A recent decision from the Divisional Court
provides an outrageous and perfect example of how the legal system
in the Province allows residential tenants to live rent free for
over a year, and in this case, close to a year and a half.
The landlord originally applied to the Landlord and Tenant Board
(the "Board") for an order terminating the tenancy and
evicting the tenant on the grounds that she had failed to pay her
The first hearing was scheduled for April 8, 2013. That hearing
was adjourned at the tenant's request and was rescheduled to
June 7, 2013.
When June 7 rolled around, the tenant sought, and obtained,
another adjournment and the hearing was rescheduled to August 14,
Both of the adjournments were sought by the tenant under the
guise of obtaining more time to do certain things to assist her
case (obtain documents, etc.). As the Divisional Court noted, she
never ended up doing any of these things.
On August 14, 2013, the tenant sought a third adjournment. The
Board finally put its foot down and decided that four months of
delay had been enough. The Board refused to grant another
The Board ordered the tenant out by August 26, 2013,
unless she were to void the order by paying the amount of
$2,126.78 (the back rent that was owed) to the Board in Trust or to
the landlord directly.
Finally, some justice for the landlord...
Not. So. Fast.
The tenant didn't leave and she didn't pony up the rent.
Instead she appealed to the Divisional Court and the Board's
eviction order was stayed in the interim.
The Divisional Court heard the appeal almost a year later, on
June 10, 2014. The tenant raised two grounds of appeal. First, she
alleged that she did not receive a fair hearing before the Board.
Second, she alleged that she had made partial payment of rent and
that accordingly the amount that she was ordered to pay, $2,126.78,
was too high.
The Divisional Court found the appeal to have no merit on either
ground. Sensing defeat, the tenant tried a new angle and raised,
for the first time, allegations that the landlord improperly
entered her unit and distrained her property in
2008! The Divisional Court refused to entertain that
The Divisional Court dismissed the appeal and the stay of the
Board's order was lifted. Justice at last for the landlord, but
not before one final kick in the pants.
The landlord sought its partial indemnity costs of the appeal of
just under $17,000. Meaning that the landlord's actual legal
costs must have been north of $25,000. The landlord, as a
corporation, was legally required to be represented by counsel. The
tenant on the other hand acted for herself throughout.
The Divisional Court stated that the appeal raised
"relatively simple issues" and noted that the tenant is
"of very modest means". It also noted that the
"amount of rent arrears in issue was merely $2,100". The
Divisional Court ruled that the legal fees sought were both
excessive and disproportionate to the issues raised and awarded the
landlord a measly $2,500 in costs.
Now, who's interested in purchasing a rental property in
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