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Long Term Hotel Guests Governed under Ontario’s Residential Act

ORHMA continues to receive frequent calls relating to rules surrounding long-term guest evictions. This area is complex and in most cases need a qualified paralegal or lawyer to address the dispute with the Landlord and Tenant Board. The following insights are strictly a guide on this subject.

The Landlord and Tenant Board is an adjudicative tribunal created by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. The RTA gives residential landlords and tenants rights and responsibilities, and sets out a process for enforcing them. The Landlord and Tenant Board has "members" who act as judges and make decisions after hearing both parties involved in a dispute. A decision is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Due to the length of time, hotel or motel guest issues may fall under the Tenancies Act. Tenants can be evicted only for the reasons listed in Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Some reasons for eviction are:

Non-payment: The most common cause of eviction is tenant(s) being behind in their rent payments. This is sometimes called non-payment of rent or "arrears" of rent. This can be considered as being one day late or one dollar short.

Persistent late payment: A tenant who receives a notice for non-payment can settle the dispute by paying the full amount of rent owing before the date outlined in the notice. There is a limit to how often a tenant is able to do this. Unfortunately, the law doesn't state exactly what the limit should be except that a tenant can be evicted if they "persistently" fail to pay the full amount by the due date. It's up to the Landlord and Tenant Board to evaluate and make a decision.

The RTA lists many other reasons for eviction including:

  • Disturbing other tenants or the landlord, such as having loud parties

  • Causing "undue" damage to property which is beyond reasonable wear and tear

  • Conducting illegal activity on the property or in the unit, such as dealing drugs

  • Seriously risking the safety of other people in the building, such as severe hoarding or clutter that creates a fire hazard

Tenants can also be evicted simply because of the landlord's plans for the rental unit. The landlord may want to: live in the unit, use it for a different purpose, do major repairs or renovations.

The landlord must give a notice of termination to the tenant to evict. A Notice of Termination is a form that a landlord or tenant uses when either wants to end their tenancy agreement. There are different types of notices, such as N4 and N5. The notices that landlords use have titles that start with “Notice to End Your Tenancy”. This must be given to the tenant a certain number of days before the date they want the tenant to vacate the unit.

If the landlord has completed the correct form and gives it to the tenant within a proper timeframe, a tenant may not want to move or is unable to move. It is important to keep in mind that sometimes eviction can be avoided by working out a settlement, which is a compromise that both the landlord and tenant can agree to. A common example is an agreement for the tenant to pay off the rent owing in installments.

The landlord must be able to prove that the reason that they gave to evict is true. In some cases, the landlord's story may not hold up during questioning at a Landlord and Tenant Board hearing. If the landlord proves their case, the Board still has the power to delay or refuse an eviction. If a tenant feels they are being evicted unfairly, they can file Form T5 - Landlord gave notice of eviction on bad faith.

For more information on the Landlord and Tenant Board, click here.

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