On March 16th, 2020, limitation periods for court applications in Ontario were suspended. This suspension is expected to end on September 11th, 2020. For many tenants and landlords dealing with evictions during this period, the pandemic put everything on pause.
On August 1st, the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario (LTB) started processing the backlog of evictions that have accumulated since mid-March. The LTB has also started issuing consent eviction orders, as well as scheduling and hearing non-urgent eviction matters.
The Ontario government is encouraging landlords to work with tenants to make alternative arrangements if tenants are having difficulty paying rent. The Ford government also recently passed a new law, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act (Bill 184) to facilitate agreements between landlords and tenants, but this move has been met with a lot of opposition from both tenant and landlord advocates.
During the emergency order, your limitation period was suspended. You were entitled to an extension of time to file applications equal to the number of days between March 16, 2020 and your original filing deadline. Once the suspension lifts, your limitation period will start running again.
For example, if your deadline to file something was April 1st, you are entitled to an extension equal to the difference between March 16th and April 1st, in this case 16 days. When the government lifts the suspension on limitation periods, which is expected to be September 11th, 2020, your limitation period would resume on that day, giving you 16 days after September 11th to file your application.
NORMAL EVICTION PROCEDURE WITH THE LANDLORD AND TENANT BOARD
Disputes over evictions between landlord and tenant are usually heard by the LTB if the landlord applies to end the tenancy. The landlord will file an application to the Board and the Board will schedule a hearing. Tenants have a right to attend the hearing and explain why they shouldn’t be evicted. The Board has powers to negotiate and order rent repayments plans or order a termination of tenancy.
If the Board rules to end a tenancy and evict someone, they write an order with a termination date by which the tenant has to leave the unit. Sometimes to enforce an order, landlords use the Sheriff’s office to force a tenant out of a unit.
COVID EVICTION PROCEDURE UNDER BILL 184
With Bill 184, landlords can skip attending the Board and offer repayment plans directly to a tenant. If the tenant refuses the plan, the matter is taken up to the Board to be decided. If a tenant and a landlord agree to a plan, the Board must approve of it before it is turned into an order. If a tenant later realizes they agreed to an unfavourable plan, they can appeal to the LTB within 30 days of the order being issued.
This new law also gives landlords the power to issue quick eviction notices against tenants who signed a repayment agreement and later become unable to pay it.
This new law will likely raise a lot of new questions for both landlords and tenants. Reach out to one of ABB’s civil litigation lawyers today for answers to your questions. If finances are tight, ask to speak with an articling student at ABB who will be happy to assist you and offer lower rates while still under the supervision of a senior lawyer.