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Can I be evicted during COVID-19?

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Can I be evicted during COVID-19?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Community Legal Services of Ottawa

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Can I be evicted during COVID-19?updated
Reviewed: 
February 19, 2021
Answer

On January 13, 2021, the government made an order that stopped the Sheriff's office from evicting most tenants during the second COVID-19 state of emergency. This "eviction freeze" ends when the stay at home order ends.

When the eviction freeze ends depends on the public health region you live in. It ended on February 9, 2021 in the following areas:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit

The eviction freeze ended on February 16 in the other 28 areas. It will end on February 22, 2021 for York Region. The eviction freeze will continue to at least March 8, 2021 in Peel, Toronto, and North Bay-Parry Sound.

The LTB is still holding eviction hearings during the eviction freeze. For more information, read the question: Are LTB hearings going ahead in the COVID-19 pandemic?

If the stay at home order is in effect

Only Sheriffs can enforce eviction orders in Ontario. And the Sheriff can only enforce an eviction order during the eviction freeze if the order also says that the sheriff can speed up the eviction. This might happen in cases where tenants are accused of unsafe or illegal conduct.

Most tenants who rent a place to live are protected by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). If you're a tenant under the RTA, your landlord can't evict you by themselves, and they can't hire a private bailiff or anybody else to evict you. That was illegal before the eviction freeze, and it's still illegal. They have to follow a certain process to evict you.

If you think your landlord might evict you without the Sheriff, you can contact a government office called the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) at 1-888-772-9277 (toll-free) or 416-585-7214. They might contact your landlord to discuss the situation. Sometimes this can solve the problem.

If that doesn't work, try to get legal help right away.

Urgent applications

If you can't get legal help to stop the eviction, you can make an urgent application to the LTB using their online Form T2 and Request to Extend or Shorten Time. There is a $48 filing fee that you must pay by credit card or debit card.

All LTB offices are closed to the public because of COVID-19, so you can't file documents in-person at the LTB.

If you can't file or pay online, visit ServiceOntario Centres for a list of locations that accept applications for the LTB. At ServiceOntario you can pay by cash, certified cheque, or money order. There is a $53 filing fee. But you can request a fee waiver using the Fee Waiver Request form if you're eligible.

If the stay at home order has ended

If the eviction freeze is over in your area, your landlord can now have the Sheriff enforce eviction orders made by the LTB. It doesn't matter if the order was made before or after the stay at home order. The Sheriff can evict you and have the locks changed.

Sheriff's offices usually give you a few days' written notice before they come to physically evict you. But there's no guarantee this will always happen. And if you got a Sheriff's notice before the eviction freeze, you might not get a new notice before the Sheriff shows up.

COVID-19 Evictions for non-payment of rent
COVID-19 Evictions for non-payment of rent

Learn about L1 eviction hearings

Try to get legal advice right away if:

  • you get a notice for a hearing at the LTB,
  • you have an eviction order against you, or
  • you get a Sheriff's notice.

This is especially important if you have nowhere to go and would be put at risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.

For legal help, you can contact your local community legal clinic. You can also sign up for tenant duty counsel advice at www.tdc.acto.ca or call 1-877-374-0391. You will need your LTB file number, which should be on the Sheriff's notice and on any papers you got from the LTB.

And, if you've received a notice for an eviction hearing because of non-payment of rent, can also contact www.oba.org/TLCP for 30 minutes of free advice with a lawyer if you have a hearing in the next 10 days and have internet access.

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