How to evict a tenant when you need the rental property for yourself

Landlords we encounter are often surprised at the complexity of the process of evicting a tenant when circumstances change and they decide that they need the rental property for use by themselves or a close family member. Although the process is onerous, it makes legal sense: although the landlord retains ultimate ownership of the property, the landlord’s rights with respect to it are curtailed in favour of the tenant in exchange for a rental profit. Unless the tenant agrees to move out, it is not possible to simply evict him or her when the property is needed for other reasons, without going through the process set out in the Residential Tenancies Act and receiving an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. The conditions for receiving such an order are set out in the Act, and some are described below.

Tenant Eviction Notice

 The first step is a 60 days eviction notice that must be given to the tenant. This is a technical matter, as the landlord must observe the various requirements for length of rental period for which the notice is given, as well as remember that if there is a rental agreement made for certain term, such as a year, the landlord cannot evict the tenant before the agreement expires.

Tenant Eviction Application

 After the notice is given, the landlord can file an application to evict the tenant with the Landlord and Tenant Board immediately. In other words, the landlord does not have to wait before the eviction notice expires. The application can be heard on the first available day. In Toronto, eviction hearings are typically scheduled for some time two to five weeks from the date of application. An important thing to note here is that the Board’s overall concern with this cause of eviction is that it is done in good faith. It must be shown that the landlord really does need the property, rather than simply using this as an excuse to get the tenant to leave. To this end, one of the requirements of the eviction application process is that the landlord must attach a sworn affidavit to the application detailing the exact reasons for eviction.

Tenant Eviction Hearing

The hearing is the most important part of the entire procedure. The Landlord and Tenant Board does not grant order to evict a tenant automatically. There are certain points, which must be proven, reinforcing the overarching concern of the landlord’s good faith in beginning the eviction process. The most important point to prove is that the landlord, the landlord’s children or parents are actually going to move and permanently live in the apartment or house vacated by the tenant: the affidavit that would have been attached to the application is not enough to secure an eviction order. Documentary evidence that supports the landlord’s reason for needing the property, as well as witness testimony from the landlord and/or the family member who will be living there should be presented, as this is important evidence of the landlord’s good faith.

There is no checklist of accepted reasons why the landlord may justifiably need the property, but some examples of situations when the Landlord and Tenant Board does grant an eviction are:

  • When the landlord was away and returned to the country;
  • When the landlord moves because of change of employment;
  • When the landlord decides to sell another property where they lived before

Selling a tenanted property

Another situation where an eviction order may be granted because the landlord needs the property to be vacated is when a current landlord sells the rented apartment or house, and the tenants need to move out so the buyer could live there. In such cases, the rules for eviction prescribed in the Act are very similar to the above. The real key difference is that the affidavit to be attached to the application must be given by the buyer, not the landlord. At the hearing, additional evidence that would be accepted is the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and other documents related to the property sale. Evidence of the buyer’s current living situation can also be useful.

If circumstances change and you find that you need to evict your tenant because you or a family member requires the rental property, eviction is certainly possible with due process. If you find yourself in such a situation, feel free to contact us today for a free assessment of your case!

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From Loghman, Toronto

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