Crisis at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

 

October 11, 2018

Caroline Mulroney
Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2S9
caroline.mulroney@pc.ola.org

Steve Clark
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Toronto
ON
M5G 2E5
steve.clark@pc.ola.org

Doug Ford
Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Premier’s Office
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A1
doug.ford@pc.ola.org

This letter focuses on the crisis currently at the Landlord and Tenant Board with a shortage of staff members to process applications, and a shortage of adjudicators to decide cases.

There are many problems with the Residential Tenancies Act. That will be the subject of another letter on another day.
A new Landlord and Tenant Board procedure effective September 17, 2018 is to have board staff process applications in the order they were received, regardless whether they were delivered in person, by fax, by mail or courier.
This new measure is a direct result of a shortage of board staff.
I have a combined L1/L2 application which cannot be uploaded online. It was faxed to the Toronto North board location on September 28, 2018. I am told by an email from the board that the applications received that day may be processed sometime this week.

There is also and just as important a severe shortage of adjudicators who are also known as board members. It is actually the Ministry of the Attorney General who renews board member appointments and appoints new board members.

Over the last several months many board members have either left the LTB for another position, some have had their appointment expire without being renewed, and one has died. There has not been any board adjudicators appointed as replacements.

Applications are brought to the Landlord and Tenant Board by both landlords and tenants. This is an access to justice issue for both landlords and tenants when one has to wait several months from when the application is processed until the hearing date.
Many small landlords are feeling financial pressures as they are unable to evict tenants who are not paying their rent in a timely manner. The purpose of the Landlord and Tenant Board is to adjudicate landlord and tenant disputes in a timely manner.

An October 6, 2018 North Bay Nugget article https://www.nugget.ca/news/local-news/no-adjudicators-for-landlord-tenant-board-disputes-resolved-over-the-phone advises that there are “no adjudicators from Bracebridge to Hudson Bay.” All in person hearings are being cancelled. All hearings will take place by telephone conference call.”….. “Wilson believes the 5 1/2 month wait time for a hearing will get longer, forcing landlords to take action on their own.”

A CBC article dated September 20, 2018, quotes a board spokesperson on the shortage of adjudicators. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/landlord-tenant-board-adjudicators-1.4830467
“(A) board spokeswoman said via email that the board’s full complement of full-time adjudicators is 45; currently, there are 35 full-time adjudicators working.

Further, there are seven part-time adjudicators available, while the board would normally have eight to 10.

The shortage is affecting all regions of Ontario, and is due to recent resignations, the statement reads.”

We need solutions now. I urge you to immediately hire more staff members and appoint more adjudicators province wide.

Should you require more information, please contact me.

Yours truly,

Marshall Yarmus
Civil Litigations

c: Suze Morrison
NDP, Critic, Housing
Queen’s Park
Room 345
Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A5
SMorrison-QP@ndp.on.ca

Sara Singh
NDP Critic, Attorney General
Queen’s Park
Room 331
Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A8
SSingh-QP@ndp.on.ca

My MPP
Stan Cho (Willowdale)
111 Sheppard Avenue West
North York
ON
M2N 1M7
stan.cho@pc.ola.org

Template of a letter to Minsiter

Below is a template of a letter I sent to the Attorney General, Minister of Housing, Premier and others. Feel free to copy and send to these people along with your own MPP.

 

October 11, 2018
Caroline Mulroney
Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
McMurtry-Scott Building
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 2S9
caroline.mulroney@pc.ola.org

Steve Clark
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Toronto
ON
M5G 2E5
steve.clark@pc.ola.org

Doug Ford
Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Premier’s Office
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A1
doug.ford@pc.ola.org

This letter focuses on the crisis currently at the Landlord and Tenant Board with a shortage of staff members to process applications, and a shortage of adjudicators to decide cases.

There are many problems with the Residential Tenancies Act. That will be the subject of another letter on another day.

A new Landlord and Tenant Board procedure effective September 17, 2018 is to have board staff process applications in the order they were received, regardless whether they were delivered in person, by fax, by mail or courier.

This new measure is a direct result of a shortage of board staff.
I have a combined L1/L2 application which cannot be uploaded online. It was faxed to the Toronto North board location on September 28, 2018. I am told by an email from the board that the applications received that day may be processed sometime this week.

