In the past, we talked about the process of evicting a tenant who hasn’t paid rent and laid out the basic steps from issuing the notice of termination to obtaining an eviction order at the hearing, and mentioned that the only way to legally evict a tenant is with an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. However, a lot of tenants are not very co-operative. What if your tenant doesn’t move out even after he or she gets the eviction order?
If that’s the case, as a landlord, your next legal avenue is the Sheriff. In present day Ontario, the Sheriff is the person who, among other things, deals with forcibly evicting tenants where an eviction order has been issued. Here’s the process:
- After you are granted an eviction order at the eviction hearing, the Landlord and Tenant Board will mail you or your representative originals of the eviction order. You need these originals to file for eviction through the Sheriff. The Sheriff’s office will not accept copies.
- The eviction order will specify a day by which the tenant has to move out. Usually, this is about ten or fourteen days after the eviction hearing. If your tenant doesn’t move out by that day, you can file for eviction on the day after the date. For example, if the order says that the tenant must move out on or before April 15, you can file the eviction order with the sheriff on April 16. If April 16 is a weekend, you can file for eviction on the first business day after that day.
- Next, take the originals of the eviction order and attend at the Sheriff’s office. In Toronto, the Sheriff is located at 393 University Avenue, 19th Floor, Toronto.
- To apply for eviction with the Sheriff, you will need to:
- Provide the originals of the eviction order.
- Fill out some paperwork describing what could be found in the rental unit, including children, pets, illicit substances, or weapons, so the Sheriff may determine the best way to proceed with the eviction.
- Pay the Sheriff’s fees. The fee varies depending on the rental unit location. In Toronto, it is generally in the neighborhood of $330.00.
- The Sheriff will then schedule a time when you have to call the Sheriff’s office and find out when the actual eviction will take place. This will be in a week or two. Make sure you don’t miss that time, or the eviction could be delayed! The Sheriff’s office will notify the tenant once the eviction date is scheduled.
- On the day scheduled day of the eviction, you or your representative have to be at the rental unit when the Sheriff comes, together with someone who can change the locks. The Sheriff will:
- Knock on the door and ask the tenant to leave.
- If the tenant does not leave of his or her own free will, the Sheriff is authorized to evict the tenant by force. In our practice, this only happened once: the Sheriff has forcibly carried the tenant outside. In extreme situations, the Sheriff may request police backup.
- The Sheriff will then oversee the changing of the locks and make sure that the landlord or its representative is in possession of the new keys. You will sign for the eviction and the Sheriff will leave.
After the eviction, you have to give the evicted tenant access to the premises for three full days to pick up their belongings. If they do not do so, you can dispose of the belongings as you will. Please note also that the fees paid to the Sheriff are non-refundable, even if the tenant moves out voluntarily before the eviction takes place.
Eviction through the Sheriff is the final step in any eviction process. Most of your tenant woes should be over after the locks are changed, though you may still have to work to collect the rent owing. More on that in future posts.
In the meantime, we wish you a life free of legal hassles!