Part 1: Updates to Landlord Claims And the Hearing Process
October 22, 2021
Certain provisions of Bill 184, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020, took effect on September 1, 2021, amending the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA). These amendments aim to create more timely and impactful resolutions to common landlord and tenant grievances heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). Between January 19, 2021 and February 5, 2021, the LTB held a consultation period on the proposed amendments and considered the feedback of 24 organizations, legal representatives, and individuals in drafting the final bill. Consulted parties included tenant organizations and landlord organizations.
Bill 184 includes additional provisions for landlords to claim compensation for expenses incurred by current tenants, and amends the RTA to allow landlords to claim compensation from former tenants for the first time, regarding specific types of expenses. The September 1 amendments also provide greater flexibility for tenants and landlords to address issues on their own ahead of LTB hearings, potentially creating more positive outcomes for both parties.
Changes to Landlord Claims Against Current Tenants
Prior to the amendments taking effect, landlord claims for unpaid utilities against current tenants had to be made at Ontario Small Claims Court. Following the September 1 effective date, landlords can claim compensation through the LTB for expenses incurred due to a tenant’s failure to pay their utility charges. Landlords can also claim compensation for expenses incurred through the actions of a tenant and/or a tenant’s guest, which substantially impact the rights, privileges, and/or interests of the landlord (such as the reasonable enjoyment of their rental complex).
Changes to Landlord Claims Against Former Tenants
Landlords were previously not able to claim compensation through the LTB for outstanding charges accrued by a tenant no longer living in the rental unit. Once a tenant ceased to occupy the rental unit, the LTB no longer had jurisdiction, and as such, claims against former tenants were largely heard at the Ontario Small Claims Court.
Following the September 1, 2021 amendments to the RTA, landlords are now able to claim compensation through the LTB up to one year following the date a tenant vacated their rental unit. LTB claims against former tenants can now be made in the following cases:
- Rent arrears
- Landlord compensation for a tenant overholding their rental unit
- Non-sufficient funds (NSF) charges
- Compensation for expenses incurred through the actions of a tenant and/or a tenant’s guest, which substantially impact the rights, privileges, and/or interests of the landlord
- Compensation for expenses incurred due to a tenant’s failure to pay their utility charges
- Compensation for replacing or repairing damages caused by a tenant and/or a tenant’s guest
It will be imperative for landlords to secure forwarding addresses and/or contact information for former tenants, should they intend to pursue claims against them. Having the LTB adjudicate issues surrounding former tenancies is sensible, given their subject matter expertise, but it is currently unclear how tribunal timelines may be impacted by the increased LTB workload.
Updates to the LTB Hearing Process
Prior to the September 1 amendments, mediators could be used to negotiate agreements between landlords and tenants, often on the day of the schedule hearing, should they mutually agree to mediation. The mediated agreement would then be endorsed by the LTB. Should the tenant violate the agreement, the landlord could apply to the LTB for an expedited eviction without informing the tenant. The September 1 amendments will allow for more flexibility in negotiating agreements, including allowing the landlord and tenant to discuss the matter ahead of the hearing without a mediator, while still developing an agreement enforceable by the LTB.
Previously, a tenant being evicted for arrears could raise any relevant issues in a hearing to justify their inability to pay their rent. Under the new provisions, the tenant can still do so, but must either notify the landlord ahead of the hearing that they intend to raise the issue(s), or submit an adequate explanation to the LTB as to why the landlord was not informed ahead of time. This will allow landlords to be able to adequately prepare their own case for a hearing, without being surprised by unforeseen tenant testimony. Moreover, should disputed issues consistently be raised between tenants and landlords ahead of hearings, they may be able to effectively address the issues and avoid the hearing entirely.
Updated LTB materials:
- LTB Rules of Procedure (updates to rules 3, 4, and 5)
- Guideline 11: Rent Arrears
- Form L2: Application to End a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant or Collect Money
New LTB materials:
- Form L10 – Checklist: Application to Collect Money a Former Tenant Owes
- Certificate of Service – Service a Former Tenant or a Tenant no Longer in Possession of the Rental Unit
- Request to Use Alternative Service
- Brochure: Collecting Money a Former Tenant Owes
- Brochure: How to Serve a Landlord or Tenant with Documents