Evictions – Ontario housing law basics

January 13, 2022

  • What legal reasons can a landlord use to evict me?

    Your landlord may want you to move out for any number of reasons, but only some reasons are legally allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Your landlord cannot evict you for reasons outside of the RTA and must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for a formal eviction.

    Before applying to have you evicted, your landlord must provide you with a Notice to End your Tenancy, by using one of the forms found on the Landlord and Tenant Board Website. The most common reasons for eviction include:

    • You owe rent:

    You have until midnight on the day that rent is due to pay your landlord. However, if you are even one day late, your landlord can give you a Form N4, or a Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent. If you receive a Form N4, you normally have 14 days to pay what you owe to cancel the notice and avoid the eviction process.

    • You often pay your rent late:

    If you are often late with rent, your landlord might give you a Form N8, also called a Notice to End your Tenancy at the End of the Term. This type of notice cannot be automatically cancelled after you have paid what you owe, but you may be able to avoid an eviction hearing at the LTB by making an agreement directly with your landlord to pay your rent on time going forward.

    • You did something illegal on the property:

    Your landlord may evict you if they think you did something illegal or allowed someone to do something illegal – such as selling drugs or assaulting someone – in your rental unit or building. In this case, your landlord might give you a Form N6, or a Notice to End your Tenancy for Illegal Acts or Misrepresenting Income in a Rent-Geared-to-Income Rental Unit.

    • You caused damage to the property, or interfered with the landlord’s legal interest in the property:

    You could be served a Form N5, or Notice to End your Tenancy for Interfering with Others, Damage or Overcrowding, if your landlord says you have engaged in bad conduct of some kind. For example, if your landlord says you have damaged your rental unit or building, or that you bothered other tenants or the landlord’s staff, they might serve you with an N5. If you have only received one N5 within a 6-month time period, you have 7 days to cancel the notice by doing what is requested on the form. If you have received more than one N5 notices in 6-months, then you likely cannot cancel the notice, and should seek legal support.

    Another reason why you may receive an N5 is overcrowding, where too many people are living in the unit exceeding the occupancy standards required by municipal bylaws. If this is your first N5, you can void the notice by removing the extra person(s) within 7 days of receiving the notice. If this is your second N5, you may not be able to void the notice, and the landlord may be able to apply to the LTB for an eviction.

    If your landlord lives in the building as well and it has few units, or says you damaged your place on purpose, or have caused (or might cause) “serious” damage by using your space for something that isn’t compatible with residential uses, they can serve you with a Form N7, or Notice to End your Tenancy For Causing Serious Problems in the Rental Unit or Residential Complex. This type of notice is one that you cannot void.

    • Your landlord wants to tear the building down, renovate it, or use it for something else:

    Sometimes, a building requires work that cannot be done with people living inside it. If your landlord says you have to move out for necessary repairs or renovations, they are required to give you at least 120 days notice in writing. Such notice should be on a Form N13, or Notice to End your Tenancy Because the Landlord Wants to Demolish the Rental Unit, Repair it or Convert it to Another Use, from the LTB. This notice can also be used if the landlord is demolishing your home, or converting it to a non-residential use.

    If you are being evicted for this reason, the landlord will either have to provide you with an acceptable alternative unit or compensate you, as long as they haven’t been ordered to do the work by a government or safety authority. If you are being evicted because your landlord is renovating, the landlord must first give you the option to re-occupy the freshly renovated unit before they are allowed to offer the unit to another person.

    • Your landlord, landlord’s family, someone buying your place, or the buyer’s family wants to move in:

    Your landlord may try to evict you because they or their family wants to move in themselves. If your place is being sold, your landlord is also allowed to evict you on behalf of the buyer if the buyer or the buyer’s family intends to move in. You may also be evicted if a caregiver for your landlord, purchaser, or their family members will be moving into your unit. This can only be legally done if your landlord is an individual and not a business – a corporation cannot claim to use the unit for its “own use”.

    In such cases, the landlord must give you written notice in the form of a Form N12, or Notice to End your Tenancy Because the Landlord, a Purchaser or a Family Member Requires the Rental Unit. If you agree to move out of your unit, your landlord must either offer you another acceptable unit to move to or pay you at least one month’s rent by the termination date on the Notice. If you decide to challenge your landlord’s notice, you do not need to move, but your landlord must still pay you one month’s rent by the termination date on the notice. You may need to return that money if the LTB does not order you to move.

    If you are being evicted and are unsure of your rights, CCHR may be able to assist you.

    CCHR is only able to provide legal information, and cannot provide legal advice or representation. If you require additional legal supports, please contact your local legal clinic.

  • How much notice does my landlord have to give me before an eviction can take place?

