Most landlords eventually encounter a situation where the tenants fails to pay rent. If the landlord wants to enforce their remedy of eviction, they need to provide proper notice and submit an application for eviction. This process starts with Form N4.
What is Form N4?
The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) oversees all landlord and tenant disputes. The LTB provides forms, applications, and conducts hearings in order to facilitate actions such eviction based on non-payment of rent.
LTB Form N4: Notice to End Tenancy for Non-payment of Rent is the necessary document for providing notice in order to preserve rights as the property owner and eventually be able to move for eviction, if needed.
The form can be found on the LTB Forms page. They offer a variety of different forms and applications for landlord and tenant use - so understanding the specific purposes and requirements of Form N4 is essential for preserving your legal rights.
When to Use Form N4?
Landlords should use Form N4 when:
- the tenant is late on a rent payment, and
- the landlord wants evict the tenant, and
- the tenant is still occupying the unit.
A Tenant is considered late on their rent payment if you do not receive the full rent amount on the day rent is due. For example:
If the rental agreement requires the tenant to pay rent on the first day of each month, and the tenant does not give you the full rent payment on March 1st, the earliest day that you can give this notice is March 2nd.
Delivery of Form N4 provides the tenant with notice of the late payment and sets forth a Termination Date. The tenant must pay the late rent by the termination date. If the rent is not paid by the termination date, the landlord has the right to apply to the board for eviction.
The Termination Date provided in the Form N4 must be at least:
- 14 days after the landlord gives notice, if the tenant pays rent by the month or year, or
- 7 days after the landlord gives notice, if the tenant pays rent by the day or week.
There is a separate application (Form L9) that owners can submit to collect back due rent without evicting the tenant. However, landlords should be aware that if they file the L9 and then change their mind about eviction, they have to start the process over again by filing the proper Form N4 first.
How to Complete Form N4?
Form N4 is a standardized Notice form that requires the landlord to fill in specific information about the tenancy and the rent arrears. For convenience, it provides a prerequisite checklist and clear instructions to help the user.
Landlords should begin by reviewing the checklist provided with the Form N4 to make sure that all the prerequisite conditions and actions have been completed prior to delivering the notice.
Page 1 of Form N4
On page 1, the landlord will fill in key information such as the names of the parties, the subject property address, the total amount owed, and the termination date.
- Landlord/Tenant Information: Ensure to include the full legal names of ALL landlords and tenants noted in the lease agreement. Ensure correct spelling for names and that the address is written correctly.
- Amount that is Owed: Calculate the total amount of rent that is owed by the tenant. This only includes rent that is late and should not include future rent payments in accordance with the lease agreement. The amount can include arrears from multiple months.
- Termination Date: Provide a date that the lease will be terminated if the tenant does not pay. For a tenancy where rent is paid monthly or annually, the termination date must be at least 14 days after Form N4 is provided to the tenant. The termination date minimum is only 7 days after notice is delivered for daily or weekly tenancies.
Note: When you are choosing a termination date, do not include the date you are giving the notice to the tenant. If you are faxing the notice, the notice is deemed to be given on the date imprinted on the fax. If you are sending the notice by courier, add one business day for delivery. If you are sending the notice by mail, add five days for delivery.
Page 2 of Form N4
On page 2, the landlord is provided with a “rent table” to detail the arrears, as well as a section to sign the document, and provide representative information when applicable.
- Rent Table: Fill in dates and amounts of rent owed. The total amount calculated in this table should be reflected in the amount provided on page 1 under the amount that is owed.
- Landlord Signature: Mark the circle that identifies you as the landlord, then sign your name.
- Representative’s Information: If the form is filled out by a representative such as a lawyer or property manager, they will provide their information here.
How to Deliver Form N4?
Landlords have to keep in mind that the purpose of N4 is to provide notice to the tenant, so this form is delivered, not filed.
The form can be delivered by hand on premises to the tenant or mailed. The full list of delivery options include:
- hand it directly to the tenant or to an adult in the rental unit,
- leave it in the tenant's mailbox or where mail is ordinarily delivered,
- place it under the door of the rental unit or through a mail slot in the door,
- send it by fax to a fax machine where the tenant carries on business or to a fax machine in their home,
- send it by courier, or
- send it by mail.
Remember, if you are sending the notice by mail or courier, additional days must be provided when calculating your minimum Termination date.
The delivery instruction must be followed exactly. Never give only verbal notice, nor use an unofficial form or email. Additionally, landlords are specifically prohibited from posting the notice on the door of the rental unit.
Next Steps - Form N4
Landlords should understand that Form N4 only provides notice, it does not evict a tenant nor create an application for eviction. There are a number of steps to take after the delivery of this notice.
First, the landlord must wait until the Termination date before proceeding further. For most leases, this is at least 14 days after delivery.
During this time, the tenant can unilaterally resolve the dispute by paying the full amount of late rent to restore the lease to good standing.
If this occurs, the matter is considered resolved and the landlord cannot move further for eviction. Alternatively, the tenant may voluntarily move out in order to agree with the violation of the lease and end the dispute amicably.
If the tenant does not pay the rent arrears and stays in the property, the landlord can move for eviction. Their next step is to fill out and submit LTB Form L1: Application to Evict a Tenant for Nonpayment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes. The landlord must include a copy of the N4 form and the Certificate of Service with the L1 Application.
The Landlord and Tenant Board provides a complete system for landlord-tenant relations including Form N4: Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent. Landlords can fill out this form and deliver it to the tenant, providing official notice of how much rent they owe and when it must be paid by to avoid an eviction proceeding. Form N4 is the first step in the eviction process for non-payment of rent.
It’s important to note that the Notice and Application process through the LTB requires strict adherence to procedures, and timelines. Landlords will benefit from help of an experienced real estate lawyer when it comes to managing landlord and tenant disputes.
If you have questions about LTB Form N4 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.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is an N4 form for a tenant in Ontario?
An N4 Notice is a legal notice that a landlord can serve on their tenant if rent is late. It is the first step in the eviction process for non-payment of rent in Ontario.
When can I serve an N4 notice to my tenant?
You serve an N4 notice the day after rent is paid, if the tenant has not paid the full amount. So, if the rent is due on 1st day of each month, you can file and N4 on the 2nd.
Can I serve Form N4 by email Ontario?
A landlord can only serve an LTB Notice form by email if they have written consent from the tenant for the delivery of notice.
What is the next step after Form N4?
If the overdue rent is not paid, and the tenant does not move out, the landlord must then submit and L1 Application for eviction.