Unfortunately, not all landlord and tenant relationships are clean and simple. Sometimes, the tenant is troublesome; sometimes, it’s the landlord.
There are several instances when a landlord can evict a tenant in Ontario and there are prescribed steps the landlord must take to ensure that the eviction is legal.
If you want to know not only when a landlord can evict a tenant in Ontario but how the eviction process works, we have the answers.
Can a Landlord Evict a Tenant in the Winter in Ontario?
Yes, a landlord can legally evict a tenant in the winter in Ontario.
However, due to the challenges that can come from an eviction during winter, it is possible that the Landlord Tenant Board will extend the termination date, showing some leniency to the tenant.
But in summary, eviction orders can be granted during the winter months in Ontario.
Common Reasons For Eviction in Ontario
There are many valid and legal reasons why a landlord may evict a tenant.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does include some of the most common reasons for eviction in Ontario.
Frequently Late or Non-Payment of Rent
Non-payment of rent is the most common reason for eviction in Ontario.
When a tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, the landlord has grounds to evict. Similarly, if the tenant fails to pay the full rent amount when it is due, eviction proceedings can be initiated.
If the tenant pays the rent but is frequently late in doing so, the landlord can evict.
Simply put, tenants must pay rent, in full, each month on or before the day it is due.
Illegal Activity on the Property
Illegal activity in a rental unit or property is another reason a landlord can evict a tenant.
The landlord may also evict a tenant if that tenant has allowed another person to perform illegal activities in the unit or property.
Causing Excessive Damage to the Unit or Property
Some level of wear and tear is to be expected in a person’s home. It’s unavoidable. However, if a tenant willfully or negligently causes damage to the rental unit or property, the landlord has the right to evict.
Overcrowding/Too Many People in One Unit
Local by-laws will set occupancy standards, determining how many people can reside in a unit.
If it is discovered that the number of people living in a rental unit, on a continuous basis, exceeds the permitted number, the tenant can be evicted. The tenant will be given notice and will have 7 days to resolve the overcrowding issue. If the tenant succeeds, the eviction notice will be void.
Unreasonably Disturbing Other Tenants or Landlord
The landlord and all tenants in a rental unit or complex have the right to reasonable enjoyment.
If a tenant continuously disturbs the enjoyment, lawful rights, and privileges of the landlord or other tenants, the landlord can move to evict.
Personal Use by the Landlord
If a landlord requires possession of a rental unit for personal use, they may evict a tenant.
This includes if the landlord needs the unit for their parents, spouse’s parents, child, or a person who provides care or support services for any of those people.
If one of those people is moved into the vacated rental unit, they must live there for at least one year.
In this instance, the landlord must offer the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent or another unit.
Personal Use by Purchaser
If the landlord decides to sell the rental property and has reached an agreement of purchase and sale with a buyer, and that buyer wants to move into the rental unit, the landlord can evict the tenant.
Major Repairs or Renovations
Major repairs and renovations often require building permits and vacant units before work can be completed. If this is the case for a rental unit or property, a landlord may evict a tenant.
There is one important caveat, however. If the tenant provides written notice to the landlord before leaving the unit, they have the right to move back in once the renovations and repairs are finished.
Demolition of Unit or Building
A tenant can be evicted from a rental unit if the landlord decides that they want to demolish the unit or building.
The Eviction Process in Ontario
The eviction process in Ontario is complex but it can be broken down into the following 6 steps.
Step 1: Reason for Eviction
Before a landlord can remove a tenant, they must have a valid and legal reason for doing so.
No matter the reason, the landlord must be able to prove that it is an issue for them as a landlord. All information and proof will need to be brought forward to the appropriate authorities for a legal eviction to move forward.
Step 2: Give Tenant Written Notice
Typically, a landlord will give written notice to a tenant that their lease will be terminated.
The landlord is required to use a legal notice from Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). There are several available forms, depending on the reason for eviction. The form will highlight the reason the tenant is being evicted and will provide a particular date for vacating the property.
