Common Landlord and Tenant Myths Part 3

 

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) only applies if you have a written lease

Myth: A tenancy agreement in Ontario Canada can be written, oral, or implied. Landlord and Tenant statutory rights and obligations under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act are the same regardless of the form of the agreement.

 

 Landlords can include a “not pet” provision in the lease

Myth: A no pet provision in a lease is void. Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act states:

No pet” provisions void                       

14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.  2006, c. 17, s. 14.”

However, case law dealing with condominiums have found otherwise. If the tenant lives in a condominium, the landlord must provide the tenant a copy of the condominium corporation’s declarations and by-laws. If the condominium corporation has made a declaration or by-law that there are no pets allowed in the entire building that may be enforceable against a tenant as it is against ever unit owner in the building.

 

 A landlord can arbitrarily refuse the subletting or assignment of a tenancy

 

Myth: The RTA permits a tenant to sublet or assign their lease. The tenant must request permission from the landlord to do so; however the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse the sublet or assignment request.

 

These terms subtenant and subletting are often misused by landlords and tenants in Ontario. Section 2(2) of the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) defines subletting as:

 

2(2) For the purposes of this Act, a reference to subletting a rental unit refers to the situation in which,

(a) the tenant vacates the rental unit;

(b) the tenant gives one or more other persons the right to occupy the rental unit for a term ending on a specified date before the end of the tenant’s term or period; and

(c) the tenant has the right to resume occupancy of the rental unit after that specified date.  2006, c. 17, s. 2 (2).

 

Section 97(4) and (5) of the RTA state:

 

Consequences of subletting

(4) If a tenant has sublet a rental unit to another person,

(a) the tenant remains entitled to the benefits, and is liable to the landlord for the breaches, of the tenant’s obligations under the tenancy agreement or this Act during the subtenancy; and

(b) the subtenant is entitled to the benefits, and is liable to the tenant for the breaches, of the subtenant’s obligations under the subletting agreement or this Act during the subtenancy.  2006, c. 17, s. 97 (4).

Overholding subtenant

(5) A subtenant has no right to occupy the rental unit after the end of the subtenancy.  2006, c. 17, s. 97 (5).

 

 

If the landlord rented the apartment with an “As is” clause in the lease the tenant cannot complain about maintenance issues which existed before they moved in.

 

Myth: Section 3 of the RTA states the act applies despite any waiver or agreement to the contrary.  Section 20(1) and 20(2) of the RTA state:

 

“Landlord’s responsibility to repair

20 (1) A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.  2006, c. 17, s. 20 (1).

Same

(2) Subsection (1) applies even if the tenant was aware of a state of non-repair or a contravention of a standard before entering into the tenancy agreement.  2006, c. 17, s. 20 (2).

 

 

The Human Rights Code does not apply to Ontario tenancies covered by the Residential Tenancies Act

 

Myth: Every landlord has a duty to accommodate a tenant’s code related ground, such as a disability, to the point of undue hardship. To do so the tenant must advise the landlord of disability, and seek accommodation from the landlord.

 

Even if the tenant does not tell the landlord about the disability, the landlord cannot be willfully blind. If a disability is obvious, the landlord will be considered to have constructive knowledge of it and therefore should have attempted to address the issue with the tenant prior to taking steps to evict the tenant.

 

Landlord’s obligations to accommodate under the Human Rights Code are complicated. This is just an overview of the law.

 

See Landlord and Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline 17 for more information.

 

Interpretation Guideline 17 states in part:

 

Relief from eviction

In Walmer Developments v. Wolch15 the Divisional Court held that the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal (now the Board) must consider and apply the Code when exercising its authority to grant relief from eviction. A Member considers such relief pursuant to section 83 of the RTA. Section 83 states that the Member must have regard to all the circumstances to determine whether it would be unfair to refuse the landlord’s eviction application or postpone the enforcement of the eviction order.

If the Member determines that the landlord has failed to accommodate a tenant covered by one or more of the categories contained in subsection 2(1) of the Code up to the point of undue hardship, the Member must consider relief from eviction in accordance with clause (a) of subsection 83(1) of the RTA. However, even if relief is granted, the Member may still consider whether other types of conditions and requirements should be ordered to address the conduct or problem at issue. The authority to make such orders comes from subsection 204(1) of the RTA.

