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Law Talk: When you face eviction

Community Legal Services | Pro Bono Students Canada (UWO) | Lifestyles | October 6th, 2014

What should you do if you receive an eviction notice? Do you have to vacate your home immediately? Can your landlord simply change your locks without notice?

Before a tenant can be asked to leave, the landlord must have a reason to request the tenant to leave. Only reasons recognized by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), the law regarding residential tenancies in Ontario, are legally acceptable.

Acceptable reasons for eviction before the end of a tenancy term include missed rent payments, a tenant engaging in illegal acts or acts jeopardizing the safety of others, causing damage to the unit or premises, and disturbing reasonable enjoyment of the residence by the landlord or others. If the residence is public housing, misrepresentation of income may also be grounds for eviction.

At the end of a tenancy term, the landlord may ask the tenant to leave because of the landlord’s own need for the unit, persistent late rent payments, or because the unit must be demolished or requires repairs.

The landlord must then serve the tenant with a Notice of Termination. The form and amount of notice for the eviction vary with the reason for eviction. A letter from the landlord demanding you to leave is not sufficient. As well, a landlord cannot evict you by simply changing your locks.

A proper Notice of Termination will be a form provided by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The Notice must include the grounds for eviction, with an explanation that allows the tenant to fully understand these reasons.

The Notice must also state that the tenant does not have to move on the termination date. The Notice will provide an option to the tenant to move on the date specified, or to remain in the unit and fight the eviction request at the LTB. If the tenant leaves on the termination date, the tenancy will terminate on that date.

However, a tenant that received a Notice of Termination is not required to move. A landlord can only force a tenant to leave by obtaining an Eviction Order from the LTB. This requires a separate application that must be served upon the tenant.

If you dispute the eviction, you may first seek the assistance of a mediator from the LTB. Mediation can be done over the telephone. If the matter cannot be settled by a mediator or otherwise, the LTB will hear the case. The LTB considers all information regarding the eviction, including possible effects on the tenant.

The LTB assesses the reasons for eviction, and whether an eviction should be ordered. In some cases, the LTB may refuse or delay an eviction if the tenant would experience undue hardship.

In certain situations, the LTB must refuse to grant an eviction. For example, the Board must refuse an eviction if the landlord breached his or her legal responsibilities. Eviction applications brought because a tenant was asserting their legal rights or took part in a tenants’ association have also been refused.

For more information on tenant rights and rental housing laws, and to find application forms to enforce your rights, please visit the Landlord and Tenant Board website at or call them at 1-888- 332-3234.

This column is brought to you by Community Law School (Sarnia- Lambton) Inc., and Community Legal Services and Pro Bono Students Canada at Western University. It provides legal information only. The information is accurate as of the date of publication. Laws change frequently so we caution readers from relying on this information if some time has passed since publication. If you need specific legal advice please contact a lawyer, your community legal clinic, Justice Net at 1-866-919-3219 or the Law Society Referral Service at 1-800-268-8326.
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