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The consequences of not paying rent

UWO Law Services | Interrobang | News | February 6th, 2006

Whether you are attempting to withhold rent from your residential landlord until they make repairs, or because you're simply short on funds, not paying rent has serious consequences. As soon as your rent is past due, your landlord may issue a notice of termination under the Tenant Protection Act which would become effective 7 days after the notice is given in the case of a daily or weekly rental agreement. In terms of a monthly agreement, the notice of termination would become effective 14 days after notice.

In order to avoid eviction you would have to pay all outstanding rent before the termination date in the notice. If this is not done, then your landlord can apply to the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal to have you evicted. If you do not agree with the claim, you must file a written dispute within 5 days of receiving the application. It must be filed with the Tribunal in order for you to fully participate in the eviction hearing. If you agree with the amounts owed, you can pay the landlord all the outstanding amounts plus their costs to file the application with the Tribunal before or during the hearing to prevent the eviction from being ordered.

If you do not pay up and are evicted, the landlord can attempt to collect the outstanding rent through the courts. This can lead to garnishment of wages or bank accounts and/or seizure of property. The landlord can also report the debt to the major credit reporting agencies such as Equifax and Trans Union. Poor reports from either agency can lead to denials of credit in the future.

Given the long term consequences of not paying your rent, you should always think twice before doing so!

If you have questions about the Tenant Protection Act, many answers can be found at the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal website at or you can call Community Legal Services, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario at 1-519-661- 3352.

The students of Community Legal Services are available to meet with Fanshawe students at our office on campus on Tuesday or Thursday. Please call CLS for more details.

This column provides legal information only. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer, community legal clinic or the Lawyer Referral Service at 1-900-565-4577.
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