Wednesday, 10 October 2012 17:16

Eviction tip sheet

Written by  Jemima Codrington
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Late payments, bouncing checks – these are just a couple of the warning signs seasoned landlords look for. But while evicting a troublesome tenant may seem the easy solution, doing so isn’t quite as simple.  We asked Harry Fine, a paralegal specializing in landlord and tenant law, to give investors a list of the top four tips for first-time landlords looking to go the eviction route.

Prepare for a battle
As Fine points out, investors keen to evict a tenant should first be aware it’s no straightforward process. “The single biggest mistake landlords make is not recognizing evicting a tenant is a highly regulated business,” he says. “They had better be familiar with the process, or retain someone who is, before they start the eviction.”

Separate fact from fiction
There are several urban legends haunting the industry and lingering on the Internet about what a tenant is entitled to, but Fine advises to do your due diligence and realize what your entitlements are under the LTB. “On rent applications, the Landlord Tenant Board under the act does not evict and get you your money; it only does one or the other,” he says. “The way the process works under the law is that if the tenant pays, the tenant stays. So right up to the moment the sheriff comes to the door, the tenant has a right to be there – if they pay.”

Research your options
A Google search for “When can I evict my tenant?” returned 814,000 results. Needless to say, compiling the answers yourself will be a cumbersome task. Instead, Fine suggests sticking to the free resources provided by your local LTB such as its website and free call centre, as well as soliciting legal counsel from a professional who specializes in landlord and tenant law, is licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and affiliated with their local LTB.

Don’t hesitate
Fine advises to nip an issue in the bud quickly, rather than let it drag on. “Don't write 10 letters saying the same thing.  It's like the brakes on your car; when they start to squeak, they never get better without some action,” he says. “Give one warning, one letter, and then do the appropriate termination notice, likely an N5, which is remedial...if the tenant corrects the behaviour, the problem goes away.  By waiting, you are simply making the damage worse, the behaviour more entrenched, and letting other tenants be disturbed by the behaviour, opening yourself up to meritorious claims from other tenants.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 17:19


  • K Taylor Thursday, 07 February 2013 15:34 posted by K Taylor

    Good advice. I rent rooms in my house and I got burned by a bunch of awful tenants pretty bad before I put into place hard & fast rules which include an eviction notice the first day the rent is late, and also in the agreement that a $10 per day late fee is charged and that the late fee is considered part of the rent.

    Ive done my fair share of evictions. Interesting thing worthy of note is that if you are renting rooms and share a bathroom and kitchen that RTB rules do not apply so in effect your renter has no rights as a tetant.

    What is more difficult however is when good tenants start "slipping", for lack of a better word to describe it. You want to be flexible because they were always good at paying and arent problematic.

    I have such a case now with a tenant who was unexpectedly late last month by a week despite taking his girlfriend out to a $250 dinner while being late on the rent, and then this month is already 7 days late with no hope of paying the full amount at any specific point in the future after buying a brand new 50 inch 3D television and packing it in two days after the rent was due.

    Thank god I have a rock solid agreement to fall back on. I dont think that my tenant has an inability to pay but I think that he has just been taking advantage of me these past few months. I am now in the situation where if he doesn't pay his rent as agreed today I can backdate the notice to evict to the unpaid rent day and charge him a full $10 per day late fee; with a 10 day notice that means he'll have 3 days to get the rent together with the late fees or have his walking papers.

    I hate to play hardball with the guy because I like him and he's a genuinely nice guy who works hard. But what is frustrating is the seeming lack of effort on his part to remedy the problem or give it much sense of urgency.

    This is a reminder for me that as a landlord you have to act quickly with the notice to evict no matter how good the tenant seems to be. I had no problem doing that with tenants in the cruicial first six months but someone who's rented for over a year it was my bad to let things slide.

    Now I'm darn near broke until my next payday and frustrated because despite 7 days of talking about the rent I'm being offered $200 of a $450 rent and the cash isnt even being displayed to me with the offer.

    Tenants who do this to you force you to negotiate with a shotgun to your head. They're already late, you want your money and if you evict them you may end up with nothing AND an empty room to fill.

  • iamlandlord Monday, 22 October 2012 01:03 posted by iamlandlord

    I had 2 successful evictions already, max is 3 months in rent. I always try to negotiate with tenants before I go to LTB. Sometimes , tenants negotiate, but if tenant didn't cooperate and I start going to LTB. I see to it that I garnish the wage and file to credit history. whether it is 1 month or 12 months in rent. It is my procedure that I go after them so they will not do it with other landlords, Just my 2 cents:)

  • Elizabeth Meehan Monday, 15 October 2012 17:31 posted by Elizabeth Meehan

    I had a tenant in my own home who owes me 6 months rent It costed me $700,00 to go the legal way and she left the day before the Sheriff was to evect her Never again

  • HEATHER Friday, 12 October 2012 20:50 posted by HEATHER

    who said the burly friends can't show up?

    I've had only one instance of where the Landlord bought them out and the certified cheque bounced. There's bad on both sides of the fence.

  • navtaj chandhoke Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:14 posted by navtaj chandhoke

    Excellent tips for novice and veteran Landlords in Ontario.There are other options which in my humble opinion works very well.

    Buy them out.Most of the time it saves time, hassle and litigation.The landlord and tenant act is to protects the right of tenant rather than landlord.

    Professional tenants are almost impossible to evict.They know their rights so well.Cash is the best solution.

    my two cents!

  • f_ Thursday, 11 October 2012 13:54 posted by f_

    Best way I found is negotiate with problem tenant, even pay to move! will save lots of grief, time and even money.

  • Jim Reid, Broker Thursday, 11 October 2012 13:10 posted by Jim Reid, Broker

    It cost my Vendor $50k, 10%, on their final selling price because a non-payer for 12 months wouldn't leave until the Sheriiff was coming. It was almost impossible to show the tenant's apartment, even after we were required to post 24 hours notice of a showing on his door.

    My clients kept accepting his excuses and promises and they never got their rent either.

    Landlords need to have the official notices ready and be quick to file their claims with the local LTB, who will usually give the tenant another couple of free months before they will order the Sherriff.

    Too bad the old method of showing up with a couple of burly friends can't be used anymore!

  • David Pylyp Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:37 posted by David Pylyp

    Love your plain spoken advice!

    Hope you are well and having a good year!

    David Pylyp
    Etobicoke Real Estate

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