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Eviction, repossession and lease termination

What is an eviction?

Eviction is a way for your landlord to force you out of the dwelling. Your landlord can evict you only to:

  • Modify your dwelling to create multiple rental dwellings.
  • Increase the size of your dwelling by combining it with another dwelling.
  • Change the use of the dwelling, for example, to use it as a home daycare.

An eviction for work that does not fall into one of these categories is prohibited. This illegal practice is commonly referred to as "renoviction."

Can I be evicted because my place is being sold? (Ontario)

  • If you are asked to move out upon closing of the sale of your place, the landlord must have a legal reason to do so and do so with proper notice.
  • If the buyer, the buyer’s close family member or a caregiver wants to move in, you may indeed have to move out even if your lease has yet to expire. In such case, the landlord must present you with proper notice in a form called “Notice to End your Tenancy Because the Landlord, a Purchaser or a Family Member Requires the Rental Unit – Form N12.”
  • Following this, the landlord may offer you another acceptable unit to move into, or pay you a month’s rent.

I have received an eviction notice, what can you do?

  • If you refuse to move out, the landlord will be required to reach out to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to evict you. A hearing will be scheduled, though you are still encouraged to find an agreement with your landlord, such as being paid more than one month’s rent.
  • At the hearing, you will be asked to provide input as to how you challenge your landlord’s case. 

What steps must your landlord take to evict you?

To evict you, your landlord must give you written notice. The deadline for giving notice is usually six months before the end of the lease.

The notice must explain the reasons for the eviction and the expected date. This date must be at the end of the lease.

You have received an eviction notice. What recourse do you have?

You can object to the eviction. To do so, you must send a Notice of Objection to the Rental Housing Administrative Tribunal (RHA) within one month of receiving the eviction notice. After this time, you will be considered to have agreed to vacate the dwelling.

If you object, your landlord must show that they really do want to evict you for the reasons you claim.

If you agree to move out or the TAL allows the eviction, your landlord must pay you the equivalent of three months' rent plus moving expenses.

What is a dwelling repossession?

Repossessing a dwelling is a way for your landlord to force you to move out. Your landlord can repossess your home to :

  • to house themselves,
  • to house their parents or children,
  • to house another family member that they are caring for,
  • to house their former spouse in their care after a divorce, legal separation or dissolution of a civil union.

Your landlord cannot repossess your dwelling if they own another similar dwelling available on the date of the repossession. The available dwelling must be of the same type as yours, located in the same area and with equivalent rent.

What steps must your landlord take to repossess your dwelling?

To repossess your dwelling, your landlord must let you know in writing. The deadline for giving notice is usually six months before the end of the lease.

The notice must explain the reasons for the repossession and the expected date. This date cannot be before the end of the lease. 

You have received a notice of repossession. What can you do?

You must inform your landlord of whether or not you accept to move out of your dwelling. In addition, you will need to let your landlord know within one month of receiving the repossession notice. After this time, you will be considered to have refused to vacate.

If you refuse to vacate, your landlord can apply to the Tribunal administratif du Logement (TAL - Rental Housing Administrative Tribunal) for permission to take back your dwelling. Your landlord must make this request within one month of your refusal. In addition, your landlord must show that they actually want to take the dwelling back for the reasons claimed.

If you agree to move out or the TAL authorizes the repossession, you are entitled to an indemnity covering your move's expenses. The indemnity is intended to pay for the cost of transporting your belongings and compensate you for the inconvenience caused by the loss of your home. This compensation may consider your age, health, the number of years you have lived in your home and the cost of connecting you to various utilities, for example.

You are a senior citizen. Can your landlord evict or repossess you anyway?

Eviction and repossession are generally prohibited when three conditions are met. This is the case if you or your spouse::

  • Are 70 years old or older,
  • Have lived in the home for at least ten years, and,
  • Have an income that would qualify you for low-cost housing.

However, even if you are in this situation, repossession of your dwelling is allowed if:

  • The person who will be living in your dwelling is 70 years of age or older or,
  • Your landlord is 70 or older, lives in the same building as you, and wants to take over the dwelling so that someone under 70 can live in the building.

A repossession or eviction is done in bad faith. Do you have any recourse?

You can appeal to the Rental Housing Administrative Tribunal (TAL), even if you consented to the repossession or eviction. However, before the TAL, it will be up to you to show that your landlord acted in bad faith, citing false reasons.

You then have the right to ask for financial compensation for your suffering disturbance. For example, you can ask for an amount to cover the difference in rent with your new home and for stress, worry and other inconveniences.

You can also ask for an amount for "punitive damages." This type of award is meant to punish and deter the person at fault, your landlord. The TAL may award punitive damages, specifically in cases of repossession or bad faith eviction.

Your landlord has re-rented your old apartment for more money after doing a repossession. Was the repossession done in bad faith?

Your landlord is presumed to have acted in bad faith if the dwelling is not used for the reason stated in the repossession or eviction notice.

However, your landlord can explain why the stated reason for the repossession or eviction did not occur. Your landlord is not acting in bad faith if it is because of an unforeseen event beyond their control, such as death, illness or financial incapacity.

A landlord may also be allowed by the TAL to re-rent the dwelling after a repossession or eviction. In this case, the TAL sets the rent.

You agreed to leave your home under pressure from your landlord. However, you did not know that you had the right to stay. Do you have any recourse?

If you signed an agreement to leave your home, the court could overturn it. It could do this if your consent were tainted. That is, something happened that made your consent invalid. For example, fear is one reason that can vitiate consent.

However, more than merely pressure is required. Fear that makes a consent invalid usually comes from physical, psychological or economic violence or threat. Your fear must be significant enough to have prevented you from deciding freely.

A mistake can also, in some cases, render consent invalid. However, you can’t use ignorance of the law as an excuse. You have a responsibility to get informed before agreeing to an arrangement.

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