What to do if your tenant damaged your property

Every landlord wants his or her property to remain in good condition throughout the tenancy. From this point of view, the tenant’s obligation to not damage the rental unit is of the same importance paying rent.  The Residential Tenancies Act sets out that a tenant can be evicted in case he or she has damaged a rental unit. At the same time, the Residential Tenancies Act regulates when and how a tenant can be evicted based on this ground.

The kind of damages you can evict the tenant for

First of all, you can’t evict your tenant for any damage. The damage must be excessive. A tenant can’t be evicted for normal wear and tear. For example, the landlord probably can’t blame the tenant for a crack in a 25 year old kitchen counter. However, if the tenant has a heated argument with his/her spouse and broke the window glass to reinforce his/her position, the landlord may react accordingly.

What to do when you find out your tenant damaged your property

If the landlord discovers excessive damage to the rental unit, s/he should give the tenant the appropriate eviction notice. This notice of termination must include a precise description of the damage and request the tenant to fix or replace the damaged property. The eviction notice give the tenant at least 20 days to comply or vacate the premises. If the tenant complies, the matter is over. If s/he does not, s/he can be evicted.

If your tenant damages your property again

 If within 6 months after the first notice the tenant damages the landlord’s property again, he/she can be evicted based on 14 days notice without a request to fix, repair or pay for the damaged property.

Next steps: if the tenant doesn’t move out or comply with the eviction notice

If the tenant did not comply with the request of the landlord set on the notice or he/she served with second notice of termination for the same reason within 6 months, and he/she did not vacate the rental unit, the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Rental Board for an order to evict the tenant. In the same application that requests an eviction order, the landlord can also request the Board to issue an order to pay for repair or replacement of the damaged property.

The eviction hearing

Once the eviction application is received, the Landlord and Tenant Board will schedule a hearing day and issue a notice of hearing. The hearing of an application to evict for causing damages may be relatively complex. The landlord must prove:

  • That the rental unit was willfully or negligently damaged by the tenant, a member of his/her family or his/her guest,
  • The exact damage that was done, and
  • The cost or repair and replacement of the damages.

In many cases proving all these points may be difficult, especially if the tenant claims that the damage was caused by the landlord’s own negligence or lack of maintenance, or argues that the cost of repair or replacement is not reasonable.

Given the many elements of the case that the landlord must prove to get an eviction and compensation order, it is wise to obtain the help of a legal professional from the beginning. A paralegal with experience in landlord – tenant and eviction matters will help make sure that the required proof of damages and the cost of their repair and replacement is properly collected and preserved. As always, a paralegal can help you properly complete all eviction notices and applications, and ensure all legal requirements are met.

For a free assessment of your Toronto or GTA eviction case, please feel free to contact us.

For other major reasons to evict your tenant, see below: 

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