Landlord and Tenant Issues in the Pandemic Era
Rights and Responsibilities for Landlords in Ontario
How has the pandemic affected being a landlord or a tenant? There has been many changes to the Residential Tenancies Act in the last couple years and some more during the pandemic, we lay them out for you below:
What are LANDLORD’S Obligations?
The Residential Tenancies Act (the “Act”) establishes the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants. Landlords are responsible for ensuring that rental units and property meet health, safety and housing standards established by law, and are reasonably suitable for occupation given the nature and location of property.
What are landlord’s Rights?
Under the Act, landlords have several important rights, including the right to:
- Select their tenants, using income information, credit checks and references, rental history, and similar-type criteria as prescribed in the Ontario Human Rights Code,
- Collect Rent,
- Enter the rental premises, (in the manner set-out in the Act and under the terms of the lease), for the purpose of making repairs and maintaining the property, to show the unit to potential tenants, and in an emergency,
- Increase the rent up-to the annual limit set by the government,’
- Evict tenants, in the case of a breach of terms of the lease, or for a breach of the Act.
further landlords rights effective September 1, 2021
As per amendments to the RTA effective September 1, 2021, a landlord may now:
- Apply for an order requiring the tenant to pay the reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of conduct by the tenant or someone else visiting or living in the rental unit which substantially interfered with landlord’s reasonable enjoyment or lawful right, privilege, or interest
- File an application claiming rent arrears or compensation up-to one year after the date the tenant moved out (if the tenant moved out of the rental unit on or after September 1, 2021) and the landlord believes the former tenant owes:
- Rent or compensation
- An amount for charges related to NSF cheques
- Costs for unpaid utility bills (heat, electricity/ water)
- Costs for damaging the rental unit
- Costs the landlord incurred because the former tenant or someone else visiting or living in the rental unit substantially interfered with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment or lawful right, privilege, or interest.
Renting: changes during COVID-19
The typical evictions process is explained below. Changes due to COVID-19 have been highlighted.
If the landlord gives a tenant notice to end the tenancy, the tenant does not have to move out. The landlord must apply for an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (also known as the Board). The tenant has the right to go to a hearing and explain why they should not be evicted.
Notice: In most cases, the first step is for the landlord to give the tenant a notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out. Landlords must use an official notice from the Board. Sometimes a tenant can prevent the tenancy from ending by stopping the behaviour referred to in the notice, or by doing what the notice requests. This is a called a tenant’s remedy. The notice explains what this is and gives a deadline for the tenant to comply.
COVID-19 update: Landlords are encouraged to work with tenants to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes, including deferring rent or other payment arrangements.
Application: If the tenant does not remedy the situation or move out, the landlord can file an application to the Board to end the tenancy. Most applications must be made within 30 days of the termination date set out in the notice. However, there is no deadline to apply to end a tenancy for non-payment of rent.
COVID-19 update: Landlord and Tenant Board counter services are closed, but the most common types of applications can still be filed online.
Hearing: In most cases, the Board will schedule a hearing to decide the landlord’s application. It will mail a Notice of Hearing to the landlord(s) and tenant(s) along with a copy of the application.
Order: A Board member will decide about the landlord’s application to end the tenancy and whether the tenant should be evicted or not. The member’s decision is always put in writing. This written decision is called an order. The Board will mail a copy of the order to both the landlord and tenant.
Enforcement: If a tenant doesn’t leave the rental unit by the termination date in the eviction order, a landlord cannot personally enforce the order (remove a tenant from a rental unit or change the locks). An eviction order can only be enforced by the Court Enforcement Office (also known as the Sheriff’s Office). The landlord must file a copy of the Board order with the Sheriff’s Office to have the order enforced.
RENT INCREASE GUIDELINE 2022
- The rent increase guideline for 2022 is 2%.
|The guideline applies to most private residential rental units covered by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006.
This applies to most tenants, such as those living in:
- The guideline is the maximum a landlord can increase most tenants’ rent during a year without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
|The guideline does not apply to certain types of units including:|
By Marcella D’Allessandro
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