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If my landlord gives me an eviction notice, do I have to move out?
Clear language definitions to common legal terms.
Some notices tell you how to cancel the notice so you won't have to move out. For example, you can pay rent that the notice says you owe, or stop doing something that the notice says you have done.
If you are not able to cancel the notice, that does not mean you have to move out. But it does mean your landlord might take the next step and apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
What the notice should say
The notice must tell you:
- the date your landlord wants you to move
- the reason your landlord wants you to leave
- details about the reason
The date that your landlord wants you to move is sometimes called the termination date.
Delivery of the notice
Your landlord can give you the notice in a number of ways, for example, by mailing it, putting it in your mailbox, or handing it to you.
Your landlord is not supposed to attach the notice to your door. But it does not matter how the landlord gave it to you if they can prove to the Board that you actually received the notice in enough time.
1. Check if the notice gives the reason your landlord wants you to leave
You can be evicted only for the reasons set out in the Residential Tenancies Act.
If your landlord used a Landlord and Tenant Board form, it will already have the reason for the eviction. Or the form will have a list where your landlord must choose the reason for the eviction.
If your landlord did not use the Board's form, you should check the Board's list of reasons for eviction.
If the notice does not give a proper reason, or does not give enough details, then the Board can decide that your landlord cannot use the notice to evict you. But you will probably have to go to a hearing of the Board to make this argument.
2. Check if the notice gives you enough time
The notice must include the date your landlord wants you to move out. Your landlord must give you the notice at least a certain number of days before that date. The number of days depends on which reason for eviction your landlord has put on the notice.
If your landlord did not give you the notice enough days in advance, they cannot use the notice to evict you. But you might have to go to a hearing of the Landlord and Tenant Board to make sure of this.
3. See if you can cancel the notice
In some cases, the notice will tell you what you can do to cancel it. For example, if the notice says you owe rent, it must tell you exactly how much and when you must pay it to cancel the notice. If you pay that amount before the deadline, your landlord cannot use the notice to evict you.
If the notice says you caused damage, it might say you can cancel it by fixing the damage or paying for it by a certain date. Or if the notice says you caused some other kind of problem, it might say you can cancel it by correcting the problem by a certain date.
The law says your landlord must give you a receipt for any payments you make, including payments to cancel a notice. The landlord cannot charge you for the receipt. If you pay with a money order, make sure you keep the stub from the money order.
You can also ask your landlord for a copy of your payment record, which is sometimes called a "rent ledger", but they are not required to give you a copy of this.
If you are not able to cancel the notice, it does not always mean you will have to move out. But it does mean your landlord might take the next step and apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board.
4. Talk to your landlord about the notice
Sometimes a tenant gets an eviction notice because of a misunderstanding about a problem or because the landlord has made a mistake in processing a rent payment.
For example, maybe you don't really owe rent. You might be able to convince your landlord that they have made a mistake. You will probably need to have receipts to prove all your payments.
It's a good idea to talk to your landlord about the reason they gave you the notice to see if you can solve the problem.
For example, if you owe rent but can't pay it off before the deadline in the notice, you can ask your landlord to agree to a payment plan. If you do make a payment plan with your landlord, make sure you get it in writing to avoid future problems.