Residential Lease Agreements (Ontario) | Tenancy Agreements (Part 6)

Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice with respect to a residential lease or a tenancy agreement, you should seek professional assistance (e.g. make a post on Dynamic Legal Forms). We have Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton, Mississauga and other Ontario lawyers registered to help you.

This is the sixth of a series of blogs about residential lease agreements in Ontario. In the first blog, I talked about what residential lease agreements are, the impact of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the “Act”), and some of the Landlord’s obligations. In the second blog, I discussed the Tenant’s statutory obligations. In the third blog, I discussed various terms in a residential lease | tenancy agreement such as void terms, term, termination, rent, security deposit, and general terms. In the fourth blog, I discussed the landlord’s obligations concerning rental applications: what type of information can be collected, etc. In the fifth blog, I talked about how residential lease agreements can be terminated. In this blog, I’ll be discussing additional nuances about terminating a residential lease agreement.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 a landlord can only terminate the tenancy in accordance with that Act. Read that again. That’s right. That’s what section 37(1) says: “only in accordance with the Act.” So what does the Act say? Well, let’s go through some of the nuances in which a tenancy can end.

Security of Tenancy
First thing’s first. Tenants who sign tenancy agreements (also called lease agreements) have something called “security of tenancy”. This means that a tenant can continue to occupy their rental until until:

  • he or she decides to leave and gives the landlord proper notice;
  • the landlord and tenant agree to end the tenancy; or
  • the landlord gives the tenant notice to end the tenancy under the Act and the tenant agrees to move or the landlord gets an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board.

If the Landlord gives a Tenant with NOTICE that they are going to end the tenancy, then the Tenant is NOT yet under an obligation to move out. The Landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an eviction order. The Tenant has the right to go to the hearing and explain why they shouldn’t be evicted. If the Landlord gets the eviction order, then the Tenant may be forcibly removed (assuming they haven’t previously left) when the order becomes effective.

Changing the Locks
It is ILLEGAL for a Landlord to change the locks to a rental unit or the building without giving the Tenant a key. The ONLY EXCEPTIONS are where the locks are changed because the Tenant was evicted by a Sheriff or the Landlord is sure that the Tenant has abandoned the unit. If the Landlord changes the locks illegally, they could be charged under the Provincial Offences Act and, upon being found guilty, fined up to $25,000 if they are an individual or up to $100,000 if they are a corporation.

Agreement to End Tenancy
I’ve previously blogged about this, but it’s important to repeat. A Landlord and a Tenant can agree to end their tenancy. This can be done at any time, even during the term of the lease. It’s best to have a written agreement (perhaps a new legal form + video guide is on its way?). Importantly, a Landlord who requires that the Tenant sign one of these forms at the BEGINNING of their relationship (i.e. along with signing the tenancy agreement) will effectively render the Agreement to End Tenancy INVALID AND UNENFORCEABLE! There are certain exemptions for student housing and care homes, but I won’t get into them here.

What if the Tenant Changes their Minds?
If the Tenant changes their minds, the Landlord has a decision to make: allow the Tenant to stay or apply to the Board for an eviction order if the Tenant stays unwanted. Importantly, if the Landlord seeks an eviction order from the Board, there won’t be any notice given to the Tenant that it’s coming: the Tenant will simply receive the eviction order from the Board. If he or she believes that the eviction order should not have been given, then they can apply to the Board to stop the eviction. It’s a kind of different procedure here because it’s after the fact (i.e. after the order has been given).

Applications to the Board
A Landlord can apply to the Board for approval to end a tenancy if:

  • the Landlord gave the Tenant notice to end the tenancy;
  • the Landlord and Tenant have an Agreement to end the tenancy;
  • the Landlord wants to evict an unauthorized occupant;
  • the Tenant gave the Landlord a notice to end the tenancy;
  • the Tenant breached a condition of the Board;
  • the Tenant abandoned the rental unit; or
  • the Tenant was the superintendent and the superintendent’s employment has finished.

There’s a deadline for a Landlord to apply to the Board: typically 30 days of the termination date set out in teh notice. However, there is no deadline for making an application to terminate a tenancy where the landlord has given the Tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy early for non-payment of rent.

The Board will usually schedule a hearing to hear the Landlord’s application. The Board will not usually schedule a hearing, however, if the application was made because the tenant:

  • gave the landlord a notice to end the tenancy, or
  • made an agreement with the landlord to end the tenancy, or
  • breached a condition of a Board order.

If a hearing is going to be held, it may be one of three types:

  • an oral hearing, where the landlord and tenant appear in person before a Member (this is the most common type of hearing),
  • a video conference hearing, where the hearing takes place using a video camera link between the Member, the landlord and the tenant, or
  • a telephone hearing, where the hearing takes place using a telephone link between the Member, the landlord and the tenant.

The Board will decide which type of hearing you will have.

The Landlord must inform the Tenant of the hearing by giving a copy of the Notice of Hearing AND a copy of their application to the Tenant. There will be a deadline to provide these documents.

The Hearing
At the hearing, the Landlord will have to prove that the tenant should be evicted. The Tenant can attend and explain why they shouldn’t. The Board will render a decision based on all the circumstances of the case. The Board then makes an order in writing which will be sent by mail to both the Landlord and the Tenant.

Enforcing an Eviction Order
If the Board orders an eviction, then the Tenant doesn’t need to leave immediately. Rather, they can stay until a Sheriff (a court enforcement officer) evicts them. The Landlord must file a copy of the Board order with the Sheriff’s office and pay a fee to have the order enforced. The Sheriff will then provide notice to the Tenant to have their things packed and gone by a certain date or else they will be forcibly removed.

By the way, if you are a Landlord and you are looking for an Ontario Residential Lease Agreement, you’ve come to the right place:

Residential Lease Agreement (Ontario)

A Landlord can use this Agreement to rent out a residential unit. This Agreement comes with a Rental Application. All of Dynamic Legal Forms‘ legal forms are lawyer-prepared, simple to read, easy to customize, and only a fraction of the price a lawyer would charge. Also, each legal form comes with a FREE VIDEO GUIDE (watch a useful example of how this legal form can be customized), a FREE DL GUIDE (read helpful information about this legal form), and another FREE DL GUIDE that sheds valuable insight into how legal forms can be challenged. What are you waiting for?

This information and this sample video guide is NOT legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. If you need an Ontario lawyer, go to Dynamic Legal Forms and make a post.

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