The Landlord’s Basics of an Eviction Notice

There are many reasons why a landlord may want to evict the tenant. There may be issues with the tenancy or the landlord-tenant relationship, such as unpaid rent. In other cases, tenant eviction is initiated for non-adversarial reasons, such as the sale or major renovation of the rental property. In either case, if the landlord wants to evict the tenant, the Residential Tenancies Act requires the landlord to give the tenant an eviction notice before any further steps to evict the tenant are taken. Although eviction notices (otherwise known as notices of termination) differ based on the reason for eviction, below are some important basics to be aware of no matter why the landlord is looking to evict.

When an eviction notice is required

An eviction notice is required by law only in cases where there is no agreement between landlord and tenant about termination of the tenancy. If a landlord wants the tenant to move out and the tenant agrees, an agreement to end the tenancy is a more appropriate document than the eviction notice. If either party does not follow its terms, the agreement can be enforced by way of application to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Why an eviction notice is needed

An eviction notice does not, by itself, secure the eviction of the tenant.It is a document which a landlord must give the tenant before an eviction application is filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board. In practical terms, this means that the tenant can move out based on the eviction notice, but is not under obligation to do so. If the tenant does not move out after the notice, an application to get an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board should be filed. In most cases, the Board will not accept an application to evict the tenant without a copy of the eviction notice and proof that it has been properly served on (given to) the tenant.

Form of eviction notice

The eviction notice must be in proper form. For example, if a notice is provided because thetenant has not paid his or her rent, Form N4 must be used. Other eviction causes require different forms of notice. Giving the wrong notice may prevent the landlord from filing for eviction with the Landlord and Tenant Board, or cause the eviction application to be dismissed at the eviction hearing.

Time to move out

Each ground for eviction requires that the landlord give the tenant a different amount of time to move out or rectify the issue. For example, an eviction notice for non-payment of rent must give the tenant 14 days to either pay the rent in full or move out. Other grounds of evictionmay prescribe shorter or longer time periods. Properly indicating the time within which the tenant is required to vacate the rental property is crucial. The Landlord and Tenant Board exercises a very formal approach to this issue: an unintentional one day mistake on the notice will lead to dismissal of the eviction application, which will mean that the entire eviction process must start over again.

Serving the eviction notice

The eviction notice must be properly served. Typically, an effective way to serve an eviction notice it is to give the notice to the tenant personally or slide it under the door of the rental unit. This way of service allows to avoid any allegations that the notice was lost by the post office or that the tenant, for whatever reason, did not have access to his or her mail box.

If you are a landlord seeking to evict a tenant, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free assessment of your case – we help with each step of the eviction, from grounding an appropriate cause, to preparing the eviction documents, to hearing.

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