Area of Law: Landlord and Tenant
Answer # 441
When can a landlord evict a tenant?Region: Ontario Answer # 441
Contrary to what many people believe, tenants can be evicted at any time of year, even if they have children, as long as the landlord has a valid legal reason for the eviction. However, most tenants who pay their rent on time and live up to their other obligations, have an ongoing right to live in the rented premises without interference by the landlord. If a tenant lives in subsidized housing, there are special rules that apply, which result in the subsidized housing tenant having fewer rights than most other tenants.
If a landlord tries to evict a tenant, and the tenant disputes the eviction, the landlord will have to prove that there is a valid legal reason for the eviction in order for the tenant to be required to vacate the premises. Tenants can be evicted either because of their behaviour or if the landlord requires the unit for their use.
Evicting a tenant because of their behaviour
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord can evict a tenant, even if the lease has not ended, if the tenant, the tenant’s guest, or someone else who lives in the rental unit, either does something they should not do, or does not do something they should. Examples of this include:
- non-payment of rent,
- continually paying rent late,
- significantly disturbing others in the building,
- damaging the property,
- committing an illegal act on the property, and
Also, tenants are normally responsible for their guests and children, and may be evicted for their guests’ or children’s actions.
A tenant cannot be evicted for having a roommate. But, a tenant may be evicted if the roommate is causing a problem for the landlord or for other tenants.
There is nothing in the Residential Tenancies Act which prevents a tenant from being evicted during the winter season.
“No fault” reasons for eviction
In other circumstances, the landlord may evict a tenant for other reasons, known as “no fault” evictions. There are two kinds of “no fault” eviction applications the landlord may make to the LTB:
“Own Use” applications
A landlord may evict a tenant under what is known as an “own-use” or “personal use by landlord” claim. This is where the landlord requires the unit for:
- their own use,
- the use of an immediate family member,
- or the use of a person who will provide care services to the landlord or a member of the landlord’s immediate family, if the person who will be receiving the care services lives in the same building or complex.
Tenants who live in a small apartment building, rented house, or part of a house owned by an individual and not a management company, are at risk of being evicted if the landlord or the landlord’s family wants to move in. Tenants without a lease can be evicted if the landlord gives them 60 days’ notice that the landlord or their family requires the premises.
When the tenant has a lease, however, a landlord who may want to take over the premises for their own use cannot do so before the lease has expired, or if the lease gives the tenant an option to renew, unless the Landlord and Tenant Board has issued an eviction notice.
On May 18, 2017, the Rental Fairness Act, 2017 was passed making a number of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act. The new Act has tightened the provisions under which a landlord can evict a tenant because the landlord, their family member, or a caregiver wants the unit for their own use. Landlords must prove that they or someone in their family, intend to move into the unit for their own use and that they require possession for the purpose of residential occupation for at least one year. Proof of “landlord’s own use” could include:
- Notice to end the tenancy given to the family member’s current landlord
- Booking with a moving company
- Notice of address change given to Canada Post
The legislation also states that landlords will have to compensate the tenant for one month’s rent or offer another acceptable rental unit. If the tenant feels the notice to vacate is invalid, the landlord must file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board to enforce it.
The second type of no-fault eviction a landlord may apply for is sometimes referred to as “renovictions”. This involves evicting a tenant in order to do renovations, repairs or conversions that require building permits and require the unit to be empty during the work.
Landlord and Tenant Board Eviction Order
If a tenant refuses to move out after receiving an Eviction Notice from the landlord, the landlord can ask the Landlord and Tenant Board to end the tenancy by filing an application. The Board will hold a hearing to decide if the tenancy should end. Both the landlord and the tenant can attend the hearing and explain their side to a Member of the Board.
If granted, an Eviction Order from the Board will specify when the tenant must be out of the unit. If the tenant does not move out, the landlord can file the Order with the Court Enforcement Office. Only a Sheriff can enforce an Eviction Order and force tenants to leave their homes. If a landlord locks a tenant out of the rental unit without the Sheriff being present, the tenant may contact the police to help re-enter the unit.
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