At the outset of the pandemic, the Court ordered a ban on the enforcement of residential evictions tribunal orders. This ban ended on July 31, 2020 and evictions are now enforceable as of August 4, 2020.
The central question from the tenant’s perspective is whether or not the landlord has already obtained an eviction order, which are generated by the Landlord and Tenant Board (“LTB”). If such an order has already been obtained by the landlord and was scheduled to be enforced on or before August 4, 2020, the landlord would have the right to file this order with the Sherriff’s Office who would take the steps to enforce the eviction. If the landlord does not possess an order, they will need to proceed to the LTB and start the process under the new law.
Will the Landlord and Tenant Board Order the Eviction of Tenants?
We are entering new territory as the LTB will likely see a wave of cases where self-represented tenants will ask the LTB to uphold the ban on evictions. Unfortunately for tenants, the LTB does not have this authority. As such, the LTB will provide eviction orders to landlords. As of August 1, 2020, the LTB began to hear all non-urgent matters, including landlords’ requests to evict tenants based on non-payment of rent. If your landlord is seeking to evict you based on the non-payment of rent, the landlord must follow certain procedures. Understanding the procedure may assist you with avoiding an eviction.
What Notice is Required for Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent?
If a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may give the tenant notice of termination. In the case of a daily or weekly tenancy, this notice is not effective until at least 7 days after it has been delivered to the tenant. For a monthly or yearly tenancy, notice is not effective until 14 days after it is delivered. During that period of time, the tenant may bring their rent into good standing by paying the arrears. In light of the economy and job market, best efforts to provide rent should be made and these efforts will be considered by the LTB. If notice is not served, the landlord cannot seek an eviction order.
What Can I do at a Landlord and Tenant Board Hearing for Non-Payment of Rent?
As a tenant, your first line of defence is raising issues with notice. If you were not provided with proper notice of the eviction for non-payment of rent, this should be raised with the LTB at the outset of the hearing. If notice was properly served, then you should give the LTB a reason to delay the eviction. When the LTB orders an eviction, it sets the date on which the eviction can be enforced. As a tenant, you should take the opportunity to explain your circumstances to the LTB. If you are unemployed and cannot readily find an affordable unit, be sure to raise these issues with the LTB. If you are unemployed, you may want to consider bringing evidence of your attempts to find new employment. The LTB Members strive for fairness and will try to give tenants as much time as reasonably possible to bring their rent into good standing, find employment or find alternate accommodation.
These are extremely trying times. Landlords and tenants are financially strained and the LTB is backlogged. There will be delays before eviction requests are heard by the LTB. This time should be used to come up with alternate arrangements or, ideally, an agreement with the landlord. Tenants should try to defer their rent. In seeking a deferral, tenants should emphasize the delays the landlord will face before obtaining an eviction order, your efforts to pay rent and generate an income, and your commitment to bring rent into good standing.
Tanya Walker obtained her law degree from Osgoode Hall at York University in 2005 and her Honours Bachelor of Commerce with a minor in Economics from McMaster University in 2002. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006 and created Walker Law a litigation law firm in 2010. Tanya is currently serving a term as Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario; elected by her peers as not only the first Black elected female Bencher from Toronto, in the 220-year history of the Law Society, but also as one of the youngest sitting Benchers.
Tanya is a frequent speaker on legal issues to the Toronto Community and regularly appears on the CTV Show, Your Morning as a legal expert. She has also been named in the 2017 and 2018 Lexpert Guides as one of the Leading Lawyers to Watch in Corporate/Commercial Litigation and is also the recipient of the 2018 Women’s Business Enterprise of the Year Award.