Mass Evictions: Are the recent Changes to the Laws Governing Residential Landlord and Tenant Matters to be Blamed?
One such section pertains to mediation or other dispute resolution process. Section 194 (1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, was repealed and replaced to provide
that the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) may attempt to settle through mediation or another dispute resolution process any matter that is the subject of an application or agreed upon by the parties.
The contentious change here is that the LTB may now settle a matter that was never brought before it through an application but was simply an agreement between a landlord and a tenant. This
essentially means that during the COVID-19 pandemic where there have been a significant number of payment arrangements between landlords and Tenants, the matter may be disposed of without a
hearing where there is a breach of this agreement.
Both tenants and landlords will need to pay very close attention to all the recent legislative changes and seek help to grasp the correct understanding of these changes and how
it affects them. Apart from the change mentioned above two other notable changes are: 1. Compensation for Tenants pertaining to “no fault” evictions – Landlords will now need to compensate tenants or
provide another unit, where a purchaser requires the unit, the unit is being renovated or demolished, even where there are less than five units at the residential complex. There are currently new N13
and N12 forms to correspond with the new changes; and 2. Compensation for Tenants pertaining to “bad faith” evictions – Where there has been a determination that a lease was terminated by a landlord
in bad faith under the corresponding sections of the RTA, the LTB now has the power to make an order requiring the landlord to pay a specified sum to a former tenant as general compensation in an
amount not exceeding the equivalent of 12 months of the last rent charged to the former tenant.
Some changes not yet in force pertain to matters such as applications by landlords for compensation for failure to pay utility costs, new requirements pertaining to the filing of
affidavits by landlord for certain termination related applications and a requirement for the landlords to disclose any previous notices of termination for certain applications.
An examination of all the recent changes in the law does indeed indicate that the process for certain eviction related matters will become easier. What is clear is that there
has been a hold on evictions for several months and these applications which have been placed on hold will now have to be dealt with by a tribunal that has suffered from backlog and inefficiency for
months prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.