Taking in a new tenant isn’t a perfect science, and though there are ways you can minimize the risk of getting a bad one, sometimes people and circumstances change during a tenancy. When things change for the worse, you're probably going to want a new tenant and thus begin the eviction process.
Some landlords can be unprepared for an eviction scenario, but there’s always a time and place where you must jump through the complex legal hoops set up under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to get your rental unit back.
In this post we’re going to break down a variety of ways landlords can (and must legally) evict tenants from their rental units using different Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) forms for different occasions.
All of these notices need to be posted in a conspicuous place, mailed directly to the tenant, or put under the unit door, with copies required for your own records and the subsequent application-for-eviction process.
In all cases, you must have evidence to back up your eviction application, which is why landlords should always be recording anything that seems particularly suspicious on your property, using photo, notebook or security video.
Non-payment of rent (N4)
The tenant’s cheque may have bounced, or you may be a couple days late receiving any rent whatsoever. You need to be reactive the second rent is due so as to not fall behind on rent collection.
Not reacting quickly enough with a legal request for the rent is an amateur’s move. If your tenant has no paid their rent on time, consistently and are in arrears, you can serve them the N4 form to get your owed money and/or begin the eviction process. The “termination date” will be 14 days after the notice is served if the tenant is paying monthly or yearly.
Next, if the tenant hasn’t paid you by the termination date, you need to move on to the L1 form, which is the ‘Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes’.
This finalizing form comes with a $170 filing fee with the LTB and must be submitted one day after the termination date and not earlier. Included with this submission must be a copy of the N4 you served the tenant, and proof that you served it.
Interfering with Others, Damage or Overcrowding (N5)
All of the following situations require the submission of an N5 form which generally covers disruptive tenant behaviour and damage to your property. You will need to provide rather definitive evidence for each of the following circumstances in order to be successful with the eviction.
If a tenant is disrupting or interfering with another tenant’s lawful enjoyment of the premises, either by being too noisy, disrespectful or inconsiderate, they can be given notice through the N5 form and a Reason 1 selection.
Second, if a tenant or their guest has willfully damaged your rental property, you can also serve them the N5 notice under Reason 2.
Lastly, if the tenant has overcrowded the unit with too many guests or roommates, you can serve them the N5 notice as well under Reason 3.
In Ontario, a unit is considered ‘overcrowded’ only if the number of persons “results in a contravention of health, safety or housing standards required by law” according to Section 67 of the RTA. This is understood as 1 person for every 100 sq.ft. or, 1 person for every 9m² of “livable floor space”.
Once the N5 form has been conspicuously served and recorded, and if no remedial action has been taken by the tenant, the landlord must move on to the application process and follow all directions towards an eviction.
Illegal activity (N6)
If a tenant or their guest is participating in illegal activity, it’s crucial you get them out right away with the N6 form.
Use this form and subsequent eviction application to evict a tenant or their guest if you believe they have committed an illegal act, or are operating an illegal business from the premises, such as drug trafficking.
Causing serious problems (N7)
If your tenant is causing serious problems in their unit, building, or residential complex, you need to serve the N7 form.
Reasons for eviction under the N7 form include impairing safety of neighbours, damaging the property, using the rental for non-residential motives and therefore damaging it, and/or substantially interfering with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment of their own property if they live in the same building, impacting their lawful rights, privileges or interests.
The landlord, purchaser or family member requires the rental unit (N12)
The N12 form is only to be used if the landlord’s purchaser or immediate family member requires the unit for their own purposes.
If the landlord has sold the property or if the unit is needed for family purposes, the tenant can be evicted.
If you’re evicting based on these reasons, you have to compensate the tenant with either one month’s rent or by offering the tenant another unit that is acceptable to them.
Know the law
It’s recommended to go to the LTB offices yourself in person to submit eviction applications. This way, there’s no miscommunication about upcoming dates and hearings.
If you don’t go in, you’ll be waiting to evict the tenant as the application gets processed and mail gets delivered to and from the office.