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WHAT SHOULD A LANDLORD DO IF THEIR TENANT IS NOT PAYING RENT DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

It is important that your application gets into the LTB queue as soon as possible as the queue for LTB hearings was already very backlogged before this Covid-19 situation began. Ideally, LTB applications should be processed in a month, but it was already taking 2 – 3 months to get a hearing date. Now, it will be much longer.

Due to the extraordinary COVID-19 situation, many tenants are having trouble with their finances. In light of this, the provincial government has suspended the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board holding eviction hearings until further notice. The only exceptions to this order are matters related to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious impairment of safety.

If a tenant has not paid their April rent, the first action the landlord should take is to contact the tenant to ask why the rent was not paid.

Has the tenant’s income severally dropped? Did the tenant lose their job?

You should inquire if the tenant will be automatically receiving or applying for any of these government benefits:

•Employment Insurance

•The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit available for application starting Apr 6, 2020

•An increase in the Canada Child Benefit in May 2020

•The Special Goods and Services Tax payment payable on April 9, 2020

•Increased access to Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit

See https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Be careful not to harass your tenant. You should document or note any conversations you have had with the tenant about how they will pay rent during this time.

If the tenant is making the effort to pay all or part of their rent, and is availing themselves of government initiatives, a landlord should try to work with the tenant.

If your tenant is deliberately refusing to pay rent, refusing to work with you, or refusing to provide you information on their financial circumstances and the government benefits they have applied for, you should immediately apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an eviction hearing.

It is important that your application gets into the LTB queue as soon as possible as the queue for LTB hearings was already very backlogged before this Covid-19 situation began. Ideally, LTB applications should be processed in a month, but it was already taking 2 – 3 months to get a hearing date. Now, it will be much longer.

Our office continues to help our landlord clients by serving N4 notices and issuing L1 non-payment of rent applications with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. If you are in Toronto or the GTA and you need to hire a paralegal, contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit https://www.civilparalegal.com/our_services/landlord-and-tenant-board/