 

 

My lease has expired. My tenancy is now on a month to month basis. Terms of the expired written lease no longer apply

 

Myth: At the expiry of a written lease the tenancy continues on a month to month basis indefinitely on the same terms and conditions contained in the written lease. Evictions based on behavior of the tenant that are contrary to the written lease can still be the subject of an eviction application to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

 

Landlord and tenant applications to the LTB can be complicated. Even cases that start out as straight forward can become complicated at a hearing. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant bringing or defending an application at the Landlord and Tenant Board your best weapon to hire an experienced licensed, trained, and insured Paralegal Ontario.

 

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

Landlord and Tenant Board

Eviction For Persistent Late Payment of Rent

The Landlord and Tenant Board sees lots of N8 Persistent Late Payment of Rent applications. Most self-represented landlords think they will get an eviction order as a result of this L2 application based on an N8. Chances are they will not.

An N8 notice can be served with at least 60 days notice at the end of a lease term or served on a month to month term. The notice must be properly completed so that the tenant knows the case she has to meet.

The board may dismiss the application if the N8 notice fails to give enough details. See Ball v. Metro Capital Property, [2002] O.J. No. 5931 (Div Ct.)
An application is filled with board under section 58(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act. The RTA states:

58 (1) A landlord may give a tenant notice of termination of their tenancy on any of the following grounds:

  1. The tenant has persistently failed to pay rent on the date it becomes due and payable.

How many times is the tenant required to pay rent late to bring this application? As you can see there is no definition in the RTA of how many late payments constitute persistent late payment of rent.

Landlords are encouraged to serve an N4 every time the rent is late. These N4s can be used as evidence in a Persistent Late Payment of Rent application.

In TEL-80574-17 (Re), 2017 CanLII 94082 (ON LTB) the board found that rent paid late nine of the last 11 months constitutes Persistent Late Payment of Rent.

In TEL-78434-17-RV (Re), 2017 CanLII 60063 (ON LTB) the board found:

5.     The Tenant has also been persistently late paying the rent. Since July of 2016 the Tenant has never paid rent on time and in full. Between September of 2016 and March of 2017 she was continuously in arrears. The Rent Bank cleared the arrears then owing on March 28, 2017. Since then new arrears have accumulated.

  1. 17.  An order shall issue terminating the tenancy on May 31, 2017 pursuant to the notice of termination for persistent late payment of rent.”

 

Eviction is supposed to be the last resort to deal with applications. Board adjudicators are reluctant to evict a tenant on a first Persistent Late Payment of Rent application.

The typical order the LTB will make on a persistent Late Payment application is to order the tenant to pay rent on the first business day of the month for the next 12 months. If the tenant makes all the payments, then no problem and the tenancy will continue. However, if the tenant fails to pay the rent in full and on time, the landlord can come back to the board without notice to the tenant to seek an eviction based on a single default of the order.
The Landlord and Tenant Board Interpretation Guideline 7 gives some information of discretionary refusal of an eviction due to an N8 Persistent Late Payment of Rent. Guideline 7 reads in part:

“Circumstances Justifying Discretionary Refusal

“ In a case of persistent late payment of rent, the tenant had financial problems when he became unemployed, but for months since he found another job, payment has been right on time. The eviction may be refused despite the earlier months of late payments, due to the tenant’s good conduct. In such circumstances, the Member may order that on-time rent payments are to be made, by the tenant to the landlord, for a specified number of months following the hearing.

A tenant is not excused from paying rent even if the landlord has greater financial resources (e.g., a public agency or large corporate landlord). Other relevant factors may include whether the current reason for eviction has been repeated, the impact this tenant is having on the landlord or other tenants, whether the tenant has taken positive steps to reduce or eliminate the reason for the eviction, and other indications of good faith on the part of either the landlord or the tenant.”

 

A non-payment of rent notice is voidable by the tenant paying all the rent that is owed. A persistent late payment of rent notice N8 is not voidable. Once served, the tenant cannot fix their behaviour to avoid an L2 eviction application and a Notice of Hearing.

Hearings at the Landlord and Tenant Board can be complicated. This is especially true if you are not familiar with the forms, applications, rules of the Landlord and Tenant Board, the board’s Interpretation Guidelines, case law, and evidence necessary to win your case.

If you need representation at the Landlord and Tenant Board I encourage you to hire an experienced licensed paralegal Ontario.

If you are in Toronto or the GTA and require the services of an experienced licensed paralegal, please contact Marshall Yarmus of Civil Litigations at 416-229-1479 or visit   https://civilparalegal.com/home_services/landlord-and-tenant-board/

 

How do you evict your tenant for seriously interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants or seriously interfering with the landlord’s lawful rights?

