Landlords become Homeless During the Pandemic.

The contraction of terms, “Homeless Landlord” appears to be what some say is a hard cold reality being faced for some small private landlords. Many small private landlords are experiencing serious financial hardship as a result of their tenants failing to pay rent and refusing to move during the pandemic, and one landlord is now reporting to the media that he is homeless!

In a recent CTV news article published on November 5, 2020, https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-landlords-say-some-tenants-using-pandemic-as-excuse-not-to-pay-rent-1.5176982, news reporter, Pat Foran, Consumer Alert Videojournalist, reports of one “homeless landlord’s” current situation where the Newmarket landlord, Brown, stated “I am homeless…” and “couch surfing” at a friend’s home and sleeping in his truck because the woman who is renting his house refuses to pay rent and leave.” He purports to be homeless while he waits for the Landlord & Tenant Board to expedite its back log of cases.

The LTB and government in response to the backlog of cases has hired more staff and adjudicators and has implemented processes and amended the law to expediate a landlord’s ability to obtain an eviction order without having to wait for a hearing . There is one catch though – the tenant must expressly agree to enter into a repayment plan and then the tenant must default in those terms of payment.

Moreover, the Landlord & Tenant Board, recently posted an “Important Notice” on their web site https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/contact which states that “Between October 19 and November 20, 2020, the LTB will shift staff and adjudicator resources to scheduling hearings.” Unfortunately, the Board advises that this shift in resources “will result in temporary customer service delays at the call centre of up to 45 minutes, and delays in processing new applications and responding to email inquiries.” and that “You may need to wait in excess of 45 minutes for a Call Centre Representative. When all lines are busy with other callers, you will get a busy signal. There will be delays in application processing for applications submitted as of September 2020.”

It is apparent that this shift in resources at the Landlord & Tenant Board is designed to deal with the back log of cases filed prior to and during the height of the pandemic, but for those applications submitted as of September 2020, they will be dealt with at a later date. How much later is still to be determined.

My professional advise to those landlords who are experiencing hardship during the pandemic, if you haven’t done so already, serve an N4 Notice on your tenant, file the L1 application, and while you are waiting for your hearing – make every effort (including concessions) to negotiate a payment plan with your tenant. If your tenant agrees to enter into a payment plan, do not wait, ask your tenants to sign the Board’s Payment Agreement form, and then file it at the Board right away. The Board will process the form and issue an order. (remember not to forget to check the box on page 2 of that form that will give you the ability to apply for an eviction order under section 78 of the RTA should the tenant default in terms of the payment agreement).

Then upon the tenant defaulting in terms of the agreement, you can then file an L4 Application at the Board and if your paperwork is in order, the Board will issue an eviction order, without the Board having to set it down for a hearing.

The Boards forms and instructions can be found at https://tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms/

You may also contact the writer of this blog, Landlord Paralegal Lisa Barder at (289) 788-4113 for a free 15 minute telephone consultation.