We've all heard stories about the difficult tenant. However, for some landlords, those stories are not merely funny anecdotes but horrifying memories. Most cases of the difficult tenant begin when the tenants begin to think of themselves as the new landlord, deciding that rent is optional or simply unnecessary. Some tenants may have committed an illegal act or decided to flex their entrepreneurial prowess and operate an illegal business. Other tenants may consistently believe they are the only residents living in the building, hosting their own music concerts in the comfort of their living room. Unfortunately, those situations are just the tip of the iceberg of what tenants may do.
A landlord can choose to end a tenancy for the reasons found in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. Those reasons can be divided into two categories: (1) for cause and (2) no fault. According to the Landlord and Tenant Board ("the Board"), "for cause" reasons occur when the tenant, the tenant's guest, or someone else who lives in the rental unit does something they should not do or fails to do something. Some "for cause" reasons include the following:
- not paying the rent in full;
- misrepresenting his or her income or that of other members of his or her household;
- illegal activity in the rental unit or residential complex;
- damaging the rental unit or residential complex;
- disturbing other tenants or the landlord;
- activity that seriously impairs or has seriously impaired the safety of others; and
- too many people occupying the rental unit on a continuing basis.
"No fault" reasons for ending a tenancy do not depend on the tenant's actions or lack of actions. Some "no fault" reasons include the following:
- the landlord plans to do major repairs or renovations that require a building permit and the work cannot be done unless the rental unit is empty;
- the landlord plans to convert the rental unit to use for a purpose other than residential premises;
- the landlord plans to demolish the rental unit or property;
- the landlord requires the rental unit because the landlord, a member of the landlord's immediate family or their caregiver wish to move into the unit; and
- the landlord has agreed to sell the property and the purchaser requires all or part of the property because the purchaser, a member of the purchaser's immediate family or their caregiver wishes to move into the unit. (This reason for eviction only applies in limited situations)
Once the situation falls into one of the above categories, the next step in most cases is for the landlord to give the tenant a notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out. The proper forms that a landlord must use to provide notice to end the tenancy are available from the Board. Different reasons for eviction will require different notices to be completed. See the Landlord and Tenant Board website for the different notices.
The landlord must ensure that they are using the correct notice form and providing accurate information; this is to ensure that the tenant receives all the information that the Act requires. As the Board states, if the landlord does not give the tenant all the information required by the Act, the notice may be void. Further, if the landlord files an application to evict the tenant based on an incomplete or incorrect notice, the application may be dismissed. The landlord should ensure that they keep copies of all forms they complete throughout the eviction process.
Now that the landlord has accurately completed the correct notice form, the notice should be given to the tenant directly or to an adult in the rental unit. One can leave the notice in the tenant's mailbox or where mail is ordinarily delivered. Also, one can place the notice under the door of the rental unit or through a mail slot in the door.
Remember to fill out the Certificate of Service. This certificate of service form tells the Board when and how you gave the notice to the tenant.
In the case of a tenant who does not pay the rent they owe you or does not move out by the date you put in the notice, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to evict the tenant and to collect the rent the tenant owes. The earliest date you can file your application with the Board is the day after the termination date you put in the notice.
To make this application, you will need a Form L1 Application to evict a tenant for nonpayment
of rent and to collect rent the tenant owes. You will also need to file a copy of the Form N4 you gave the tenant, a Certificate of Service, and a filing fee.
Once you file your application with the Board, a hearing will be scheduled. The Board will provide you with a copy of your application and the Notice of Hearing to give to the tenant. Depending on your location in Ontario, a hearing date could be scheduled anywhere from two to four weeks, or even longer, from the date you file your application with the Board.
Once the board makes an order to evict the tenant, the tenant would be provided with ten days to pay.
On the eleventh day, you may go to the Sheriff's office to enforce the Board's order. The Sheriff could take anywhere from days to weeks before the tenant is actually evicted.
The entire eviction process can take a long time – lasting several weeks to even several months. One should commence it as soon as possible. Stories about the difficult tenant could have been much shorter if the landlord promptly took action and commenced the eviction process.
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.