The landlord and tenant relationship can be difficult to navigate for both parties. Ideally, a landlord will provide accommodations consistent with the terms of the lease, maintain the building according to provincial standards and allow tenants full enjoyment of their units. However, during my short time as student-at-law with Jasmine Daya & Co. and as a caseworker at Community Legal Services I’ve learned that there are a variety of ways that landlords can fail to live up to their obligations under the rental agreement. Tenants can also cause a variety of aggravating problems for landlords and their other tenants, but even tenants who can be legally evicted have protections under the Residential Tenancies Act.
There are a variety of legitimate reasons for which a landlord may wish to end a tenancy. If you’re looking to learn more about evictions from the landlord’s perspective, see Nicole Szczepanowski’s blog post on Ending a Tenancy by a Landlord. Landlords must follow the evictions process as laid out in the Residential Tenancies Act. The Landlord must first submit a Notice to End Your Tenancy describing the reason they believe the tenant must leave the property. If the tenancy is being terminated because of issues with the landlord or other tenants, landlords should be careful to keep records of the dates and times of all incidents.
A tenant who receives a Notice should review it carefully and consider their options. If there is behavior that can be changed easily or a misunderstanding, the tenant should consider contacting the landlord. If there is an issue regarding the payment of rent, the tenant should attempt to bring their account into good standing or explain the reason for the shortfall and suggest a timeline during which the outstanding rent can be repaid. Many times, it is in the best interest of both parties to resolve the issue among themselves at this stage.
The next step in the eviction process is for the landlord to submit an Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant. This includes the Notice to End Your Tenancy, along with proof the tenant received the Notice in the form of an Affidavit of Service, and supporting information. The Landlord and Tenant Board will notify the landlord and all tenants of a hearing date where the Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant will be heard. While this process may take longer than many landlords would desire, it is important to comply with the evictions process as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act.
A landlord who resorts to self help and attempts to evict a tenant without conforming to the proper procedures can create a host of liability problems for themselves. A landlord who attempts to subvert the evictions process altogether faces the prospect of paying a variety of expenses related to the tenant’s move. In an Application about Tenant Rights, a tenant can inform the board that a landlord: entered their rental unit illegally, changed the locks on the unit or building without providing keys, substantially interfered with reasonable enjoyment of the unit and, did not provide 72 hours to remove property from the rental unit.
The right to evict a tenant does not give a landlord the right to dispose of or sell the tenants property until this 72-hour period has passed. Landlords should be aware that they may be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing lost or damaged property depending on the circumstances. Tenants who have been illegally evicted can apply for a remedy whereby the landlord would be ordered by the Landlord and Tenant Board to pay the difference in rent between their old rental unit and their new rental unit for up to one year. Landlords can also find themselves responsible for the moving and storage expenses of an illegally evicted tenant as well as their out-of-pocket expenses related to the unexpected move.
Eviction is a stressful event, but both landlords and tenants should be aware of the proper evictions procedure and the penalties for failing to adhere for it. For a landlord, the failure to conform to the proper procedure can leave them in a far worse financial position than they would have been had they simply followed the rules. For tenants who have been evicted illegally, it is important that they know their rights and contact a legal professional to ensure they are protected. Both parties should keep records of any communication between them and safeguard any evidence that supports their position. Like any other hearing, a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing will be decided on the basis of facts that can be supported with evidence.
Jasmine Daya & Co. has recently expanded our services to include Landlord and Tenant Services. If you have any questions, call our team at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.