New Laws Enacted Under Bill 184, Do Give Landlords the Right to File for Eviction (Without a Hearing) if a Tenant Defaults in an “Agreement To Settle” and Also Covers Landlords New Obligations to “Make an Attempt to Negotiate Terms of Payment”. Defaulting Tenants Will Have the “Right to Be Heard” on Motion to the Board.

There is much controversy over the recently enacted provisions of Bill 184. Many Critics and Tenants Rights Groups argue that the new laws give an unfair advantage to landlords over tenants. In a recently published CBC Post “Advocates say new Ontario bill gives an unfair advantage to landlords over tenants” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-rental-tenant-bill-1.5636914, But the reality is that Tenants, who are faced with eviction, actually have a number of opportunities to exercise their “Right to Be Heard” before a Member of the Landlord and Tenant Board.

A Tenant’s first Opportunity will arise upon receipt of the Landlords L1 Application, Notice of Hearing. The Notice of Hearing provides detailed information about the date, time, and location (or call-in number and password) of the hearing date and also sets out the parties’ legal rights and responsibilities. It also provides the parties with the Landlord and Tenant Board’s contact information should they have any questions, In essence, it provides tenants with all the information they need to properly navigate the process and respond to the landlord’s L1 Eviction Application.

SO WHAT IS ALL THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT? The controversy is regarding the legislature’s amendment to section 206 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the “Act”). This section of the Act is a provision that allows the parties (on consent) to enter into an Agreement to Settle on negotiated terms of repayment of arrears. In essence, the legislature has provided the parties with a legislated, amicable, method for resolving arrears without having to attend the LTB hearing, which considering the Board’s backlog of cases is a great way of expediting authorized repayment plans and in the event of default, evictions.

Prior to Bill 184s recent amendment to s. 206 of the RTA, the Landlord only had a right to request a reopening of the L1 application in the event of default by the tenant once the Board approved and ordered the Agreement to Settle and canceled the hearing. As a result, s. 206, Agreements to Settle were rarely used by landlords as this particular legislative process, over others, lacked the “teeth” of enforcement and in essence, did not move the matter forward in the government’s remedial eviction proceedings.

The legislature has now amended section 206 and thus given the Landlord the right to file for an “Exparte” Eviction Order by setting out the tenant’s default in terms of that Agreement to Settle in either a sworn Affidavit or Declaration under section 78 of the Act.

The Critics, on the face of their articles, are attempting to make it appear as if the legislature has provided new rights to landlords without providing similar rights to tenants. However, it is my opinion, that this is not the case. The amendment to section 206 of the Act, actually provides both landlords and tenants additional rights under the Act that they did not have prior to the amendment of the law, and those rights are found in section 78 of the Act, specifically, both parties are (essentially) prompted by the Act, to negotiate and resolve the matter themselves without a hearing. The landlord will have the right to file for an exparte order and the tenant is given the right to file a motion to set aside that eviction order.

In my opinion, this particular amendment actually balances out the rights of landlords and tenants, that being one of the main purposes of Act, and prevents delinquent tenants from taking advantage of the system and negotiating repayment plans in “bad faith”. After all, if the tenant knows that any default on repayment would result in an exparte eviction order, wouldn’t that in itself prevent a tenant from entering into an Agreement to Settle that they could not meet?

The Landlords Exparte Eviction (s. 78) Application (L4 Application) and Affidavit or Declaration still needs to be approved by a Member of the Board, and if the Member has any questions or if the Affidavit or Declaration lacks the necessary information to prove the tenant’s breach of the Agreement to Settle, the Member is mandated to set the matter down for a Hearing and the Board will send out Notices to all parties. However, if the paperwork and affidavit provide the information that the Member needs to issue the eviction order, the Board will mail out the Eviction Order to both the Landlord and the Tenant, at which time the Tenant may then exercise their “Rights to be Heard” by filing under section 78 of the Act, a Motion to set-aside an Exparte Order, where the tenant will have the right to attend a hearing and explain why they should not be evicted and the landlord will have the right to explain the breach and why then the tenant should not be given another opportunity to repay the debt.

Under the Rule of Law, all laws should be capable of enforcement, and as a result of the recent Bill 184 amendments to section 206 of the RTA, now landlords can rely on section 206 Agreement to Settle of being capable of enforcement, thus promoting more landlord’s to utilize this process, take the back-log out of the Board and have their matters resolved right away rather than wait for a hearing date months down the road.

Moreover, landlords entering into section 206 Agreements also cover the landlords’ obligation under the new amendment contained in section 83 of the Act. Specifically, that the landlord has attempted to negotiate an agreement with the tenant including terms of payment for the tenant’s arrears during the pandemic https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-184.

The Section 206 Agreement to Settle may be filed today!

If you would like additional information about the section 206 Agreement to Settle, or any LTB process, contact Landlord Paralegal Lisa Barder for a free half-hour consultation at (289) 788-4113.

Landlord Legally Required to Make an “Attempt” to Negotiate an Agreement including Terms of Payment with Tenant During COVID-19 or Eviction Denied.

July 17, 2020

As you may have heard, the provincial government is pushing through Bill 184, Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, 2020 and soon to become Law.


https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-184


The Bill is currently in third reading.  The Ontario legislature has amended the Bill to include, among many other things,  the following proposed change to section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act.


