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What if I need to move quickly because of violence or abuse?

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What if I need to move quickly because of violence or abuse?

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Reviewed: 
February, 2017
Answer

Usually, if you rent by the month or year or if you sign a fixed-term lease, you must give your landlord 60 days’ notice to end your tenancy and move out. And you can’t end your tenancy before the end of a rental period or the end of your lease.

But if you need to move because you, or a child living with you, have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse, you might be able to end your tenancy early.

You can do this by using the Landlord and Tenant Board’s new Form N15 – Tenant’s Notice to End my Tenancy Because of Fear of Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse. You can give this notice at any time. You don’t have to wait until the end of the lease or rental period.

To let your landlord know that the Form N15 applies to your situation, you must also give them one of the following:

The steps below have more detail about these forms and documents, and the process to follow.

Make sure to protect your online privacy when downloading these forms or looking for information about dealing with domestic violence.

1. Fill out and sign the “Tenant’s Statement” form

You have to give your landlord proof that you are allowed to move with 28 days’ notice. One way to do this is to give them a completed Tenant’s Statement About Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse.

By signing this form, you are telling the landlord that you or a child living with you might be at risk of harm or injury by continuing to live in the rental unit. The risk of harm must be one of the following two kinds.

The first kind of risk is because you or a child living with you:

  • have been harmed or had your property damaged,
  • have been illegally held against your will, or
  • fear for your safety

This risk of harm must be caused by any of the following people:

  • your spouse or former spouse
  • someone you live with or have lived with in a marriage-like relationship
  • someone you are dating or used to date
  • someone living in the rental unit who is related to you or the child

The second kind of risk is because you or the child have been a victim of sexual violence by anyone.

Sexual violence is not necessarily physical. It also includes:

  • mental or emotional violence or abuse
  • harassment
  • being followed, spied on, or watched
  • exploitation

This also includes anyone threatening or trying to do any of these things.

If any of the above situations apply, you can fill in and sign the Tenant’s Statement form.

The Tenant’s Statement does not tell the landlord which situation applies, who the abuser is, or whether the victim is you or the child.

And you do not have to give the landlord any other information about the situation, even if they ask you.

Reviewed: 
February, 2017
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2. Get a copy of the peace bond or restraining order

Instead of using the Tenant’s Statement, you can give your landlord a copy of a court order, if there is one.

The court order must be either a restraining order from family court or a peace bond from criminal court.

The order must have been made in the last 90 days and it must be against one of the following people:

  • your spouse or former spouse
  • someone you live with or have lived with in a marriage-like relationship
  • someone you are dating or used to date
  • someone living in the rental unit who is related to you or the child

Even if you have a court order, you do not have to give the landlord a copy. You can give them the Tenant’s Statement form instead.  You might choose to do this if you don’t want your landlord to have all the information that is in the court order.

Reviewed: 
February, 2017
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3. Fill out and sign the Form N15

Along with the Tenant’s Statement or court order, you must also give your landlord a completed and signed Form N15 - Tenant’s Notice to End my Tenancy Because of Fear of Sexual or Domestic Violence and Abuse.

There is important information about the process on the Form N15. You should read it carefully before filling it out.

Other tenants in the unit

If there are other tenants in the rental unit, you might choose to tell some or all of them about your situation, or that you are planning to move out.

You should be careful to tell only people you trust. The law says your landlord must keep your information confidential but it doesn’t say that your roommates or neighbours must.

There might be other tenants included in your lease or tenancy agreement who also want to move out when you do. If so, you can give them the option of signing the Form N15. These other tenants do not have to sign the Tenant’s Statement or have a court order.

Any tenants who don’t sign the Form N15 can continue to live in the unit or they can all end the lease early by giving 60 days’ notice together.

Reviewed: 
February, 2017

4. Give the papers to your landlord

When the Form N15 is completed and signed, you have to give it to your landlord along with either the Tenant’s Statement or the copy of the court order.

You must give these papers to your landlord at least 28 days before the date you wrote on the N15 as the date you would move out by.

Confidentiality

Your landlord and their staff must keep all these papers completely confidential.  For your safety, the landlord cannot show the unit to prospective tenants until you move out. They cannot even advertise the unit if anyone could identify the unit from the ad.

If you don’t move out

If you, or any tenant who also signed your Form N15, don’t move out by the date stated on the Form N15, then there are two possibilities:

N15 signed by all tenants

If the Form N15 was signed by all the tenants, then your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict anyone who hasn’t moved out. Your landlord does not have to give you any notice if they are doing this.

N15 signed by some tenants

If the Form N15 was signed by only some of the tenants, it is automatically cancelled for those who did not move out. This means their tenancy continues as if they never signed the Form N15.

If you do move out

If you do move out, make sure to take all your things with you. Your landlord might be allowed to keep, sell, or throw away anything you leave behind. If you have to leave things behind, tell the landlord and ask them to keep your things safe until you can get them. If the landlord says they will do this, try to get the agreement in writing.

Reviewed: 
February, 2017
You May Also Need
Learn more about this topic
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ontario Women's Justice Network (OWJN)

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