Is the LTB too complicated for landlords to self-represent?

Too many small to medium sized landlords learn the hard way that you need to know a lot to bring an eviction application to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, Notices of Termination, and case law are not easy to understand. The board has its Interpretation Guidelines to try to help the self-represented and small landlords.

It may not be enough.

Application Dismissed for Technical Reasons

Most landlord applications are preceded by a Notice of Termination served on the tenant; such as an N4, N5, N6, N7 N8, N12, and N13. If the Notice of Termination is missing key information the board should dismiss your application.

Sections 43(1) and 43(2) state the information required in a Notice of Termination. It states:


43 (1) Where this Act permits a landlord or tenant to give a notice of termination, the notice shall be in a form approved by the Board and shall,

(a) identify the rental unit for which the notice is given;

(b) state the date on which the tenancy is to terminate; and

(c) be signed by the person giving the notice, or the person’s agent.

(2) If the notice is given by a landlord, it shall also set out the reasons and details respecting the termination and inform the tenant that,

(a) if the tenant vacates the rental unit in accordance with the notice, the tenancy terminates on the date set out in clause (1) (b);

(b) if the tenant does not vacate the rental unit, the landlord may apply to the Board for an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant; and

(c) if the landlord applies for an order, the tenant is entitled to dispute the application.”

Too often self-represented landlords fail to properly identify the rental unit. They forget to add an apartment number, or state basement apartment. Sometimes, no one mentions during the hearing that tenant rents a certain apartment number. In that case, the landlord may get an eviction order, but may find that the sheriff is unwilling to enforce the eviction order.

In the case of Ball v. Metro Capital Property and Lockhurst (December 19, 2002), Toronto Docket No. 48/02 (Div. Ct.), the Divisional Court  determined that an N5 notice of termination was defective as the notice failed to give the tenant enough information to know the case against her, and to be able to correct the behavior within seven days. The case also stated that the notice must contain specific dates and times when bad behaviour occurred.

An LTB adjudicator called a Member is required to strictly interpret the law.

The LTB provides mediation services if both the landlord and tenant are willing to work out a deal. A mediator is not restricted by technical errors in completing the forms.

A landlord may be able to get around any technical errors in the notice of termination by coming to a mediated settlement.

A Landlord and Tenant Board adjudicator will usually ignore these technical errors in the notice of termination if the landlord and the tenant come to a consent on how to resolve the application. The board adjudicator will prepare a consent order.

Relief from Eviction

On every application the board is required to consider all the circumstances disclosed to determine whether it would be fair to delay or deny an eviction.

If the tenant can prove any of the following, then the board must refuse an eviction.

(a) the landlord is in serious breach of the landlord’s responsibilities under this Act or of any material covenant in the tenancy agreement;

(b) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant has complained to a governmental authority of the landlord’s violation of a law dealing with health, safety, housing or maintenance standards;

(c) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant has attempted to secure or enforce his or her legal rights;

(d) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant is a member of a tenants’ association or is attempting to organize such an association; or

(e) the reason for the application being brought is that the rental unit is occupied by children and the occupation by the children does not constitute overcrowding.

Many self-represented landlords are unaware of these requirements. Often self-represented landlords fail to put forward any evidence of how the board delaying or denying an eviction will affect them.

Worse, landlords are not prepared to ask questions of the tenant or the tenant’s witnesses on this point.

Witness Letters

Many self-represented parties plan to prove vital facts by producing a witness letter. They are unaware that virtually ever board member’s view is that witness letters carry no weight.

If you choose not to hire an experienced Ontario licensed paralegal to represent you, you may find your application dismissed for technical reasons, or you may not be aware what you are required to prove and how to prove it.

Paralegal Representation

Our office receives calls from small landlords everyday who have had their cases dismissed. Sometimes the small landlords don’t even understand why their case was dismissed.

 If you are in Toronto or the GTA and you need to hire a paralegal for an LTB case, contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit https://civilparalegal.com/home_services/landlord-and-tenant-board/

 

Eviction at the LTB for Landlord’s Own Use

There seems to be more of these applications being filed with the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board lately.