There is also and just as important a severe shortage of adjudicators who are also known as board members. It is actually the Ministry of the Attorney General who renews board member appointments and appoints new board members.

Over the last several months many board members have either left the LTB for another position, some have had their appointment expire without being renewed, and one has died. There has not been any board adjudicators appointed as replacements.

Applications are brought to the Landlord and Tenant Board by both landlords and tenants. This is an access to justice issue for both landlords and tenants when one has to wait several months from when the application is processed until the hearing date.

Many small landlords are feeling financial pressures as they are unable to evict tenants who are not paying their rent in a timely manner. The purpose of the Landlord and Tenant Board is to adjudicate landlord and tenant disputes in a timely manner.

An October 6, 2018 North Bay Nugget article https://www.nugget.ca/news/local-news/no-adjudicators-for-landlord-tenant-board-disputes-resolved-over-the-phone advises that there are “no adjudicators from Bracebridge to Hudson Bay.” All in person hearings are being cancelled. All hearings will take place by telephone conference call.”….. “Wilson believes the 5 1/2 month wait time for a hearing will get longer, forcing landlords to take action on their own.”

A CBC article dated September 20, 2018, quotes a board spokesperson on the shortage of adjudicators. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/landlord-tenant-board-adjudicators-1.4830467

“(A) board spokeswoman said via email that the board’s full complement of full-time adjudicators is 45; currently, there are 35 full-time adjudicators working.

Further, there are seven part-time adjudicators available, while the board would normally have eight to 10.

The shortage is affecting all regions of Ontario, and is due to recent resignations, the statement reads.”

We need solutions now. I urge you to immediately hire more staff members and appoint more adjudicators province wide.

Should you require more information, please contact me.

Yours truly,

Marshall Yarmus
Civil Litigations

c: Suze Morrison
NDP, Critic, Housing
Queen’s Park
Room 345
Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A5
SMorrison-QP@ndp.on.ca

Sara Singh
NDP Critic, Attorney General
Queen’s Park
Room 331
Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto
ON
M7A 1A8
SSingh-QP@ndp.on.ca

My MPP
Stan Cho (Willowdale)
111 Sheppard Avenue West
North York
ON
M2N 1M7
stan.cho@pc.ola.org

The Elusive Representation Fee at the Landlord Tenant Board Ontario

If you are represented by a paralegal Ontario at the Landlord and Tenant Board, you could be awarded a representation under certain circumstances. This representation fee is capped at $100.00 per hour, and $700.00 for a whole proceeding.

In most cases, the only costs allowed will be the application fee. The guidelines give the board a wide ranging reasons to award costs for representation fees.

Cost orders in the Landlord and Tenant Board are governed by Guideline #3, and the Rule 27, as well sections 204(2) to (4) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.

Section 204(2)(3)(4) of the RTA state:

(2) The Board may order a party to an application to pay the costs of another party.
(3)  The Board may order that its costs of a proceeding be paid by a party or a paid agent or counsel to a party.
(4)  The amount of an order for costs shall be determined in accordance with the Rules

 

However, the board should not use its power to order costs in a way which would discourage landlords and tenants from exercising their statutory rights.

A landlord or a tenant can be awarded costs for representation/preparation fees and other out-of-pocket expenses. These representation costs can be awarded for unreasonable conduct of a party. The costs may be ordered to be paid by the party or their legal representative.

Some examples of unreasonable conduct that could attract a costs order include:

  1. Bringing a frivolous or vexatious application or motion;
  2. Initiating an application or any procedure in bad faith;
  3. Taking unnecessary steps in a proceeding;
  4. Failing to take necessary steps, such as those required by the RTAor Rules;
  5. Any misconduct at the hearing or in the proceeding;
  6. Raising an issue which is irrelevant to the proceedings and continuing to pursue that issue after the Member has pointed out that it is irrelevant;
  7. Asking for adjournments or delays without justification;
  8. Failing to prepare adequately for the hearing;
  9. Acting contemptuously toward the Member or showing a lack of respect for the process or the Board;
  10. Failing to follow the directions of the Member or upsetting the orderly conduct of the hearing; and
  11. Maligning another party or unreasonably slurring the character of the other party.