There are some reasons for eviction that include what is known as a tenant’s remedy. This means that if the tenant corrects the situation before the date of eviction, the eviction is terminated. An example of this would be if the tenant is over occupancy but removes the extra people.
It is important to note that each reason for eviction has a minimum time frame that the landlord must wait before they apply to the LTB. For example, if a tenant owes rent, they must be given 14 days notice to vacate before the landlord can take it up with the board.
Step 3: File Application with the Landlord Tenant Board
If the tenant does not correct the problem or fails to move out in the allotted time frame, the landlord can ask the LTB to terminate the tenancy.
The majority of applications must be made within 30 days of a notice’s scheduled termination date.
Note: there is no deadline for requesting a termination for non-payment of rent.
Step 4: Attend the Hearing
The LTB will schedule a hearing to evaluate the request from the landlord.
The landlord and tenant will receive a Notice of Hearing as well as a copy of the application to terminate. Sometimes the LTB will order the landlord to provide these documents to the tenants themselves. If the landlord is required to deliver the documents to the tenant, the board will issue an Order to Serve Documents detailing what documents to give the tenant and when.
There are two types of hearings, a phone/video hearing and a written hearing.
For a phone/video hearing, both parties give evidence and explain their position via phone or video link.
In a written hearing, both parties state and explain their position while providing supporting documentation. The LTB reviews the explanations and documents before making a decision.
The landlord and tenant may choose to forgo a hearing and opt instead for mediation. The LTB provides mediation, for free, from a neutral third party, helping both sides reach a workable solution.
Step 5: Eviction Order
A member of the LTB will review the landlord’s eviction request and determine whether or not the tenant should be evicted. The decision is known as an “order” and will be made in writing.
Both the landlord and the tenant will receive a copy of the order through the mail. The order may include terms and conditions that must be followed by both parties. In some cases, the eviction order may be voided.
For example, if the eviction is for non-payment of rent, and the tenant pays all the back rent before the given deadline, they can file a motion and a board member may void the eviction order.
Step 6: Enforcing the Eviction Order
Sometimes tenants refuse to leave the unit on or before the eviction date.
The landlord cannot enforce an eviction on their own, they must rely on a Court Enforcement Officer also called the Sheriff’s office. The landlord must file the eviction order from the LTB with the Sheriff’s office who will then legally remove the tenant.
It is illegal for a landlord to change the locks or personally remove the tenant in another fashion.
How Long Does It Take to Evict a Tenant in Ontario?
Unfortunately, eviction is not a speedy process. It can take anywhere from 85 – 138 days to evict a tenant after an eviction notice has been given. If the tenant needs to be removed by the Sheriff’s office, the timeline could stretch to 168 days.
Here’s a closer look at the possible eviction timeline:
- Provide written notice
- File an application with the LTB: 7-60 days after providing written notice
- Attend LTB hearing: 55.6 days after the application is filed
- Receive eviction order: 22.1 days after the first LTB hearing
- Enforce the eviction order: 30 days after the eviction order is issued
These timelines are approximations only. Some evictions may take less time, some may take more.
Cost of Evicting a Tenant
The cost of evicting a tenant can vary. There are some set costs, like application fees, but legal fees and lost rent can factor into the costs.
The costs of evicting a tenant include:
- Eviction application fee: $190 for in-person filing, $175 for online filing
- Sherrif fees: $400
- Legal fees: $2000
- Lost rent: potentially thousands of dollars
On average, evicting a tenant costs landlords around $2,600 plus lost rent. The above fees are approximate. The legal fees will depend on the complexity of the case.
Evicting a tenant in Ontario can be a difficult process. Even when everything goes smoothly, it can be expensive and time-consuming.
To ensure the best possible result, landlords should consider speaking with a local Kingston lawyer well-versed in Landlord and Tenant law before taking action. Lawyers, like those at RBHF, will not only understand the processes of the LTB, but they understand tenant rights, ensuring that any and all actions you take are legal.
Contact RBHF today to discuss your situation and determine the best path forward.