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Landlord-Tenant Disputes: How a Lawyer Can Help

Residential landlord-tenant disputes can be complicated and lengthy. When it comes to renting in Ontario, it is important for both parties to understand their rights and responsibilities. It is beneficial in having an experienced lawyer able to advise and represent you in matters concerning residential tenancies. An experienced landlord-tenant dispute lawyer can assist you in dealing with illegal acts, eviction, hearings, leases, and many other common concerns facing landlords and tenants in Ontario. 

What are My Rights as a Residential Tenant or Landlord in Ontario?

In Ontario, landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities are laid out in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA). The RTA lays out these rights and responsibilities as rules which must be followed by both landlords and tenants. If these rules are not followed, it is considered an offence and the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) can act against individuals or corporations.

The RTA is a long and complicated document containing important information for landlords and tenants. The RTA includes rules governing signing a lease agreement, paying rent, eviction, subletting and many other common occurrences for tenants and landlords.

When drafting or signing a lease agreement, it is best to contact a lawyer experienced in Landlord and Tenancy law in order to ensure you have a cooperative rental experience. An experienced landlord tenancy lawyer can also advise you of your rights and responsibilities and aid in resolving your dispute. 

Where Can I Bring Disputes? 

There are two main places that deal with landlord-tenant disputes in Ontario, the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) and Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). It is recommended that an attempt is made to resolve disputes between parties before involving either the RHEU or the LTB. 

While the first step to resolving the dispute without a formal investigation may result in a resolution, this is not always the case. Consulting an experienced lawyer is important to ensure your rights are being represented, and that there is proper documentation of the interactions between the landlord and tenant. 

If a dispute needs to be brought to the RHEU or the LTB, there is a requirement to provide proof of the reason for the dispute. Additionally, a lawyer can advise you whether the RHEU or the LTB is the proper place to bring your complaint and provide you with their legal opinion. This will save you the time and the cost of filing documents through the wrong institution.

Resolving Disputes 

Rental Housing Enforcement Unit

The RHEU deals with tenant and landlord disputes when either party breaks a rule written in the RTA. If you are having an issue with a landlord or tenant in Ontario that you believe is an offence under the RTA, you will need to file a written complaint to the RHEU who can then begin an investigation and take action. This may result in individual fines of up to $50,000 or corporation fines of up to $250,000.

When filing a complaint with the RHEU, you will need to provide your contact information, the contact information of the landlord or tenant you are complaining about, details of the complaint and any proof or supporting documentation. Having an experienced lawyer aid you in filing your complaint ensures that all supporting documents are filed correctly and no important information is forgotten. Taking these steps will ensure the matter is resolved as quickly as possible and that your interests are being properly represented throughout the investigation process. To speak with a lawyer with experience in all matters of Landlord and Tenancy law, contact Epstein & Associates for a free consultation. 

RHEU Contact Information 

Manager — Rental Housing Enforcement Unit

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

777 Bay Street, 14th Floor

Toronto Ontario M7A 2J3 


Phone: 1-888-772-9277 

Tribunal Ontario – Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)

If there is a dispute between a tenant and landlord in Ontario that does not qualify as an offence under the RTA, both parties have the right to bring this dispute to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). The LTB hears disputes between residential landlords and tenants with the purpose of resolving the dispute through mediation or a hearing. The main difference between the RHEU and the LTB is that the RHEU can immediately intervene in complaints that result in offences under the RTA without an application process. The LTB requires an application describing the dispute and formal documentation. 

LTB Application

There are many forms that a landlord or tenant can file through the LTB. These forms must adhere to a specific format that the complainant is required to follow. If a form is filled out incorrectly or something is missed, this can cause the application to be dismissed. Given the number of landlord tenancy issues that have come about as a result of Covid-19, the LTB is backlogged. Having an experienced landlord lawyer will help you file your application correctly, make sure no details are overlooked, and ensure a reduced waiting period. 

LTB Mediation or Hearing

If an application is accepted by the LTB, the dispute will move to mediation or a hearing. In mediation, a neutral third party hears the dispute and aids in negotiation. This can result in a resolution of a dispute. In a hearing, there is a requirement for the applicant, respondent, and witnesses to attend. The burden is on the applicant to ensure their witnesses arrive and are prepared. Having a lawyer aid you through either the mediation or hearing process is essential to ensure that your application is properly presented. A lawyer is able to speak on your behalf, question witnesses, and submit evidence. This takes the burden off the complainant and allows a lawyer with experience in Landlord Law to assist in defending you. 

If you are a landlord in Ontario, an experienced lawyer can assist in a variety of disputes. Having a lawyer assisting you will help ensure the process is carried out expertly and if possible, achieve a resolution in your favour. The experienced Landlord Lawyers at Epstein & Associates offer a free 30-minute consultation.


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.