At a minimum a contributing factor is the Wynne Government’s Rental Fairness Act which eliminated the landlord’s right to substantially increase the rent at the end of a lease on condos and other properties built after 1991.  The Renal Fairness Act also eliminated above guideline rent increases for higher electricity bills. The act failed to permit above guideline rent increases when condo maintenance fees increase substantially.

Good Faith Intention to Move In

The real question is are these landlords and purchaser bringing applications to evict as they genuinely in good faith plan to move in or have an immediate family member move in and live there for at least a year, or is it a just a no fault eviction method so the landlord can increase the rent to market rate for a new tenant moving in?

T5 Application 

Perhaps landlords and purchasers are unaware or willing to take the risk that a tenant will bring a T5 application later claiming the landlord or purchaser served them an N12 notice in bad faith and evicted then.

The law was changed to make it easier for a tenant to prove bad faith. The onus shifts to the landlord to prove the notice was not given in bad faith if the former tenant can prove the landlord did any of the following:

(a) advertises the rental unit for rent;

(b) enters into a tenancy agreement in respect of the rental unit with someone other than the former tenant;

(c) advertises the rental unit, or the building that contains the rental unit, for sale;

(d) demolishes the rental unit or the building containing the rental unit; or

(e) takes any step to convert the rental unit, or the building containing the rental unit, to use for a purpose other than residential premises.

 

Evictions for landlord’s own use or purchaser’s own use are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, applicable case law, and Landlord and Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline #12.

Landlord’s Own Use and N12 Form

A landlord’s own use application starts with serving an N12 notice correctly and giving the proper amount of notice. If a notice is served by mail it is deemed served five days after mailing.

An L2 application can be filed with the LTB starting the day after service of the N12. It makes sense to issue the application immediately. The person who plans to move in must swear out an affidavit that they in good faith require the property for their own use and plan to live there for at least a year.

Tenants often dispute the landlord or purchaser’s good faith intention. Therefore, I request from my clients the person who plans to move in attend the hearing and testify.

The test of good faith is whether the Landlord has a genuine intention to occupy the rental unit for his own use (Salter v Beljinac 2001 CanLII 40231 (ON SCDC), [2001] O.J. No. 2792 Div Ct)
A landlord who is bringing this type of application is required to pay the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent as compensation for bringing this application. The compensation must be paid before the termination date set out in the N12, and before the hearing, or the board will not grant an eviction order.

A purchaser bringing an own use application is not required to pay compensation.

A purchaser must at a minimum produce a valid Agreement of Purchase and Sale at the hearing.

In file TNL-03124-18, http://canlii.ca/t/hsp9n the board refused to grant an eviction when the compensation was paid after the termination date.  This decision was upheld on review.
Another change that came into effect in 2017, is that no longer can a corporation with a single shareholder bring a landlord’s own use application.

Relief from Eviction

The tenant may also seek relief from eviction under section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Section 83(1) requires the board on every eviction application to decide based on all the circumstances of the parties whether it would be fair to delay or deny an eviction.

Section 83(3) makes it mandatory for the board to refuse an eviction if the tenant proves any of the following:

a)the landlord is in serious breach of the landlord’s responsibilities under this Act or of any material covenant in the tenancy agreement;

(b) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant has complained to a governmental authority of the landlord’s violation of a law dealing with health, safety, housing or maintenance standards;

(c) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant has attempted to secure or enforce his or her legal rights;

(d) the reason for the application being brought is that the tenant is a member of a tenants’ association or is attempting to organize such an association; or

(e) the reason for the application being brought is that the rental unit is occupied by children and the occupation by the children does not constitute overcrowding.

Both landlords and tenants risk a lot in asking the board adjudicator also called a member to make a decision.

Mediation services are available at the board if both parties are willing to come to a compromise such as an agreed extension of the time before the tenant has to vacate, or the landlord paying the tenant more money than the landlord is required to pay as compensation to bring this application.

With so much on the line for both landlords and tenants in this process, it would be wise to obtain the representation of an experienced licensed paralegal to represent you.

If you are in Toronto or the GTA and you require representation, please contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit our website at https://www.civilparalegal.com/home_services/landlord-and-tenant-board/

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