Whether you own a single rental unit or manage a large apartment complex, it's likely that you will encounter landlord and tenant issues from time to time.
Property owners may run into a situation where it becomes necessary to evict a tenant from the property. Eviction is often difficult, and it's essential that landlords understand the legal rights provided to all parties in Ontario.
This guide gives an overview of the reasons for evictions, the steps in the eviction process, timelines, costs, and the necessary legal steps involved.
When Can You Evict a Tenant?
Landlords have recourse to evict tenants for a variety of “for-cause” reasons and a few “no fault” reasons. Ontario property owners can file eviction applications for non-payment of rent, violations of the lease, and changes in circumstances that qualify as no-fault situations.
Eviction for Non-payment of Rent
Evictions often come down to money - as a rental property is a business. If the tenant fails to pay rent, or makes repeated late rent payments - these are the most common reasons that landlord evictions. Technically, a tenant is in violation of the lease if their rent is even one day past the payment date described in the Lease Agreement.
Eviction for Lease Violations
A separate category of eviction occurs when the renter violates other terms of the lease. The most common
- Interfering with Others Rights : Tenants who buildup a history of complaints, or otherwise interfere with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants, can be evicted. This also includes interference with the landlord's or other tenant's legal rights.
- Damage: Willful damage that reduces the condition or value of the property can be very concerning for property owners. Tenants can be evicted for this reason. Landlords should take care to properly record or photo the extent of damage to provide evidence that it was caused intentionally.
- Occupancy: Landlords can move to evict tenants if the occupancy exceeds the limits permitted by health, safety or property standards. Often, the tenant is given the opportunity to restore the lease by reducing the number of inhabitants.
- Illegal activity: Property owners have the right to keep their premise free from illegal activity.
Both non-payment of rent and these other lease violations are considered to be caused by actions or inactions of the tenants. So they are referred to as “for cause” evictions.
The landlord may then move on to give the tenant notice in writing of the intent to evict. However, there are also some situations where an eviction can proceed due to no no fault of the tenant.
No Fault Evictions
No fault evictions occur when something changes in the property status outside the tenant’s control. Tenants may be forced to move out of a building that is being demolished in order to build something new, or if major renovations or repairs are being conducted.
Landlords can also evict tenants in the event that the owner or their immediate family member plans to occupy the property. The property may also be converted from residential to commercial use.
One fine point to keep in mind - if a property undergoes extensive remodeling, the evicted tenants usually retain the right to re-rent the property once it becomes habitable.
If the landlord and tenant agree to cooperate in order to end the tenancy, they can act together rather than become adversaries in an eviction proceeding.
Remember that this process should not be handled informally. Specific legal documents including a form N11 must be filed to document the agreement.
The Eviction Process
Landlords should understand that even when they have a valid reason to evict a tenant, they still need to follow a very specific a specific legal procedure.
- Written eviction notice: Property owners must give notice of termination or notice of eviction. The LTB provides a list of forms that landlords need to use (ex. unpaid rent). Depending on the reasons, there is between a 10-120 days notice period that is required.
- Application to the LTB: After the notice period, the tenant may end the process if they correct the matter to the landlord’s satisfaction or move out voluntarily. If not, the landlord must file an application for eviction with the LTB. It is very important to use the form that matches the reason for eviction and to detail the exact reasons for the eviction.
- LTB hearing: Once the application is filed (along with the fee payment), the LTB will send a notice of hearing. Both the landlord and the tenant can attend. At the hearing, the landlord will provide evidence of the reason for eviction and the tenant has a right to defend the allegations. Both parties have the right to legal representation at the hearing.
- Resolution: The LTB will consider all the evidence and issue their resolution of the matter. Some common resolutions include approving the eviction, recommending mediation and a communication plan, or ordering a repayment plan for rent. If the tenant cures the conditions or the tenant pays the rent, the LTB may reinstate the lease in good terms.
- Order of Eviction Granted: If the LTB finds that eviction is warranted, they will issue an official order of eviction. This order is the legal proof that the tenant is actually evicted from the property and must vacate the residence.
- Enforcement: Once an order of eviction is obtained, the tenant may voluntarily leave the premises. But if that doesn’t happen, the landlord may need to forcibly evict the tenant.
Under no circumstances can a landlord take measures on their own to do this. Shutting off the utilities, changing the locks, or hiring a security company to physically evict the tenant are all prohibited. Instead, owners present the order to the court enforcement office. Then, Sheriff’s deputies will carry out the removal of the tenant. Certain actions by the landlord can constitute bad faith evictions.
Eviction Costs and Timelines
The eviction process can take time and cost money.
To file an application, the landlord must pay a $201 Applicarion fee ($186 if filed online).
Additional costs come in the form of legal representation, if the party opts for a paralegal or a lawyer. Paralegals generally charge $150-$300 per hour while lawyers range from $300-$500 per hour.
Keep in mind that a tenant facing eviction may also withhold rent payments during the process. So landlords should factor all these expenses into the equation for planning purposes.
The LTB is notorious for their slow timelines. After filing an application for eviction, it can take between 6 and 9 months to get an eviction hearing.
Even after an eviction is ordered by the LTB, it could take 1-3 weeks to obtain the eviction order, and another 30 days or more to enforce the eviction order through the Sheriff.
Eviction Do's and Don’ts
Landlords in Ontario have numerous allowable reasons to file for eviction. However, you can see that the process is intricate and requires documentation, legal forms, and knowledge of the process. That's many property owners benefit from legal advice from an experienced real estate lawyer when it comes to landlord-tenant issues and evictions.
If you have questions about Evicting a Tenant or any other real estate legal matter, we're here to help. As real estate law specialists, our mission is to provide the clarity and direction you need to protect your property rights.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the easiest way to evict a tenant in Ontario?
The easiest way to evict a tenant in Ontario is to follow the legal process accurately and seek legal representation. This helps to ensure that there are no delays or technical mistakes impacting your legal rights.
Can you force a tenant to move out in Ontario?
In order to evict a tenant in Ontario, you need a valid eviction reason and must follow the legal process set out in the Residential Tenancies Act.
How much does it cost to evict a tenant in Ontario?
The application fee to evict a tenant is $201 ($186 if filed online). Additional fees may include legal representation if you choose to use a lawyer.
Where can I find notice forms and applications for eviction in Ontario?
All notice forms and applications are available on the LTB website here: LTB Forms.