In Ontario, the process of evicting a tenant is a complex and often lengthy. While it is not the ideal solution, in some cases, it is the only option that will suffice so it’s important to understand the process and the implications.
When making the decision to step into real estate investing and managing your own properties or when signing a first lease, it is important to educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities under the law, including rules surrounding evictions.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the tenant eviction process in Ontario, including the different types of evictions, the legal requirements, and some tips for both landlords and tenants. As always, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to contact a lawyer or a group that represents your position, such as the Landlord Self-Help Centre or the Landlord Tenant Board.
Types of Evictions
There are several types of evictions in Ontario, each with their own unique requirements and procedures. Some of the most common types of evictions include:
1. Non-payment of rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may give the tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent. This notice gives the tenant 14 days to pay the rent owed or move out of the rental unit. This notice can be presented to a tenant the day after payment is due. If the tenant pays the outstanding balance within the 14 days, the notice is void but depending on the lease, the landlord can charge additional fees for late payment.
2. Breach of lease: If a tenant has violated the terms of their lease agreement, the landlord may give them a Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of Term or Notice to Terminate a Tenancy Early for Cause. These notices provide the tenant with a specific period of time to correct the violation or vacate the rental unit. This could include disturbing other tenants, damaging property, or breaking rules set out in the Residential Tenancy Act.
3. Illegal activity: If a tenant is engaged in illegal activity on the premises, such as drug dealing or other criminal behavior, the landlord may give them a Notice to Terminate a Tenancy Early for Cause, which gives the tenant a specific period of time to vacate the rental unit.
4. Personal use: In some cases, a landlord may wish to evict a tenant for their own personal use of the rental unit. In this case, the landlord must provide the tenant with a Notice to Terminate a Tenancy at the End of Term or Notice to Terminate a Tenancy Early for Personal Use. The notice must provide a specific date when the landlord or their immediate family member will move into the rental unit. This is only applicable to triplexes and under for rental properties that are owned under the landlord’s name. If a property has more than three units or is owned by a corporation, this type of eviction is illegal.
Regardless of the type of eviction, landlords must follow specific legal requirements when evicting a tenant in Ontario. These requirements include:
1. Providing written notice: Landlords must provide tenants with legal written notice of their intention to evict. The type of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction, but in all cases, the landlord will need to use one of the standard N-forms which can be found on the Provincial website. A letter or other communication is not a legal eviction notice. The notice must be delivered in person or by registered mail, but the lease will set out the appropriate communication channels so please review it before proceeding. Failing to provide the appropriate notice through the correct channel will nullify the eviction notice.
2. Giving sufficient notice: The amount of notice required will depend on the reason for the eviction, but in most cases, landlords must provide at least 60 days' notice. For evictions due to non-payment of rent, the notice period is reduced to 14 days and in certain cases, it can be immediately. Applicable timelines are set out on the first page of each N-form.
3. Following the proper procedure: Landlords must follow the proper legal procedures for eviction, including filing the appropriate forms with the Landlord and Tenant Board, attending a hearing if required, and obtaining a court order if necessary.
4. Refunding any overpayment of rent: If a tenant has paid rent in advance and is evicted before the end of the rental period, the landlord must refund any overpayment of rent.
Tips for Landlords
As a landlord, it's important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to evicting a tenant. Here are some tips to help you navigate the eviction process in Ontario:
1. Document everything: Keep detailed records of any communication with your tenant, including notices, emails, and phone calls. This documentation may be required if you need to file a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board. Additionally, behaviour patterns, such as consistent late payment of rent, could constitute sufficient grounds for eviction even if there are no outstanding balances on their account.
2. Be professional: As much as possible, treat your tenant with respect and maintain a professional demeanor throughout the eviction process. This can help to reduce tension and may make the process go more smoothly. In many cases, explaining the reason for the eviction and bringing the human element into the process will help them understand and potentially decide to vacate the property on their own.
3. Seek legal advice: If you're unsure about your rights and responsibilities, it's always a good idea to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law. They can help you navigate the process and ensure that you're following all legal requirements. I also highly encourage all landlords to join the Landlord Self-Help Centre. This is a service line partially subsidized by the Government of Ontario but primarily funded through the $99 membership that is available 5 days a week to provide advice or information. At ReDeal, we maintain an annual subscription because just one hour with an attorney will cost more than the entire annual fee.
4. Offer alternative solutions: In some cases, it may be possible to resolve issues with your tenant without resorting to eviction. For example, you could offer to set up a payment plan for a tenant who is behind on rent, or you could work together to resolve issues with noise or other disturbances.
5. Be prepared for a hearing: If your tenant challenges the eviction, you may need to attend a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board. It's important to be prepared and to bring any relevant documentation or evidence to support your case. Typically these proceedings are quite informal but I highly suggest hiring an attorney to represent your case because in Ontario, the burden of proof is on the landlord.
Tips for Tenants
If you're a tenant facing eviction in Ontario, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights and interests:
1. Read the notice carefully: When you receive a notice of eviction, read it carefully to understand the reason for the eviction and the timeline for moving out.
2. Seek legal advice: If you're unsure about your rights or the legality of the eviction, it's a good idea to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in tenant law. Alternatively, the Landlord Tenant Board provides free information to help tenants understand their rights throughout the eviction process.
3. Communicate with your landlord: If you're facing eviction due to non-payment of rent, try to communicate with your landlord to work out a payment plan or other solution. Alternatively, find creative solutions to help your landlord understand your situation or why you should stay.
4. Attend the hearing: If your landlord files a claim with the Landlord and Tenant Board, be sure to attend the hearing and bring any relevant documentation or evidence to support your case.
The process of evicting a tenant in Ontario is very complex and there are nuances depending on the type of eviction, the time of year, the type of housing and etc. Properly educating yourself is something that we suggest to all landlords and tenants but seeking the right advice during this process can be crucial.
Alternatively, if you're interested in investing in real estate without any of the headaches (like dealing with tenant evictions and issues), please contact us. Our investment specialists will be more than happy to show you how you can invest in real estate on autopilot.