A Case Management Hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board can be the most important hearing whether the case settles or not.
The LTB Ontario may schedule a Case Management Hearing to deal with an application. Most CMH hearings are scheduled for tenant applications. Case Management Hearings are subject to the Landlord and Tenant Board’s Practice Direction on Case Management Hearings, and Landlord and Tenant Board Rule 9. See the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website for its practice directions and rules.
The Landlord and Tenant Board Practice Direction on Case Management Hearings (CMH) set out the hearings purpose as:
“The CMH has two purposes. First, it provides an opportunity for parties to explore settlement of the issues in dispute, usually with an LTB Hearing Officer, who is trained in dispute resolution. Second, if parties are unable to resolve all the issues in dispute, the LTB will make directions to facilitate a fair, just and expeditious merits hearing, or in appropriate circumstances, make orders finally determining matters agreed to by the parties or not in dispute.”
In my opinion there are many other benefits of a Case Management Hearing.
The Landlord and the Tenant should attend the CMH. They can attend with a licensed paralegal or a lawyer representing them. No witnesses are permitted at the CMH.
If the issues raised in the application cannot be settled the Hearing Officer who conducts the hearing may draw the parties attention to issues to be considered so that if there is a full hearing on the merits it can held expeditiously and fairly.
Some issues that may be raised are:
- facts and evidence that may be agreed upon;
- the dates by which any steps in the proceeding are to be taken or begun;
- the clarification and simplification of issues in dispute;
- disclosure and production of materials arguably relevant to the issues in dispute;
- the number and identity of witnesses each party intends to call, and discussion of whether all proposed witnesses are necessary; and
- the amount of time necessary to complete the hearing.
If there is no settlement, the Hearing Officer will issue an interim order. It is very important that your licensed paralegal requests certain orders that will benefit you. Orders sought should focus on having a fair, just, and expeditious hearing, or an expedition settlement of the disputes.
Reasons why a CMH can be the most important hearing in a Landlord and Tenant Board case are:
The CMH is the place you and your paralegal can learn more about the application. Discussions at a CMH usually include specifics of matters only touched upon in the application(s). A good legal representative will use what they hear at a CMH to help them in preparation for a full hearing on the merits.
Listen to the opposing side. Try to see the case from their point of view. A good legal representative tries to see the case from their opponent’s point of view. This helps them better assess the strengths and weaknesses of their client’s case.
This is the only hearing where you have a chance early in a proceeding to try to settle the case, before you spend more time and money preparing for a full hearing on the merits.
The CMH Hearing Officer may give general information on how the Residential Tenancies Act applies to the application. The Hearing Officer cannot give legal advice.
The winning party after a full hearing before a Board Member needs to be aware that the losing party may file a Request to Review with the LTB or an appeal with the Divisional Court. An appeal is outside the scope of services a licensed paralegal is trained and permitted to represent. It can be very expensive to hire a lawyer to fight an appeal.
Full hearings on the merits can take an hour, several hours, or days depending on the complexity of the application, the number of witnesses, and the amount of relevant documents. You may have to wait around all day just for your hearing to start. Full Hearings are very stressful. A good settlement allows both parties to walk away a little unhappy.
The winning party represented by a lawyer or a paralegal at a full hearing on the merits usually does not get any representation costs awarded to them.
Costs, other than filing fees are generally only awarded when a party’s conduct in a hearing was unreasonable. See LTB Interpretation Guideline 3 for more information.
It is difficult to get witnesses to voluntarily attend a full hearing. People may say they will be witnesses now, but they might change closer to a hearing. You can request that the board issue a Summons to force a witness to attend and testify. That will cost time and money.
Every day our office receives calls from landlords wanting to hire me for LTB matters.
If you need to hire an experienced, licensed paralegal, contact me:
(416) 229-1479 or (343) 600-7722