Typically, an N5 form is served on the tenant for certain types of bad conduct issues. In the notice the landlord alleges the tenant is seriously and substantially interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of another tenant or seriously and substantially interfering with the landlord’s lawful rights, privileges and interests.

Conduct issues that may disturb other tenants include but are not limited to: making too much noise, smoking cigarettes or marijuana, odours emanating from the apartment, etc.

There is also conduct that substantially violates a landlord’s lawful rights, interest or privileges. These include, but are not limited to breaching a lease term that significantly affects the landlord’s rights. The lease term violated must be an enforceable lease term; one that is not contrary to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Many leases contain illegal terms that the Landlord and Tenant Board will not enforce.

An N5 notice can be served on the tenant(s) in accordance with section 64(1(2)(3)) of the Residential Tenancies Act. The RTA states:

 

64 (1) A landlord may give a tenant notice of termination of the tenancy if the conduct of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the residential complex by the tenant is such that it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or another tenant or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord or another tenant.

Notice

(2) A notice of termination under subsection (1) shall,

(a) provide a termination date not earlier than the 20th day after the notice is given;

(b) set out the grounds for termination; and

(c) require the tenant, within seven days, to stop the conduct or activity or correct the omission set out in the notice.  2006, c. 17, s. 64 (2).

Notice void if tenant complies

(3) The notice of termination under subsection (1) is void if the tenant, within seven days after receiving the notice, stops the conduct or activity or corrects the omission.”

 

 

A first N5 notice is served on the tenant. They then have seven days to stop the bad behavior. If the notice is served on the tenant by mail, then they have twelve days to stop the activity. If they stop the bad activity during the seven or twelve day period that is the basis for the N5, then there cannot be an eviction application to the Landlord Tenant Board Ontario.

If the tenant does not stop the bad behavior within seven days, then the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order.

However, if the tenant did stop the activity within seven days, but starts up doing the same bad behavior within six months, the landlord may serve a second N5 notice to the tenant. Once served, the landlord can immediately apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order.

Common Errors made by self represented landlords in preparing the N5 notice include: not serving the notice(s) correctly in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act and its rules, not proving enough details in the N5 in violation of the principals set out in the important Divisional Court case of Ball v. Metro Capital, failing to count the days properly, failing to fully and properly identify the rental unit. These errors can be fatal to the landlord’s case. If the board determines the notice was prepared improperly, the board will not issue an eviction order. See the Landlord and Tenant Board’s Interpretation Guideline #10 for more information.

It is important to obtain the legal representation of a paralegal Ontario early.

The majority of people who come in to see me for a consultation have an N5s that was prepared incorrectly.  When representing a tenant, I seek to have the application dismissed on that basis alone. When I represent a landlord, I urge them to have me re-do and re-serve the N5 properly, or face the likely outcome of their application being dismissed.

At the hearing of an L2 application based on an N5 notice, the landlord must prove the contents of their notice(s).  This often means calling another tenant, property manager, superintendent or other person to testify at the hearing. When in doubt whether the witness will testify voluntarily, a Summons should be issued and served on that person.

I started the article by stating typically an N5 notice is given to the tenant for bad behavior. However, if the building contains three units or less the landlord may choose to use an N7 form instead.

Section 65(1)(2)(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act states:

 

65 (1) Despite section 64, a landlord who resides in a building containing not more than three residential units may give a tenant of a rental unit in the building notice of termination of the tenancy that provides a termination date not earlier than the 10th day after the notice is given if the conduct of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the building by the tenant is such that it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the building for all usual purposes by the landlord or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord.  2006, c. 17, s. 65 (1).

(2) A notice of termination under this section shall set out the grounds for termination.  2006, c. 17, s. 65 (2).

Non-application of s. 64 (2) and (3)

(3) Subsections 64 (2) and (3) do not apply to a notice given under this section.  2006, c. 17, s. 65 (3).

 

There are two main benefits of a landlord using an N7 LTB notice, if applicable, over the N5 form. First, the tenant is not given a period of time to stop the bad behavior.

Secondly, a landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board immediately after serving the N7 notice on the tenant. There is no required waiting period as there is with an N5 form.

With so much on the line for both landlords and tenants in these types of notices and applications, it would be wise to obtain the representation of an experienced Ontario 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/

 

 

 

Eviction at the LTB for Landlord’s or Purchaser’s Own Use

There seems to be more of these applications being filed with the 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.

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?

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.

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 – even with a single shareholder – bring a landlord’s own use application.

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/

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

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