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Evictions starting again in Ontario

Evictions starting again in Ontario

Starting August 4, 2020, the eviction freeze that protected most residential tenants and homeowners from being evicted by the Sheriff has expired.

This means that if the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has made an eviction order against a tenant, the landlord can have the Sheriff enforce the order by evicting the tenant and having the locks changed.

The landlord does not need to get special permission from the Superior Court, as they did during the freeze.

This applies to all eviction orders whether they were made before or after the state of emergency was declared on March 19.

Sheriff’s offices usually give tenants a few days’ written notice before they come to physically evict them. But there’s no guarantee this will always happen. And if a tenant got a Sheriff’s notice before March 19, they may not get a new one before the Sheriff shows up.

As has always been the case, landlords are still not allowed to evict tenants on their own. They must get an order from the LTB and have the Sheriff enforce it.

Get legal advice

Tenants need to get legal advice right away if they have an eviction order against them or if they get a Sheriff’s notice. This is especially true if they have nowhere to go and would be put at risk of getting or spreading Covid-19.

Tenants can contact their local community legal clinic.

They can also sign up for tenant duty counsel advice at www.tdc.acto.ca or by calling 1-877-374-0391. They’ll need their LTB file number, which should be on the Sheriff’s notice and on any papers they got from the LTB.

LTB expanding eviction hearings

Also starting August 4, the LTB will be holding more eviction hearings and making more eviction orders.

During the state of emergency, the LTB held eviction hearings and made eviction orders only in urgent cases where tenants were accused of unsafe or illegal conduct.

But now the LTB will start scheduling hearings in non-urgent cases, and will start holding those hearings in mid-August. They’ll also make eviction orders without hearings if the tenant has agreed to settle their case by moving out.

At this time, there are still no in-person hearings. Hearings are held by phone, videoconference, or in writing.

As well, there are still no in-person counter services at LTB offices. This means that landlords or tenants who want to file applications or other documents with the LTB have to do it by mail, e-file, or fax, or at a Service Ontario centre.

Get legal advice

Tenants who get a notice for a hearing at the LTB need to get legal advice as soon as possible. They can contact their local community legal clinic.

They can also sign up for tenant duty counsel advice at www.tdc.acto.ca or by calling 1-877-374-0391. They’ll need their LTB file number and hearing date, which they can find on the notice of hearing.

Other changes

Besides ending the eviction freeze, the government also passed Bill 184. This Bill changes some of the rules about evictions and other things affecting tenants. This blog post from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) summarizes some of the changes.