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What can my landlord do if I owe rent?

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What can my landlord do if I owe rent?
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Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

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What can my landlord do if I owe rent?
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Reviewed: 
January 4, 2018
Answer

There are a few different things your landlord can do if they think you have not paid all your rent.

Eviction notice

Your landlord can try to evict you if they say you owe rent. But they must follow certain steps first.

Your landlord must first give you a Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent (Form N4) . This notice must include details about the amount of rent your landlord says you owe. It must also tell you the deadline to cancel the notice by paying the rent.

You can cancel this notice by paying all the rent that you owe within 14 days after you get the notice. You must pay within 7 days if you rent by the day or week. Make sure the landlord gives you a receipt for your payment.

Your payment must also include any rent that comes due after the date on the notice.

If you don't pay everything that you owe by the deadline, your landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evict you.

After that, you will have other chances to stop the eviction by paying, making an agreement with your landlord, or winning your case at the Board.

Demand for payment only

Your landlord might choose to ask for payment without giving you a notice to end your tenancy. Your landlord could apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to make you pay.

Landlords sometimes ask only for payment when they do not want to lose a long-standing tenant or think they will not be able to find a new tenant. They might also do this if you have a fixed-term lease and they want to keep you responsible for the rent until the end of the term.

Credit report

Your landlord could report your overdue rent to a credit reporting agency. This can affect your credit rating and make it harder in the future for you to rent a place or get a loan.

Things your landlord is not allowed to do

Even if you owe rent, it is against the law for your landlord to do, or threaten to do, any of these things:

  • take or hold anything that belongs to you
  • put your belongings out of your apartment
  • change the locks to your apartment or to other areas of the building without giving you a new key right away
  • cut off any important service, such as electricity, gas, water, or heat

If your landlord does or threatens to do any of these things, try to get legal help right away.

You could also call the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit (RHEU). The RHEU is part of the Ministry of Housing. Its job is to try to make sure landlords and tenants follow the law. You can call the RHEU at these numbers:

Toll Free Phone Line: 1-888-772-9277
416 Dialling Area: 416-585-7214
Fax: 416-585-6464
Toll Free Fax Line: 1-866-321-4127

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