The Residential Tenancies Act lays down all the stipulations regarding tenant eviction in Ontario. Its provisions include things like legitimate reasons for an eviction, the steps that a landlord should take, and the rights of a tenant.
As a landlord, it’s important to understand the law in order to avoid potential mistakes and lawsuits. The following is a basic overview of Ontario eviction laws.
Rights of Tenants
Even during an eviction, the Residential Tenancies Act provides tenants with certain rights. For one, the eviction must not be in bad faith. For instance, if you’re evicting a tenant for personal use of the unit, then you should do exactly that. The same should also apply if the reason for the eviction is to do property repairs.
Besides having honest intentions, you must also compensate your tenant for the inconvenience caused. As per the law, the compensation should be equal to the rent of one month.
In addition, if your tenants were evicted for property repairs, you must give them the option to return back to the property.
Self-help evictions are illegal in Ontario. Even with the eviction order in hand, you can only enforce the eviction via the Court Enforcement Office. If you engage in self-help eviction tactics, you risk getting sued by your tenant for damages.
Examples of self-help eviction acts include:
- Turning off the heat or electricity.
- Removing the front door.
- Taking out the belongings of the tenant.
- Changing the locks.
- Shutting off the utilities.
Aside from a potential lawsuit from your tenant, you may also risk getting charged at the Provincial Offenses Court for violating the Residential Tenancies Act.
Reasons for Tenant Eviction
Tenant evictions happen for many reasons. Here are a few of them:
- Failure to pay rent.
- Paying the rent late on a regular basis.
- Doing illegal activities at the property.
- Causing excessive property damage.
- The property changing hands.
- Causing danger for other people.
- Substantially interfering with another tenant’s quiet enjoyment of their property.
- The landlord wanting to tear it down or use it for something else.
- Overcrowding in the property in such a way that it contravenes the safety, health or housing standards required under the law.
The Eviction Process
The eviction process in Ontario begins with an eviction notice. The notice, among other things, tells the tenant the reason for the eviction and by when they should have moved out.
The following are the various eviction notices you must serve your tenant.
- For nonpayment of rent, you must serve the tenant a 14-days’ notice.
- For negligent or careless property damage, you must serve them a 20-days’ notice.
- If the tenant is engaging in illegal activities at the property, you must give them a 10-days’ notice.
- If you or a caregiver wants to move in, then you must serve your tenant with a 60-days’ eviction notice.
- To tear down the unit, the Residential Tenancies Act requires that you serve the tenant a 120-days’ eviction notice.
The aforementioned notices can be curable or not. The curable ones are those that allow the tenant to correct what they’ve done wrong. For example, in case of non-payment of rent, you must stop further eviction proceedings if your tenant pays the due rent.
If your tenant doesn’t move out after the notice period, the next course of action is to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order. It’ll then be upon the board to schedule a hearing to decide.
To improve your chances of success, make sure to bring as much evidence as possible. For example, the lease agreement, audio and video recordings, photos, witnesses, eviction letters, and anything else to help solidify your case.
As a landlord, you may also have the option to make an “ex parte” order. The following are the conditions that must be first met:
- Both you and your tenant must have made a mutual agreement to end the tenancy.
- The tenant must have agreed to end the tenancy themselves.
- There is an existing order in a previous determination that the tenant failed to follow through on.
If your tenant doesn’t stop the eviction order, then the sheriff will have no other option than to execute the order. The sheriff will then notify the tenant when the eviction will take place.
Remember, though, only the sheriff can evict a tenant. The law doesn’t allow landlords, private bailiffs, or security guards to carry out an eviction.
Sometimes after an eviction, you may realize that the tenant has left behind some of their belongings. In such a case, you have a right to dispose them in whichever way you want. You can sell them, keep them, or throw them – the choice is yours.
Reasons to Deny a Landlord’s Eviction Application
There are instances that can make the board deny your application to evict your tenant. The reasons include:
- Children in premises: Occupation by children doesn’t constitute overcrowding. Basically, this is based on the premise that “adult only” properties are illegal. If your tenant convinces the board that you are seeking to evict them to maintain the property as “adults only”, then the board would probably quash your eviction application.
- Asserting legal rights: The board can also deny your eviction application if you’re evicting your tenants for enforcing their legal rights.
Do you need help managing your Ontario rental property? If you do, AMR Property Management can help. We can find great tenants, take good care of your property, collect rent without fail, and ensure that if an eviction is required, it gets handled professionally and legally. Get in touch with us TODAY!