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Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Q. What kind of issues can I take to the Landlord and Tenant Board?

As a Landlord, you can evict a Tenant, and obtain an order for the payment of monies, such as back rent, damages and NSF cheques. On occasion, you may not want to evict the tenant, but want to enforce certain rules, such as getting your tenant to pay you rent on time each month. You can also reach a mediated settlement with your Tenant to resolve your dispute. The Landlord and Tenant Board provides a mediator to assist parties in reaching these kinds of resolutions, which may or may not be similar to what can be spelled out in an Order, but nevertheless, meets the needs of both parties.

As a Tenant, you can file a complaint against your Landlord, if you feel that he or she has failed to keep up with necessary repairs and maintenance in your rental unit, has harassed you (such as entering your unit without notice or permission), or has failed to return a deposit or other monies you are owed.

Q. On what grounds can I evict a Tenant?

The presiding legislation called the Residential Tenancies Act, allows a Landlord to terminate a tenancy on specific grounds, such as failure to pay rent, persistent late rent payments, the tenant or their guests conducting themselves in such a way that interferes with the rights of other tenants or yourself as the Landlord (particularly if you live in the same complex as the tenant), interfering or obstructing you in exercising your responsibilities as a Landlord, the tenant allowing the number of adults to exceed what is lawfully permitted to reside in the unit, the tenant using their unit for illegal purposes or conducting illegal activities within their unit, among other reasons. You are only allowed to evict for these purposes that are outlined in the legislation and not for other reasons.

Q. How soon can I begin an eviction process against a Tenant?

It depends on the reason you want to evict the Tenant. Some grounds are more serious than others, and the law allows an eviction to take place more quickly in circumstances where the Tenant, for example, may be doing something that is interfering with the safety of others or conducting an illegal act in their unit, whereas it may take longer to evict solely on the basis of the Tenant falling behind in their rent. In any case, the Tenant must receive a Notice prior to any eviction proceedings starting. The Notice must spell out specifically what it is that you want the Tenant to do, or stop doing. These Notices must be done in proper format, on the forms provided by the Board. The length of time you can begin filing for eviction after serving the Tenant the Notice varies, depending on the reason you want to evict them. Because of the complicated nature, varying time frames, and types of issues that can arise in a Landlord and Tenant dispute, legal advice should be sought first before providing the Notice. You can apply to evict a Tenant for more than one reason.

Q. How much does it cost to file for an eviction?

The fee charged by the Board for an Application by theLandlord is $170. If you are making more than one Application at the same time against the same Tenant, the fee is the same.

Q. How long does it take to carry out an eviction?

Landlords often hear horror stories about how other Landlords have taken months and months to evict “Tenants from Hell”. The time frame for an uncomplicated eviction is between 6 – 8 weeks, depending on the scheduling of the Board in your area. Evictions for non-payment of rent are less complicated to carry out than an eviction for other reasons, such as interference with safety or carrying out an illegal act on the premises. A higher standard of proof is generally required of the Landlord if they are evicting on the latter grounds, due to the potential seriousness of the allegations.

Further, such allegations are more likely to be opposed by the Tenants, which heightens your burden of proof. You may need to summons witnesses, acquire police reports, secure through freedom of information any reports from the city or a health inspector, if the alleged act involves something that impacts on the structural integrity of your rental unit or building. Forms for these notices or applications must be done accurately, or they can be dismissed by the Board. Again, legal advice and representation is a good idea to prevent this from happening.

Q. What if my Tenant is still living at the rental unit after I receivean Order for their eviction?

In my experience, most tenants will move once they receive the Order from the Board or agree to do so at a Mediation. However, the odd Tenant will try overstay their welcome. In the Order for eviction is a date that the Tenant must move out. If the Tenant is not out of the unit by that date, the following morning, the Landlord can seek the assistance of the Sheriff to enforce the eviction.

Q. Does your office assist with rental agreements, credit checks and other supports for Landlords?

Yes, we have a Landlord kit that we provide to Landlords at a flat fee. The kit is customized to meet their needs. We also work with a firm that assists with Credit and Reference checks.

Q. Does your office assist Tenants in dealing with their issues?

There are many issues a Tenant may seek my legal advice for:

failure on the part of the Landlord to maintain the unit and keep it fit for habitation; a Landlord that is harassing or interfering with the right of a Tenant to enjoy their premises; fighting an unreasonable proposal for a rent increase above guidelines; wrongful eviction or defence against a Landlord applying for an eviction that a Tenant feels is unfair, among other reasons. Like the Landlord, a Tenant can file an application with the Board about specific complaints they have against the Landlord, and get a hearing to address these concerns. There are important time limits to keep in mind, so again, seek legal advice to make sure you don’t miss your filing deadline, or seek damages too late.

Keep in mind that Tenants that do not have the financial means to cover the cost of the legal services from my office have the option of seeking advice and representation from a community legal clinic in their area, or to obtain a private Legal Aid certificate. Please note that financial guidelines apply to these resources, and as with Landlords, there is a Mediator available at the Landlord and Tenant Board that can assist you in negotiating an agreement with your Landlord. We can also assist you in doing this, if you need representation. The Mediator cannot represent your interests; they can only help you and your Landlord arrive at an agreement.

Q. I am a Tenant, and I just received an Order in the mail that I have to move out of my rental unit. I was never served with any papers, nor was I ever notified by the Landlord that there was a Hearing.

Unfortunately, this sometimes though infrequently occurs. If I am representing a Landlord in a matter against a Tenant, I use a professional process server to make sure that the Tenant is first given the Notices, so he or she is aware of what the Landlord is concerned about, and then if an Application is made, I use the process server again to serve the Tenant.

However, it is not necessary for a Landlord to use a process server, as the rules indicate a number of ways that he or she can give you these notices. Your Landlord can mail them to you, use a courier service, hand them directly to you, leave them in your mailbox, or leave your notice under your door, among a couple of other ways. Even if these latter ways were used, you are considered “served”. However, if there is some reason why you believe you were NOT served properly with any notices and/or an application, seek legal advice right away, as you need to act quickly to get an Order delayed or reversed.