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I was not able to pay my rent this month and my landlord is threatening to evict me. What can I do?

I was not able to pay rent this month and my landlord is threatening to evict me. What can I do?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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I was not able to pay my rent this month and my landlord is threatening to evict me. What can I do?
April 6, 2020
COVID-19 Evictions
COVID-19 Evictions

Guide to eviction rules during the coronavirus emergency.

Landlords can’t evict you themselves. This means they can’t change the locks and they can’t get someone else, like the police to evict you. There is a process that landlords have to follow.

On March 19, 2020, the Ontario government put an order in place that stops all evictions until court and tribunal offices open again. But if the landlord can convince the Superior Court of Justice that the situation is extremely urgent, the court might make an exception.

If your landlord is threatening to evict you now, there are a few things you can do:

  • Call the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU) at 1-888-772-9277 (toll-free) or 416-585-7214. The RHEU can contact your landlord to discuss the situation. They might be able to get your landlord to stop, or to let you back in if you’ve already been evicted illegally.
  • Call your local community legal clinic and tell them that what is happening. You can speak to a lawyer or legal worker for free. They might be able to contact your landlord, or make an urgent application to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). It’s best to get legal help if you want to go to the LTB.  Their physical offices are closed during the COVID-19 emergency and they are only accepting certain types of applications.
  • If you can’t get legal help, you can make an urgent application to the LTB using their online Form T2. There is a $45 filing fee which you will have to pay by credit card or debit card.
  • Call the police non-emergency number. Sometimes police officers won’t get involved in this kind of situation. But many police forces are aware of the danger of illegal evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

One housing lawyer has posted this more detailed list of suggestions if you think you are in danger of being evicted illegally.

The normal eviction process

When tenants owe rent, landlords can give them a notice. If the tenant doesn’t pay within 14 days, or within 7 days if it’s a weekly tenancy, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an eviction order. If the tenant isn’t able to stop the eviction, the eviction order can later be enforced. Your landlord can get the Sheriff to physically evict you and change the lock. But during the COVID-19 emergency, the LTB is not scheduling eviction hearings for rent arrears, and Sheriff’s offices are not doing evictions for rent arrears.

Even though evictions are stopped for a while, you will most likely have to get caught up on your rent eventually, even if you have lost income because of COVID-19. For information about possible sources of income support, go to Steps to Justice. You can also find more information on our COVID-19 updates page.

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