Landlords across Ontario continue to suffer financially and psychologically because they are unable to expeditiously remove bad tenants from their properties by means of eviction orders from the Landlord and Tenant Board. There are many tenants who also continue to await hearings and orders to obtain various forms of relief against unyielding landlords.
The situation at the Landlord and Tenant Board remains backlogged and problematic. Some of the effects of this situation were recently highlighted in a news report regarding a Landlord sleeping on a Realtor's couch as he awaits a hearing to evict troublesome tenants.
With no change in sight for the very near future, it's important for landlords, especially very small landlords, to avoid certain mistakes.
One common mistake that landlords make is to presume that tenants must move out by the lease termination date unless the lease is renewed.
The situation referenced in the article mentioned above is that the landlord traveled for work and leased his property for the duration of his job, only to return and the tenants refuse to leave. Unfortunately, a lot of landlords find themselves in a similar position where they expect the tenant to move out by the last date stipulated in the fixed-term lease. This is a common mistake that can result in significant delays in properly terminating a lease.
The current law is as such that these fixed-term tenancies convert to a month-to-month tenancy unless legally terminated. In circumstances where the landlord wants to regain possession for their own use, landlords would therefore need to be proactive in issuing the relevant termination notice at least 60 days prior to the last date in the fixed term.
Given the delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board, it is important for landlords to also consider negotiations for an agreement to terminate. Some tenants are more than willing to work with landlords if they are provided sufficient notice, compensated, and most importantly, the situation is handled with civility and respect. Often, these attempts at negotiations fail simply because of how they are handled.
Making this age-old mistake that the tenant will move by the end date stipulated in the lease agreement, only to find that the tenant has no intention to move as the date draws closer, can create tension and hostility, intensifying the issue. For landlords who find themselves in this situation, it often takes a third party, typically a trained legal professional to intervene and handle the situation with the tenant in an attempt to prevent further unnecessary delays.
Of course, negotiations may not end in agreements for everyone, but it is a simple tool that must never be undervalued. And of course, the tenant may still decide they will not move even when the notice is issued early but being proactive before the last date of the fixed term does save some time and can save some headaches.