Power of Board re eviction Section 83 is amended to provide that in determining whether to grant an application to evict a tenant based on arrears in rent arising during the period beginning on March 17, 2020, and ending on the prescribed date, the Board shall consider whether the landlord has attempted to negotiate an agreement with the tenant including terms of payment for the tenant’s arrears.


Therefore, Landlords, if you have not already done so make an “attempt” (in writing with date stamped) to negotiate an “agreement” including “terms of payment” with your tenant and ensure that you take this written request to the Landlord and Tenant Board L1 Hearing. Otherwise, the Board Member hearing your case will be mandated under section 83 to consider your failure to do so and deny your eviction application.

Moreover, as a result of the recent Bill 184 amendments to section 206 of the RTA, now landlords can rely on section 206 Agreement to Settle of being capable of enforcement, thus promoting more landlord’s to utilize this process, take the back-log out of the Board and have their matters resolved right away rather than wait for a hearing date months down the road

Moreover, landlords entering into section 206 Agreements also cover the landlords’ obligation under the new amendment contained in section 83 of the Act. Specifically, that the landlord has attempted to negotiate an agreement with the tenant including terms of payment for the tenant’s arrears during the pandemic https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-184.

Contact Landlord Paralegal Lisa Barder at landlordparalegal.com or you can call Ms. Barder at (289) 788-4113 for a half-hour free, no-obligation, consultation.

Lisa Barder


Hoarding Disorder and Fires

Toronto Councillor, Josh Matlow, recently announced plans to ask the Fire Chief to prepare a presentation on the transparency of fire inspections – but the issue is that the fire department is bound by legislation to handle all such information a certain way.

For $5 the freedom of information is available to anyone to access from the fire department – including landlords – and should one still not be satisfied upon realizing pertinent information has been blackened out – one still has a right to appeal. Once all those appeal avenues have been exhausted, one could then perhaps follow up with the councilor.

This has all suddenly come up as a hot-button issue because of the recent London fire that killed 79 people in a lower income building. The fear was/is that it could happen here, so politicians like Toronto’s Matlow are at least trying to highlight the issue with preemptive strikes. Those fires, however, had to do with combustible external panels, an issue not so far having been raised here.

What they really need to keep focused on to ensure the reduced possibilities of fires, is to clamp down on tenants with excessive amounts of clutter inside their units many of whom suffer from hoarding disorder a form of obsessive compulsive mental illness.

How quickly everyone seems to have forgotten the lessons supposedly learned from the 2003 Toronto Community Housing Corporation fire at 200 Wellesley St when 1200 residents were displaced and started in a unit occupied by a resident suffering from the disorder.

“Clear means of egress”

So what’s a landlord to do? Ensure a clear means of egress to each exit inside the unit at the cost of possibly lives? The problem is you have a number of variables that interchange here from human rights to mental health as landlords have a duty to accommodate to undo hardship. In the end, the Landlord and Tenant Board reluctantly issues eviction orders in these cases and not without first giving the tenant many opportunities to declutter.

What can be done?

Prior to issuing an eviction notice first take steps to accommodate the tenant by working with those afflicted residents to declutter their homes through contacting third-party agencies, such as mental health and social workers, including “Purgers” who help with the decluttering process. An entrepreneurial Hamilton businesswoman I met recently actually started a business to help hoarders declutter and purge so there seems to be a growing demand.

Transparency and access to freedom of information will not stop fires from occurring in residential complexes – preventative measures will.

“From my experience but for landlords, tenants, paralegals and third party agencies continuing to work together, we may well be on our way to a crisis, especially when you add the growing bed bug epidemic into the equation. Will we wait until another Wellesley Street happens again before we act? I sure hope not.

Lisa Barder

Canadian Family Courts may include Paralegals

 

It was just reported in the Toronto Star that both lawyers and paralegals may be allowed to represent clients embroiled in the family courts system.

While some argue it’s too complex for a paralegal’s scope, others however disagree, including this one.

Paralegals are already allowed to represent in certain criminal cases and so it’s certainly not a stretch to think paralegals could represent in family court by any means.

At any rate, former Ontario court Chief Justice, Annemarie Bonkalo, thinks we can. The former Chief Justice recommends that specialized, trained paralegals be allowed to provide family court representation through special licensing.

And she certainly knows it will be controversial, as currently paralegals are prohibited from doing so.

“There are few subjects that cause more controversy within the family justice community than the provision of legal services by paralegals,” Bonkalo states.

The public has until May 15 2017 to offer input as to their thoughts on this and for changes needing made to streamline our backed up family court system.

A decision by government on her recommendations is expected by fall. Stay tuned!

What do you think? Take our poll

Take Our Poll

Lisa Barder, Landlord Paralegal

Landlord Paralegal Lisa Barder

Are you a Landlord having difficulties collecting rent from your tenant or is your tenant committing an illegal act on your property?  Do you have questions about terminating a tenancy and eviction or are you dealing with a property standards violation. Contact Landlord Paralegal for free consultation with Lisa Barder @ (289) 788-4113.

Source: Landlord Paralegal