Examples of failing to comply with the RTA or Rules would include the following situations:

Failing to follow a procedural order or direction such as an order to serve another party with a document

Serving another party in a way which was not appropriate;

Delaying the hearing by not taking actions required in the Rules.

If you need representation at the Landlord and Tenant Board, particularly at Toronto North, Toronto South or Toronto East locations, contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or www.CivilParalegal.com

 

 

 

Proposed Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

The Ontario government is seeking written submissions until the June 30, 2016 on proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. The RTA effects every residential landlord and tenant; particularly those who have evictions applications heard in the provincially run Landlord and Tenant Board.

The proposed changes are made with intention of encouraging small landlords to provide rental housing. The proposal can be found at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page14837.aspx

Tenant groups are up in arms, stating that the proposed changes would make it too easy for a tenant to be evicted. Will newly appointed Minister of Housing Chris Ballard, follow though under the criticism of these tenant groups and makes changes favouring small landlords?

The current RTA puts too many obstacles in place for a landlord to evict a tenant. I believe some changes are necessary. I am a licensed paralegal with 20 years experience representing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The RTA is so complex and confusing for small landlords. With an eviction of a tenant being so important, and so much money on the line if an eviction is denied, I don’t understand why some small landlords represent themselves at the Landlord and Tenant Board. Understanding the RTA, case law, knowing what evidence is relevant, and how to properly ask questions of the opposing side and their witnesses is a skill which takes years to learn.

The large scale landlords know the law. Still, they always hire a licensed paralegal or lawyer to represent them at the hearing.

An application to evict a tenant at the LTB can be dismissed for technical reasons. Some notices of termination given to tenant must have very detailed information with dates and actions of the tenant noted in order to support an eviction. Other reasons applications are dismissed are due to minor errors such as failing to name all the tenants, as well as failing to enter an apartment number on the form.

One of the proposals the government is seeking writing submissions on is to further clarify provisions for substantial compliance with the RTA with respect to the content of certain forms, notices and other documents.

The notices of eviction are not complicated to complete. I can see why landlords think it is simple enough to do themselves. The test is whether the notice of eviction is filled out with enough information to comply with the RTA and the case law. If not, the board member must dismiss the eviction application.

If the proposed changes are made, maybe I won’t have as many small landlords coming to me for representation after their application is dismissed for failure to properly complete the notice. When an application is dismissed for these technical reasons at least I can help the landlord.

When a landlord self-represents and the application is dismissed after a full hearing as they did not have enough evidence, didn’t know how to ask questions the tenant, or didn’t know the law, I am limited in the help I can provide. I can request a review of the decision by another arbitrator at the LTB if there was a serious error in making a decision. If that is unsuccessful, usually the landlord’s only other option is to hire a lawyer to file an appeal with the Divisional Court. An appeal can take many months and thousands of dollars before it is heard.

Another common problem is cases involving an eviction where the landlord or a close family member requires the apartment for their own use. The law is clear. The person who wants to live in the apartment must file an affidavit with the board. If you show up at the hearing without this affidavit, your application will be dismissed.

The government is looking at a proposal to allow landlords and tenants to file unsworn statements in support of applications and motions, rather than affidavits.

At a hearing for non-payments of rent a tenant can without any notice to the landlord, raise issues as if they had filed their own application. Some of the more common allegations are the landlord entered my unit illegally, the landlord harassed me, and the landlord failed to make repairs. If the tenant is successful at proving these allegations, not only must the board consider delaying or denying an eviction, but the board can also order the landlord to pay money to the tenant for these breaches of the RTA.

The government is seeking submissions on a proposal to require tenants to disclose any issues that they intend to raise at rental arrears eviction hearings to the landlord prior to the hearing. This would prevent these surprise arguments.

These are just a few of the ideas the government is considering to improve the eviction process. Unless or until these changes are made to the RTA, the best advice I can give any small landlord is to hire a licensed paralegal to represent them at any LTB hearing.

Published June 22, 2016  –  copied from http://myhomepage.ca/proposed-changes-residential-tenancies-act/?publication=condolife