A Guide to Tenant Eviction During Covid-19

Tenant evictions can be irksome at any time, but especially during COVID-19. Yes, you can evict, by issuing a notice of termination. And you can still file applications for Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) hearings.

Nevertheless, COVID has brought changes to tenant evictions:

  • LTB encourages e-filing of termination notices. You can mail, courier or fax it too.
  • Postponed LTB hearings are being rescheduled. Most hearings are online, through TEAMS or Zoom. Participants can use computers or phones.
  • In person hearings may be possible. You can make a special request by emailing your local LTB office.
  • Hearings for tenant evictions are slower than usual because of backlogs. For updates, go to check your file status.
  • Requesting hearing notices and orders be emailed can reduce delays. You can still request an expedited hearing by filing a request to extend or shorten a hearing.

Pandemic or not, there’s no doubt buying a rental property in Ontario has its own unique challenges. They include making tenant evictions.

Owning Rental Property in Ontario — Grounds for Tenant Evictions

While grounds to evict exist, the LTB encourages landlords and tenants to talk through disputes like noise, smoking, overcrowding or non-payment of rent. That includes agreeing to break a lease early.

Negotiate tenant evictions instead of going to court.

Still, you can issue tenant evictions:

  • if you, immediate family or a caretaker plan to move into the rental unit
  • for Ontario landlords selling a house, if the buyer wants to live there
  • for major renovations with proper municipal permits
  • to demolish or convert a rental unit
  • if tenants fail to pay rent or are constantly late with payments
  • if the unit is damaged by a tenant
  • for illegal activity or safety issues
  • for disturbing others’ or your enjoyment of the home
  • and for overcrowding.

What to Know About Tenant Evictions

While you have rights, tenants do too. For example, you can’t hassle or threaten tenants who lose their jobs or demand they provide an employer letter to prove it. LTB suggests landlords allow rent postponements or alternate payment arrangements during COVID-19.

Tenants who want to leave must give notice (usually 60 days) and pay rent unless they assign or sublet their unit with your consent. But your tenant can refuse to leave while they await a LTB hearing and eviction order or until they are evicted by a sheriff for not following a LTB order.

What to look for when you buy income property.

As a landlord, you also cannot make unreasonable requests, such as refusing to let a tenant sublet or assign a unit, which means signing an agreement allowing someone else to rent your suite. But you may have remedies. For instance, if you didn’t consent to an assignment or sublet, you have up to 60 days to object.

Tenants who are late with rent can’t be charged fees or penalties. In fact, you may have to compensate a tenant if you wrongfully evict them, such as saying you plan to move into the unit and then not doing so.

And, you must follow timelines for tenant evictions — for example, waiting the specified number of days to allow your tenant to correct a problem. You can request a LTB hearing if that doesn’t fix the issue, but your tenant can also stay on until they receive a LTB order to go.

Can buyers cancel during COVID?

2021 Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA)

Other changes have occurred during the pandemic. The RTA was amended as of Sept. 1, 2021 to include new provisions for landlords, such as:

  1. Orders for out-of-pocket expenses if a tenant:
    ⦁ interfered substantially with your reasonable enjoyment or lawful rights, privileges or interests, or
    ⦁ failed to pay heat, electricity or water bills not included in their rent.
  2. An order for rent arrears, NSF charges, unpaid utilities, property damages or interference (see 1 above) by former tenants or their guests.
  3. A requirement to disclose if you asked previous tenants in the past two years to move because you, a family member, caretaker or buyer wanted to move in or you planned to repair, demolish or convert the unit. Tenants have up to two years to file a complaint with the LTB.
  4. Personal liability for up to 12 months rent if the LTB rules tenant evictions were made in bad faith.

Why Hire a Lawyer When Buying Rental Property (Ontario)

While buying a rental property in Ontario can be a great investment, before you sign, let Axess Law real estate lawyers review your agreement of purchase and sale. We’ll look for errors, omissions or clauses that could cause you to rethink your decision.

What to include in the agreement of purchase and sale.

We can negotiate with a seller’s representative to amend your offer if a home inspection or getting a mortgage loan takes longer than you expected. Latent (hidden) or obvious defects your home inspector finds may warrant a price reduction or repairs. We liaise with the seller’s lawyer to see if they agree.

Your 25 most common real estate law questions.

Affordable Legal Advice for Income Property Owners

Best of all, Axess Law’s flat fee legal services are affordable. We’re here when you need real estate lawyers in Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa. You pay for only the legal services you need, which is how we keep our flat rate legal services so reasonable.

Your final statement of adjustments includes all your expenses — we explain third-party fees and answer any questions you may have.

See our affordable real estate services.

Buying a home starts at $999.99 and up plus HST or $799.99 and up plus HST when you sell an Ontario property. You can transfer title to a property you own or add a spouse for $649 and up plus HST.

Remote Legal Advice for Income Properties

Prefer not to venture out during COVID-19? Axess Law has remote online video conferencing services for real estate buyers and sellers. You can e-sign legal documents using our secure, confidential virtual real estate lawyer services from anywhere in Ontario. And if you want to meet in person, our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa locations are open for business. We have onsite parking and easy transit access.

E-sign documents in real time.

Book Online or By Phone

Dial toll free to 877-402-4277 or call our 647-479-0118 Greater Toronto lawyer line for in-person appointments. Our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa law offices are open 7 days a week, with day or evening appointments for your convenience. Go online to book times using our easy booking form. Scheduling dates and times for in person appointments or with virtual real estate lawyers takes just minutes.

Related Articles