Delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
As a paralegal who advocates for both landlords and tenants at the Landlord and Tenant Board
(LTB), it's important to address concerns regarding the delays at the Board. As many landlords
and tenants know, the pandemic has caused a backlog of cases at the Board, leaving many
individuals waiting for long periods of time for resolutions to their disputes.
The Ontario Ombudsman's Investigation
The Ontario Ombudsman has received numerous complaints regarding the delays and has
launched an investigation into the Board's handling of cases. It's important to note that the Board is operating in an unprecedented time and appears to be making efforts to handle the high volume of cases.
Improvements and Ongoing Challenges
Over the last few months, as a paralegal who attends hearings at the LTB on a weekly basis, it is quite clear that things have been moving much quicker, with hearing dates being issued in
shorter time frames than what we had a year ago. However, there remain delays that are causing frustration and financial strain for many individuals across Ontario. Landlords who are experiencing delays in obtaining an eviction order have valid concerns about the financial impact of situations such as not having a tenant paying rent.
The LTB does in fact have a process to handle urgent eviction cases, but these are often only granted for cases such as those involving illegal activity, or health and safety concerns. It remains difficult for a landlord faced with the burden of a tenant who refuses to pay rent to be heard on an urgent basis.
Beneficial Solutions for Both Parties
In dealing with this situation, I have found it most beneficial to my landlord clients to work with
their tenants to find a solution that works for both parties, such as an agreement to terminate and or a payment plan. It is indeed the case that many tenants across the province are unable to pay their rent due to job losses, pay cuts, and other financial hardships. However, there are also many landlords who are struggling to cover their costs while they aid in the process of providing much-needed housing to persons across the province who may not be able to afford a mortgage.
The Plight of Many Landlords
Many landlords struggle to pay mortgages for their rental property along with their own homes and many have recently been forced to sell or find other means of disposing of their rental property. Unfortunately, given the delays at the LTB, many tenants use this to their advantage in depriving landlords of the ability to repossess their property, for sale, to utilize it as their own residence, or otherwise, in a reasonable time frame. From working with several landlords, it's clear that many landlords understand that for most
tenants these rental units are their homes that they care about and have strong ties to in some instances. Mutually beneficial agreements can be reached where there is empathy and understanding on each side. This is often very difficult but, in my experience, not at all impossible.
Seeking Legal Advice and Adhering to LTB's Policies
To prevent additional delays, it is imperative to seek legal advice and have a trained professional try to reach a resolution between the parties. Where this is not possible, it is important to try to prevent additional delays by following the LTB’s procedures and policies to ensure that disputes are heard once scheduled.
About the Author
AJ Murray Legal Services P.C