What is the Landlord and Tenant Board?
The Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal also known as the Landlord and Tenant Board is the tribunal that enforces the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, and settles disputes between them.
Loosely, it is the court where landlords and tenants go when they have issues. The board has a chairman, vice-chairman and members who may be public servants employed under the Public Service of Ontario Act. The board has powers to determine questions of law and fact with respect to all matters within its jurisdiction as provided by the RTA. As such, parties present their claims with evidence and they are represented by lawyers who argue on their behalf.
The jurisdiction of the Board arises when an application is brought under the RTA. Both the landlord and tenant can file an application before the board. The tenant can apply to the Board if the landlord does not follow the rules set out in RTA, and fails to carry out repairs or maintenance, or refuses to respect the tenants’ rights. The landlord can also apply to the Board mostly, for an eviction. Upon application to the Board, the Board sends a Notice of Hearing and an Application to the tenant containing the requests of the landlord.
In some instances, the Board does not give notice or an application and can even order eviction without hearing. The hearing is called an ex parte hearing and it is done if the landlord claims that both parties made an agreement to end the tenancy, or the tenant gave the landlord a notice to end the tenancy. An application for either of the parties can be filed by the authorized representative under the authority of the Law Society Act. Where this happens, the Board may require the copy of the authorization to be filed.
Landlord and Tenant Cases
Under Ontario law, you are a Landlord when you rent out your house or building to another person and you are a tenant if you’re the other party paying rent for that property.
Either way, you will be interested in knowing the rights that you are entitled to. Knowing your rights as a landlord or tenant makes the landlord-tenant relationship friction-less; and you will also know how to seek redress when any of your rights are infringed.
What are your rights as a Landlord?
As a landlord in Ontario, you enjoy certain rights under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA); they also come with responsibilities. First, as a landlord, you have the right to select tenants based on income information, references and other factors in the Ontario Human Rights Code. After a tenant moves in, you also have the right to collect the rent deposit when the lease or tenancy agreement is signed by him and the tenant. The maximum amount for deposit is equal to the rent for 1 rental period.
A rental period can be 1 month or 1 week. Very important is the right to collect rent. The rent is to be collected, in full, on the day it is due. You have the right to increase rent but only within a 12-month period and only when you have given a 90-day notice to the tenant.
What are your rights as a Tenant?
Your rights as a tenant are contained in the Human Rights Code of Ontario and the Residential Tenancies Act.
First, you have the right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability and other factors when you approach the landlord for tenancy. You have the right to a standard lease, except if the property is a mobile home park or a land lease community, most social and supportive housing, cooperative housing, and certain other social tenancies. In fact, it is the duty of your landlord to provide you with one. Where he fails to do so within 21 calendar days, you can withhold one month’s rent. If it continues for 30 more calendar days, you can keep the withheld rent.
It is also well within your rights to have children in the home and the children have the right to make a reasonable amount of noise. You have the right to a safe home which should be regularly repaired and maintained by the landlord. You also have the right to vital services such as heat, hot and cold water, electricity, and fuel (such as natural gas). The landlord cannot shut-off these services even when you have not paid your rent.
Another important right is the right to privacy. This right prevents the landlord from unduly entering your rental unit except in some certain cases such as repairs, emergency, or to show the home to possible tenants. You also have the right to be notified through a written notice of a rent increase 90-days before the increase is to take effect. If the notice is not given, the increase is void. Most importantly, you have the right to written copy of the tenancy agreement, written copy of the landlord’s legal name and address and rent receipts.
Notice of Entry
You also have the right of entry into the rental unit with or without written notice. You can gain entry without written notice in cases of emergency. You can enter without written notice for tasks included in or required by the tenancy agreement (i.e. Housekeeping). In other cases, say where there is an emergency, the tenant must consent at the time of the entry. Where notice is required, it has to be given 24 hours before the time of entry.
As a landlord, you have a right to evict the tenant. But even this right is subject to emergencies, in which case it will be censored or held in abeyance. The new temporary eviction rules for instance, currently ban the issuance of eviction notices till further notice in response to the COVID-19 public health situation. Also, the right to entry in case of an emergency like a pandemic is limited, applying only where the entry is urgent; and even then, it has to be in line with physical distancing guidelines.
Among the numerous rights of the landlord is the right to evict the tenant from the rental unit. But he can only evict where the tenant;
- Fails to pay the rent or frequently pays the rent late;
- Or his guest does something illegal in the residential building;
- Causes excessive damage to the apartment building;
- Was dishonest about income when applying to rent the unit and a host of other reasons.
The landlord cannot evict a tenant for reasons such as having children or noisy children, having pets, or asking for repairs, or joining a tenant association.
The first step in the eviction process is the written notice of termination stating the reasons as provided under the RTA and the date of moving out with notice given before the date. The tenant may move out or not. If he does not, the landlord will apply to the board for an eviction order. When he applies to the board for the order, the order will only be effective after the date of termination set out in the written notice. The board has the power to refuse an order for eviction or postpone the date of effect.
Otherwise, the Sheriff has the power to physically remove the tenant from the unit if the tenant does not move out on time. The landlord or a security guard cannot physically evict the tenant. Also, the order will expire if it is not filed with the Sheriff with territorial jurisdiction where the rental unit is located, within six months after the order takes effect. According to the RTA, the eviction order has the same effect and is to be enforced as a writ of possession.