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I heard that evictions are starting up again in Ontario. What do I need to know?

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I heard that evictions are starting up again in Ontario. What do I need to know?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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I heard that evictions are starting up again in Ontario. What do I need to know?
Reviewed: 
August 11, 2020
Answer

On March 19, 2020, the government put a "freeze" in place to stop evictions of residential tenants and homeowners during the state of emergency. But on August 4, 2020, this freeze was lifted and evictions allowed to start again.

This means that if the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has made an eviction order against you, your landlord can now have the Sheriff enforce the order. With an LTB order, the Sheriff can evict you and have the locks changed. And your landlord doesn't need permission from the Superior Court, as they did during the freeze.

The Sheriff can enforce any eviction order. It doesn't matter if the order was made before or after the state of emergency was declared on March 19.

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 March 19, you might not get a new notice before the Sheriff shows up.

Landlords are still not allowed to evict tenants on their own. Landlords must get an order from the LTB and have the Sheriff enforce it.

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

Learn about L1 eviction hearings

Learn about L1 eviction hearings

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 is scheduling hearings for non-urgent cases, and will start holding those hearings in mid-August.

This means that if your landlord wants to evict you because you owe rent, or any other legal reason, you could get a notice about an upcoming hearing.

Your landlord could also ask the LTB to make an eviction order without a hearing. This can happen if your landlord claims that you agreed to move out or that you broke an agreement to settle an earlier eviction case.

At this time, there are still no in-person hearings. The LTB is holding hearings by phone, videoconference, or in writing.

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

Get legal advice

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.

Other changes

The government also passed Bill 184, which changes some of the rules about evictions and other things affecting tenants. This blog post from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO) explains some of the changes.

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