Note: The following information relates specifically to for-profit rental housing (renting from an individual or business corporation) in Ontario. This includes renting an apartment unit, a house, a rooming house, basement apartment, condo apartment, etc.
The rules for Social Housing (TCHC), Non-Profit housing, Co-operative housing, Student dormatories, shelters, jail/prison, care homes, renting from another renter (not a landlord), or renting a space where you share a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord can be different.
Sometimes the processes are the same, and sometimes they are completely different depending on the type of housing you live in. For questions related to these types of housing please call our tenant hotline or check this page for more info.
Eviction is a process in Ontario, it is not something that a landlord can do unilaterally. Evictions in Ontario involve a lot of steps and tend to take a lot of time.
If your landlord just told you for the first time that you have to move, RELAX! If they're being truthful you are likely many months away from actually being evicted.
How Evictions Do NOT Work
You do NOT have to move in Ontario if:
- your landlord asks or tells you to move out verbally
- you get an email, text or phone call from your landlord telling you to move
- you get a letter on letterhead from your landlord or your landlords lawyer telling you to move
- your landlord asks you to sign an Agreement to End the Tenancy (N11)
- you get a legal “Notice to End your Tenancy” (N4, N5, N7, N8, N12, N13, etc) from your landlord
If you’ve received any of these, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MOVE OUT: you can simply refuse. You can only be evicted in Ontario if your eviction is authorized by a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
How Evictions Work
All tenants covered under the law in Ontario have something called “security of tenure”. This means that they can stay in their unit forever, until either they give legal written notice to move or the landlord gets a legal eviction order at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Step 1 – Valid Reason
The first thing a landlord needs to do to evict you is have a valid reason.
Valid Reasons include:
- you haven’t paid your rent
- you’ve interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants
- you’ve committed an illegal act
- You’ve persistently paid rent late
- The landlord wants to move in for a year
- The landlord has a conditional sale of the unit and the buyer wants to move in for a year
- The landlord needs the apartment vacant for major renovations or a demolition
Invalid reason (reasons they can’t evict) include:
- The landlord just wants you to move ‘because they feel like it’
- The landlord wants to raise the rent
- The landlord wants to sell in the future
Step 2 – Legal Notice
If your landlord has a valid reason to evict you in Ontario, the next step would be to give you a legal eviction notice that outlines the reason for the eviction, a date they ask you to move (you can agree or disagree) and next steps should you wish to challenge the notice.
Sometimes, especially if your landlord hopes you don’t know the law, the landlord won’t move onto additional steps.
Many tenants move out pre-maturely when they get a legal notice because they think it the same as a legal order. It’s not. You do not have to move if you get an eviction ‘notice’ from the landlord.
Step 3 – Board hearing
Landlords who really wish to evict tenants must seek a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board. In order to do so, they’d have to pay money to file for a hearing at the Board. If your landlord does this, then the Board will send you notice of the hearing which will include the location, date and time of the hearing.
It is very important that you attend your hearing – even if the landlord has said you do not have to.
Hearings can take anywhere from a short time (if the case is simple) to many months (if there are adjournments and lots of evidence or issues). While you do not require legal representation, it’s usually recommended that you try to get it if you can from a local community legal aid clinic. You can find your local clinic by entering your postal code here: http://www.legalaid.on.ca/legal-clinics/
At the hearing, the Board will decide if you owe any money, if you should be evicted, and if so, what date the eviction should take place.
If the Board rules in your favour, the eviction will be dismissed. If the Board rules against you, they will normally order an eviction.
Step 4 – Eviction Order and Sheriff
If the Board orders an eviction, they will send you an eviction order. This order can be legally acted upon by the Enforcement office (also known as the Sheriff).
The order will often be set for a future date to give you time to move out and find another place to live. In the case of evictions for Non-Payment of Rent, the Board will often give you a period of time to pay (normally 11 days) in order to stop the eviction.
If you are still there on the date you are supposed to move out, the landlord will be able to pay to have the Enforcement Office come to evict you. If you are evicted by the Enforcement Office, you’d have 72 hours to come and pick up your belongings.
Landlord and Tenant Board Order example
If you’re at the stage where you’ve received an eviction order, then there’s an active order to evict you that’s been issued. The only thing that will stop the Enfocrement Office from evicting you will be if they get ANOTHER ORDER that stops the first one.
Getting another order will require either filing a Request to Review at the Landlord and Tenant Board or filing an Appeal at Division Court.
For questions related to these processes we strongly recommend all our clients to seek legal advice from a lawyer.