COVID-19 has presented the world with many issues, both present and future. In our own backyards, we’ve seen many people dealing with financial problems, often due to job loss and lack of subsidies. This directly affects the way one is able to either pay rent or sustain their business as a landlord. This is where the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) comes in.
The Landlord and Tenant Board provides resolutions to disputes between landlords and tenants. At Ontario Legal Pool, we are often presented with cases from both parties, and have extensive knowledge dealing with these. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Landlord and Tenant Board has enforced new procedures in the resolution of such cases. In-person hearings have been suspended, and have been moved to phone or done in writing. Non-emergency eviction hearings have also been suspended, though urgent matters and Bill 184 (more below) may change this.
The usual eviction procedures often include a Notice of Termination which the landlord administers to the tenant, after which there may be a hearing. While a landlord is able to issue a notice to the tenant, the Landlord and Tenant Board is suspending hearings due to COVID-19, unless they are critical cases. In order for an eviction to be considered urgent it would need to include either an illegal act at the residence or serious health and safety issues.
If the Landlord and Tenant Board determines the case as urgent, an eviction order would be issued. The tenant, however, does not need to move from their residence until the Sheriff enforces the final eviction.
COVID-19 may have changed some of the procedures, but this does not mean that either party is without their rights. This is what we’re here for: to help you understand your rights and how we can further help you with your eviction case, whether you are issuing a notice or the one receiving it.
What is Bill 184?
Passed in the province of Ontario, Bill 184 allows landlords to make a private repayment deal with their tenants for deferred rent, due to COVID-19.
While it may defer things like eviction during the present time, it presents several loopholes in the long-run. Bill 184 does not necessarily fully protect the tenant, especially if one is presented with an agreement that gives them no choice. Depending on the wording of the contract, landlords may come to the Landlord and Tenant Board with cases where the tenant was not able to provide full repayment in the allotted time, and they would have eviction rights. This issue is further complicated with the uncertainty of COVID-19 – questions regarding further financial assistance (beyond CERB) for those that have been left without a job, an unstable job market, etc.
As of June 30th, the City of Toronto council voted 22-2 to fight Bill 184, with the support of many housing advocates, citing that while it may protect the tenant momentarily, it could present a bigger issue later on. Even though the Bill is a moving target at this point (at least in the city of Toronto), these private deals can still be legally binding. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, we can help answer your questions and any disputes you are presented with in the case of Bill 184. Contact us to set up an initial consultation for the landlord and tenant issues.
Since COVID-19 has given us different solutions, it is that much more important to inform ourselves of our rights and the procedures put in place to keep everyone safe. We would be happy to help you navigate both the old and new standards of the Landlord and Tenant Board. We know that the stress of this time can be difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to renting or leasing. That is why we’re here to help you alleviate some of that, by providing you with compassion and the answers to any legal issues.