law.
There are a number of steps you must take to legally get rid of a problem tenant. Bear in mind that changing the locks without going though the appropriate legal process can lead to significant penalties for a landlord. The LTB can order a fine of up to $25,000 in addition to awarding tenants damages of up to $25,000. We have compiled a handy guide to keep small landlords informed about the process, if you have any questions or if you require assistance with your dispute, Mehdi Au LLP has experienced lawyers who can assist with your matter.
Is my rental unit covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA)?
The process for evicting tenants not covered by the RTA is different and relies on contract law principles. However,most tenancies in Ontario are covered by the RTA.Some exceptions include units where the kitchen or bathroom is shared with the landlord, farm worker accommodations, and hotel accommodations.
What is the appropriate Notice form?
All evictions start off with giving your tenants a Notice form. You must fill out the required Notice, with a termination date. Each type of Notice has a different minimum termination date depending on type, you should carefully read the notice forms before putting in a termination date. Putting a termination date too early can lead to your Notice being found to be invalid by the LTB. These are the types of possible notice forms with a brief description of their purpose:
- N4, used fornon-payment of rent
- N5, used when tenants are interfering with others, or causing damage
- N6, used when illegal acts are committed on the property
- N7, used when tenants causing serious problems (i.e.: impairing safety)
- N8, primarily used for persistent late payment of rent (other fact specific uses such as a super-intendant unit)
- N11,agreement between landlord and tenant to terminate
- N12, used when a purchaser of the property or the landlord’s family moving in
- N13, used when landlord wants to do a demolition or extensive renovation
File for a Hearing
If the tenant does not leave based on the notice your next step would be to file for a hearing at the LTB
At the hearing
-The parties arrive and then exchange evidence.
-Landlord and the tenant will be given the opportunity to sign up for mediation to settle their dispute.
-If mediation fails or if you do not agree to it you will proceed to a hearing. Both sides have a chance to question witnesses, make oral submissions and submit evidence.
The LTB will issue an order which will either preserve the tenancy or will have a termination date.
File the Order with the Sheriff
The tenant may file for a Review, if this doesn’t happen and they do not leave by the date of termination in the Order, the landlord can file the Order with the Sheriff.
The sheriff will post an enforcement notice on the tenant’s door. On the date contained in the enforcement notice the sheriff will come and change the locks.
The Tenant’s belongings
The landlord must keep the tenant’s belongings and have them available for retrieval for a minimum of 72 hours. The tenant could have grounds to sue the landlord at the LTB if the landlord disposes of their belongings sooner.
Evictions can be a long and arduous process. That’s why in order to protect yourself, the safest option is to hire an experienced landlord and tenant lawyer. At Mehdi Au LLP we have experienced lawyers who can assist you in your dispute.
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