    The date that your landlord wants you to move out by should be listed on a Notice to End your Tenancy. Different notices require the landlord to provide you with a different number of days of notice. Some of the most common reasons and their minimum notice periods are:

    • 120 days – if your landlord wants to tear down the building, renovate it, or use it for something else.
    • 60 days – if your landlord, a purchaser, members of their immediate family, or caregivers want to move in.
    • 20 days (at least) – if it is your first time receiving a notice for causing damage, or disturbing the landlord or other tenants. However, if it is your second notice within 6 months, you are only entitled to 14 days of notice. If your landlord lives in your building and there are 3 or fewer units, then this type of behaviour could result in receiving only 10 days of notice.
    • 14 days – if you are on a year-long or month-to-month lease and owe rent. However, if you pay your rent on a weekly or daily basis, this period shortens to only 7 days.
    • 10 days – if your landlord claims you did something illegal, such as making or selling an illegal drug for example, you may only be entitled to 10 days of notice.
    • Some notices will ask you to correct your behaviour or pay the rent you owe to cancel the notice.

    There are other, less common, reasons why you might be evicted.

    If you are being evicted, CCHR may be able to assist you with legal information and referrals.

  • What can I expect after I’ve received a Notice to End my Tenancy?

    You might decide to move out after your landlord gives you a Notice to End your Tenancy. However, you do not have to move out just because you received a Notice to End your Tenancy. Whatever you do, you should keep a copy of your Notice.

    At this stage, you might still be able to stop the eviction process. Depending on your landlord’s reasons, you could try:

    • Speaking with your landlord
    • Finding a mediator who can help you and your landlord come to an agreement outside of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
    • If you owe rent, pay what you owe

    If you do not want to move out and cannot resolve things with your landlord, they can apply to the LTB for an eviction order. If they do so, the LTB will send you a Notice of Hearing and an Application. The Notice of Hearing will give you details of how your hearing will take place. It should include a time, date and location of hearing, which will probably be an online meeting space.

    You can take some steps to prepare for your hearing, including:

    • Collecting evidence to present at your hearing
    • Making detailed notes about what you plan to say at the hearing
    • Requesting accommodation if needed

    It is important that you go to the hearing. If you do not attend or arrive late, it is likely that the LTB will make an eviction order against you.

  • What happens at an eviction hearing?

    Your Notice of Hearing should say how your hearing will be held. Hearings are held in one of four different formats:

    • Oral – The applicant (e.g. landlord) and the respondent (e.g. tenant) appear in person before a member of the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
    • Video Conference – the hearing takes place using a video link sent to all parties and the LTB member
    • Telephone hearing – the hearing takes place using a telephone link between the LTB member and the parties.
    • Written hearing – the parties file written documents instead of appearing in person

    Hearings take different amounts of time, based on things like the number of witnesses, the issues at hand, and the evidence presented. For oral and video hearings, several hearings are booked on the same day. Be prepared to wait for your case to be called, and plan to be at your hearing for the entire day just in case your hearing is called later in the day. If you will be unable to attend the hearing yourself, you may send a representative if you provide written authorization to that person. They may then argue your case, or request to change the date of the hearing.

    Before your hearing, you will have the opportunity to request a Mediator and Tenant Duty Counsel. Mediators attempt to help landlords and tenants to come up with compromises that each party can live with. It is voluntary and confidential. Tenant Duty Counsel are legal professionals who help tenants for free on the day of their hearing. While you do not need an appointment to speak to either a mediator or Tenant Duty Counsel, you should arrive promptly at the start of your hearing to ensure that you have a chance to consult them before your file is called.

    If you are representing yourself and don’t understand something that is being said, ask the LTB members or other participants to explain. While the LTB member cannot give you legal advice or tell you how best to present your case, they may slow down the proceedings or explain the process in more detail.

    If you require language interpretation, or a disability accommodation, contact the LTB in writing to make those arrangements. Keep a copy of any letters you send to the LTB. It is prudent to arrange your own back-up interpreter as well, and to speak to Tenant Duty Counsel before your hearing if you are not represented.

    The hearing process on the day of your hearing will be as follows:

    1. The applicant (e.g. the landlord) gives their opening statement and tells their story
    2. The respondent (e.g. the tenant) can ask questions about the applicant’s evidence and present their own evidence
    3. The respondent tells their story
    4. The applicant can ask the respondent questions
    5. Each side gives a closing statement summarizing their argument and what they want the outcome to be
    6. The LTB member decides

    At the end of the hearing, the LTB member will either give their decision right away, or “reserve their decision.” This means that they will take time to consider the evidence and submissions. In both cases, you will receive the decision in writing.

  • I’ve received an eviction notice – where can I get help?

    If you are being evicted and are unsure of your rights, CCHR may be able to assist you with legal information and referrals.

    CCHR is only able to provide legal information, and cannot provide legal advice or representation. If you require additional legal supports, please contact your local legal clinic.

If you need help in your housing, we may be able to assist you.

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) provides free, individualized services to renters in Ontario who are facing challenges in their housing.

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