RTA changes as of Sept 1 - especially no-fault terminations
Various amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) will take effect on September 1, 2021. Landlords should plan now to adapt to the changes.
This e-Newsletter addresses conduct-based applications, and no-fault terminations for renovations, demolitions or personal use. Watch for EOLO's e-Newsletter next week on claims against former tenants, and claims for unpaid utilities.
Conduct based applications
A new L2 application form is to be required for all conduct-based grounds for terminating a tenancy and evicting a tenant (e.g., persistent late payment of rent, illegal acts, impaired safety). If a landlord uses the old L2 form on or after October 1 to apply for termination and eviction on conduct-based grounds, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) could reject the application for failure to use the correct form.
Termination for renovations, demolitions or personal use
Major changes to the RTA will affect the processing of N12 and N13 notices. On and after September 1, if a landlord files an application to terminate for renovations, demolitions, conversions to a non-residential use, or personal or family use, the landlord must include a statement about whether they have previously served an N12 or N13 on a tenant for any of their rental units within two years of filing the application. If that is the case, the landlord will have to include the date any former notice was given, and the address it was given for. If the former notice was given for personal or family use, the name(s) of the person(s) who were to move in are also to be stated. The LTB is to refuse to accept the filing of an application which does not include that information (section 71.1).
Before the hearing of an application for renovations, a landlord is also to provide tenants and the LTB with any applicable building permits, although they would want to anyway, to establish the need for a building permit, which has been part of the law for decades.
The LTB is to consider the prior use of these no-fault grounds of termination in determining whether to allow or reject the current application. Tenants will be better able to defend claims by landlords who use personal or family use often, but do not follow through with genuine personal or family use.
Similar issues will apply if a landlord has terminated tenancies for major renovations or demolition. If another building slated for demolition has not been demolished, but rather has been re-rented at a higher rent, then a current application for termination to allow the demolition of another building may well not be granted. On the other hand, if a landlord has a history of following through with major renovations or demolitions, then the new requirements should not be a significant barrier.
If the LTB believes the landlord used the N12 and N13 forms wrongly, or “too often”, during the two-year period before the current application, the LTB could find that the current application has been made in bad faith, and dismiss it. Being prepared with evidence of good faith will help to improve the chances of having the current application approved.
Tenant remedies have been enhanced in the situations where a tenant has vacated a rental unit in response to an N12 or N13 notice given in bad faith. In tenant applications filed on or after September 1, the LTB can award a former tenant an amount up to 12 months of the last rent charged, as well as the current possible remedies, which include compensation for all or any portion of the increased rent the tenant is paying, and reasonable out-of-pocket moving, storage, and other similar expenses.
As well, if a landlord fails to provide a tenant the right of first refusal (which the tenant has duly claimed), then the tenant can apply for a remedy for up to two years after the bad faith termination. Tenants can apply even if a previous application was dismissed for having been filed beyond the existing one-year limitation period.
Those changes have been made to respond to the accusations of tenant advocates that landlords use false claims to evict tenants. Landlords with valid claims should not fear being prevented from gaining possession, but everyone must use the new forms and comply with the new procedures.
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