Original Publish Date: November 21, 2016
Revised October 5th, 2022
There are many myths in landlord/tenant law and one is the view that it is not legal to evict a tenant in the winter.
It may seem cruel, but the cold reality is that a tenant can be required to vacate the premises at any time during the year if the landlord has followed the appropriate steps in accordance with Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act (the “Act”).
The landlord must correctly complete and deliver to the tenant the forms required by the Landlord Tenant Tribunal (“the “Board).
There are 23 situations in which a landlord can legally evict a tenant, including when a tenant is in violation of the Act.
Common Tenant Violations in Ontario
A tenant can be evicted for failing to pay the rent on time and on a regular basis. An Order can be issued without notice, even in December, if the landlord must make several applications to the Board to collect the rent.
A tenant can be evicted for causing willful, negligent, unreasonable or inappropriate damage to the rental unit or residential complex. A tenant has responsibilities under the Act to keep the rented premises reasonably clean. A tenant can also be evicted if another occupant of the rental unit or a person he or she permitted or invited causes damage to the unit or the landlord’s property.
Changing or altering the lock on a door to deny the landlord access to a rental unit or the residential complex is another grounds for eviction.
Using the unit or any of the associated property for illegal purposes is another grounds for eviction.
A tenant cannot harass, obstruct, coerce, threaten or interfere with a landlord under any circumstances. A tenant may be granted an eviction postponement by the Board; however there are no rules with respect to the month to vacate.
What is the Process for Evicting a Tenant?
The eviction process can be complex and the procedures are very specific, outlined briefly here below.
The landlord must first provide a notice of termination of tenancy or notice of eviction that explains the reason for the eviction and a number of days to correct the problem. After that, the landlord must wait the specified time period to allow the tenant to correct the problem before filing an application with the Board.
In most cases, there is a 30-day deadline for the landlord to file with the Board an application, which also must be served on the tenant.
There is no deadline for making an application to terminate a tenancy or an application to evict a tenant where the landlord has given Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent (Form N4). A tenant who receives such notice should obtain legal advice.
Eviction rules are different if the building has 3 units or less and your landlord lives in one of them; the notice period is only 10 days for disturbing your landlord, and you cannot cancel the notice by correcting the problem.
If the problem set out in the notice is not corrected and/or the tenant does not move out by the specified time period, the landlord can apply for a hearing and the Board will issue the Notice of Hearing, which sets out the adjudicator’s name, the date, location and time of the hearing to the parties. The hearing will occur in person, by video conference, or by telephone, according to the Board instructions provided. An experienced lawyer can assist and help in preparation for the board hearing.
The hearing is where the landlord and the tenant present their evidence. Even if a landlord proves the case in an application for eviction, the adjudicator must consider all the circumstances of each case to decide under s.83 of the Act whether or not the eviction should be refused or delayed. The current season (e.g., winter) is not a recognized ground for refusing or delaying eviction, though other extenuating circumstances that create hardship may be grounds, and it being winter could be relevant to that hardship (e.g., a tenant under disability).
The adjudicator’s decision is made into an Order, which is sent by the Board to the landlord, tenant or their lawyers.
Where the landlord is granted an Order authorizing the eviction, he or she cannot personally or by representative enforce the Order if the tenant fails to leave the rental unit by the termination.
The landlord must file a copy of the Board’s order along with a fee with the Sheriff’s Office to have an eviction order enforced. Only a Sheriff with authority in the municipality may carry out an eviction. The Sheriff can physically remove the tenant and allow the landlord to change the locks.
What Ethical Dilemma Does Winter Eviction Present?
If the current relationship between you and your tenant is in good standing most likely it won’t feel great to kick them out to heaps of snow and subzero gusts. It can be a real ethical dilemma for many real estate investors.
On the other hand, you might have a tenant with no regard for your property by trashing the property, failing to pay rent on time (if ever) and treating you, their landlord, like garbage. Your cash flow suffers and you’re constantly filled with anxiety so getting them out, regardless of the season, is of the utmost priority.
On the other hand, you feel bad about kicking someone out into an uncertain situation, where they might not have a roof over their head. Winter is unforgiving and you’re not sure if they’ll land on their feet or wind up without a home.
Contact Epstein & Associates, Landlord and Tenant Lawyers in Newmarket, Richmond Hill, and Barrie
Some people may feel that it is morally wrong to evict someone during the winter, when the weather is cold and potentially dangerous. Others may argue that eviction is a legal process that must be followed, regardless of the season.
There is no easy answer to this question. It depends on each individual’s personal beliefs and values. However, it is important to remember that eviction is a legal process, and landlords have the right to evict tenants who are not following the terms of their lease agreement. If you are facing eviction, it is best to speak with an attorney to discuss your options and rights.
If you are a landlord wanting to legally evict a tenant, contact us to learn your landlord rights in Ontario. Our experienced Newmarket lawyers can advise, prepare and deliver all the forms and evidence in accordance with Landlord Tenant Board’s rules and regulations. Call us at 1-866-463-2266 for legal advice in Aurora, Barrie, Richmond Hill and Newmarket.
This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.