COMMON LANDLORD AND TENANT MYTHS IN ONTARIO PART 1

A landlord cannot evict a tenant in the winter

Myth: Tenants can be evicted at any time if the year. If the Residential Tenancies Act applies only the sheriff  can evict and force a tenant out. The sheriff will not act until the landlord has obtained an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

All residential tenancies in Ontario are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act.

Myth: Section 5 of the RTA lists many situations where the Residential Tenancies Act does not apply.

A tenant is permitted to withhold rent if the landlord has not done repairs.

Myth: Tenants are never permitted to withhold rent.

A tenant can be required to pay all or part of the cost of repairs if the lease contains that clause.

Myth: Section 20 of the RTA makes the landlord solely responsible for repairs to the apartment and residential unit due to normal wear and tear. A landlord is further required to meet all health and safety laws. Section 3 of the RTA states that a provision of a tenancy agreement that contradicts the RTA is void.

Section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act makes a tenant liable for repairs only if the landlord can prove the tenant or someone the tenant allowed in the apartment willfully or negligently caused damage to the apartment.

The tenant must vacate the apartment at the end of a lease term.

Myth: Section 37 of the RTA states that at the end of a lease term the tenancy automatically renews on the same terms. If rent is paid monthly, the tenancy becomes month to month. A tenant is permitted to stay in the apartment as long as they want. A tenancy can only be terminated if the tenant gives the landlord notice to vacate, the landlord and tenant agree to terminate the tenancy, or the Landlord and Tenant Board makes an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant.

The landlord can prevent the tenant from having overnight guests if that is a term of the lease

Myth: A landlord is not permitted to stop a tenant from having overnight guests.

The landlord can restrict the people living in the apartment to the people named in the lease.

A landlord is not able to restrict the number of people living in an apartment or state that only people named in the lease may live there. However, there are a couple exceptions.

The tenant cannot have more people living in the apartment then the municipal by-law permits. This is considered overcrowding.
The tenant cannot sublease or assign the tenancy without seeking the consent of the landlord.

Do you need help with a case before the Landlord and Tenant Board? If you are in Toronto or the GTA contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or www.CivilParalegal.com

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

How much does it cost to hire a paralegal to evict a tenant?

Our office hears that question a lot. The answer is always “It depends.”
What is your legal reason to evict the tenant? A tenancy that is governed by the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act can only end if the tenant decides to vacate or the landlord has a legal reason to evict the tenant. The landlord must obtain an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, and file the order with the sheriff.

The legal reasons used most often by landlords to evict a tenant include;

  • the tenant is seriously interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of another tenant or is interfering the landlords lawful rights and privileges,
  • the tenant has committed an illegal act on the premises
  • Non-payment of rent
  • the tenant has damaged the property
  • the tenant has seriously impaired the safety of another person
  • the tenant is persistently late in paying rent
  • the landlord or an immediate member of the landlord’s family in good faith plans to move into the apartment for at least a year,
  • the purchaser of a property or a member of their immediate family plans to move in
  • The landlord needs to make major repairs to the unit which requires vacant possession and a building permit

 

Non-payment of rent accounts for two thirds of all the applications filed with the landlord tenant board Ontario.

Some of the above reasons for bringing an application to the board can be done at any time. Some can only be done at the end of the rental period. If there is a written lease term still in effect some of these options only become available at the end of the lease period.
Every landlord’s eviction starts with an initial notice give to the tenant. You must use the official notices from the Landlord and Tenant Board. There are different notices for every possible eviction application.

The notice must be filled out properly and completely. Many self represented landlords make errors filing out these notices.

Errors such as failing to provide a unit number, filling in dates incorrectly, using the wrong termination date, and not providing enough details of the problem, can deem the notice void. No eviction can flow from an initial notice that the board member finds is void.

I recommend that every landlord, unless they are experienced preparing these notices, hire a paralegal Ontario to prepare the notices.

If you make a mistake completing the notice and the application is dismissed as a result, it
may delay eviction by months. That could cost you thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, damages to the apartment, or delay the closing of a sale as the new purchaser cannot move in as planned.

Every Ontario paralegal is required to carry insurance to protect you. If a paralegal make a mistake their insurance covers them for up one million dollars per claim.

How to evict a tenant in Ontario can be difficult. Without a properly trained Ontario paralegal on your side you may learn some expensive and time consuming lessons.

Your time is valuable. In certain types of evictions your attendance at the hearing is not necessary if you have a paralegal in your side.

Need help to evict a tenant? Our firm, Civil Litigations, would be happy to represent you. Contact Marshall Yarmus at 416-229-1479 or visit our website at www.CivilParalegal.com

How to evict a tenant in Ontario for “Own Use”

In Ontario, an N12 form is given to a tenant when the landlord or the landlord’s spouse or child requires the rental unit for their own full time residence for at least one year.

The form is also used when a purchaser or the purchaser’s immediate family member requires the rental unit for their own use. This blog focuses on a landlord requiring the unit for their own use. Although some requirements are the same for a purchasers own use application, some are not.

The termination date on the N12 must be at least 60 days after the tenant is served. The termination date set out in the notice must be the last date of the rental period or the last date of a lease term. Self-represented landlords often make a mistake when choosing the date. This is especially so when rent is not payable on the first of the month.

Once the N12 is served the landlord can immediately apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order. An L2 application is used.

These “own use” applications are often hotly contested. This can be the start of a long heated battle.

It is in both the landlord’s and tenant’s best interest to hire an experienced licensed paralegal ontario to represent them.

Do not ask landlord tenant board ontario staff for legal advice. They are trained in forms and procedures. They are not trained in the law.

The person who plans to move in must swear out an affidavit stating that they, “in good faith” intend to reside in the apartment for at least a year. Self-represented landlords often fill out the affidavit incorrectly.

The landlord must pay the tenant the equivalent of one months’ rent as compensation for bringing this application.  This must be paid before the termination date set out in the N12 notice. The landlord must prove this money was paid.

Should the landlord or the family member who plans to move in testify at the hearing? Can an eviction be delayed or denied even if the landlord proves they “in good faith” require the apartment for their own use? Is it now easier for a former tenant to sue their former landlord if they moved out due to receiving an N12 notice which was given in bad faith?

You need an expert to represent and guide you through the process. At Civil Litigations we are experts who have been in business since 1996. Call us at 416-229-1479 or use the appointment tab on our website,  www.CivilParalegal.com to book a 30 minute free consultation

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