Canada: My Landlord Wants Me Out, What Do I Do? A Tenant's Guide To The Eviction Process

Last Updated: February 21 2014
Article by Matthew Wilson and Brendan Farrer, Student-at-law

The eviction process can be a confusing and stressful situation for any tenant. There are many rules and procedures that you have to follow. More importantly, your ability to remain in your home hangs in the balance. This article will provide a review of the basic procedure for an eviction. However, it must be remembered that every case is different and you may need the assistance of someone else to guide you through the process.

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 is the law in Ontario that governs the relationship between a landlord and their tenants. This law is meant to provide protection to a tenant and the right to remain in their unit. As a result of this law, landlords are limited to only being able to evict a tenant in certain situations. In addition, only the Sheriff can actually evict a tenant in Ontario and they will only do so if they have an Order from the Landlord and Tenant Board which says that they can. If you are still living in your unit, and have not been evicted by the Sherriff, your landlord is not allowed to change your locks in an attempt to evict you. If your landlord does change your locks without providing you a new set of keys you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to require your landlord to let you back into the unit.

You Can Always Agree

A landlord and tenant can come to an agreement to end the tenancy arrangement at any time. If you and your landlord want to end your tenancy the Landlord and Tenant Board has a form you can use for this purpose. It is recommended you put your agreement in writing.

However, if you sign this form but later change your mind and want to stay in your unit, your landlord could apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict you. Therefore you should think long and hard before deciding to voluntarily leave your unit.

If You Don't Agree

If your landlord wants to end your tenancy agreement but you do not want to, your landlord will have to apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board and this Board will have to order that you are evicted.  

The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 provides that a landlord is only allowed to end your tenancy in certain situations. For each situation your landlord will have different requirements they must meet and each situation has different times when a landlord can try to evict you. For example, there are different requirements that your landlord must follow if they want to evict you for not paying your rent as compared to the situation when they want to evict you because they want to live in your unit. The Landlord and Tenant Board has a document which outlines all of the potential reasons that a landlord can apply to evict a tenant.

The first step that a landlord must do is to provide you with "Notice" of their intention to evict you. There are many different types of Notice forms. As a tenant who receives a notice you should read this form carefully as they explain important information about what you must do in response to this Notice. In addition, you should make sure that this Notice is accurate. Some of these Notice forms will provide you with a way to remain in your unit if you follow the Notice's instructions. For example, if you are not paying your rent, your landlord may give you a N4 Notice Form and if you pay the amount that you owe, you should be able to remain in your unit, so long as your landlord is not trying to evict you for another reason.

If you disagree with the Notice and you do not want to leave your unit on the "Termination Date" provided for in the Notice, your landlord will have to ask the Landlord and Tenant Board for a hearing date to determine the issues that you disagree over and to determine if you should be evicted. Your landlord will give you a copy of the Notice of Hearing which will tell you when the hearing will be held and where it will be held.

On the hearing date, it will be your responsibility to show up and speak to your case. Your landlord will present their case and you will have a chance to respond to them. The Landlord and Tenant Board will then issue an Order which will decide whether or not your eviction should be allowed, refused, or delayed.

If you are ordered to be evicted and you refuse to leave, a Sheriff will then come to your unit to enforce your eviction.

Your eviction process can be confusing and stressful. As a result, you may want to seek legal assistance early on so that you can address, understand, and properly fight your eviction. If you are unable to speak to a lawyer before the date of your eviction most Landlord and Tenant Board offices have a "Tenant Duty Counsel" who you can speak with. This individual is either a lawyer or other legal professional who assists tenants on the date of their hearing but is separate and independent from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Matthew Wilson
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