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AJ Murray Legal Services P.C. Blog

  • Writer's pictureArashdeep Grewal

Abandonment of a Rental Unit

The issue of a tenant abandoning their rental unit can be both perplexing and complicated for a landlord in Ontario. When faced with this issue, we help landlords understand their rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA). Landlords are often concerned about what steps they should take when a tenant vacates a rental unit without proper notice and how they can legally regain possession of it.


What Constitutes Abandonment?


Abandonment of a rental unit occurs when a tenant unliterally relinquishes their tenancy and vacates the rental unit without proper notice to the landlord.


Pursuant to section 79 of the RTA, landlords can apply to the Board for an order terminating the tenancy if they believe a tenant has abandoned the rental unit. However, it's important to note that while landlords may seek such an Order, it is not mandatory for them to do so to treat the unit as abandoned.  Without obtaining an Order, a landlord can deem a unit abandoned where there are a combination of certain factors present that would reasonably suggest the tenant has in fact abandoned the rental unit. These may include factors such as the below:


  1. The tenant fails to pay the rent and does not respond to attempts by the landlord to contact them.

  2. The landlord finds the rental unit to be vacant, showing most or all furniture and personal effects removed.

  3. The tenant disconnects the utilities.

  4. The tenant was observed in the process of moving out of the rental unit.


It is important to note that even if there is evidence of abandonment, such as the examples listed above, the RTA states that a rental unit is not deemed abandoned if the tenant is not in arrears for rent.


Legal Steps for Landlords:


Documenting Evidence


Landlords should report any signs of abandonment, including communication with the tenant, observations of the unit's condition, and attempts to contact the tenant.


Contacting the Tenant


Landlords should make reasonable efforts to contact the tenant to confirm their intent to vacate the unit.


Applying to the Board


Landlords can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an Order determining that the unit has been abandoned. 


Disposal of Property


If the unit is deemed abandoned, landlords may dispose of the tenant's property under specific conditions outlined in the RTA.


Abandonment of a rental unit present challenges for landlords, necessitating a clear understanding of legal procedures outlined in the law. By documenting evidence, contacting tenants, and adhering to RTA guidelines, landlords can navigate situations of abandonment effectively and within the bounds of the law.



For personalized advice and assistance regarding tenant abandonment and other landlord- tenant matters, please feel free to call our office to speak with me for a consultation at 1-888-217-6707.


Each case is unique, and seeking professional guidance is essential for ensuring compliance and protecting the landlord’s legal rights.


Click the link below to get started with your complimentary consultation.





About the Author








Arashdeep Grewal

Licensed Paralegal

AJ Murray Legal Services P.C.


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