IT’S FRIDAY THE 13th: SO MORE CHANGES FROM THE LANDLORD TENANT BOARD!

November 2020

The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has amended some of its Rules of Procedure and Guidelines in order to ensure consistency with Bill 184 and some COVID-19 changes. In addition the LTB has changed/added some “Practice Directions” in an effort to ensure that those appearing before it have a full opportunity to present their case effectively. The amended Rules are effective December 1, 2020 and as such, prudent landlords should ensure they are fully versed with the amended Rules by that date. Here is a link to the changes.

The LTB Rules require compliance (other than in exceptional circumstances) and where you fail to comply, you risk having your case delayed or dismissed. If you are a landlord and plan to appear at the Board, you had better know the Rules as well as you know the legislation. If you are a Licensee of the Law Society, a failure to follow the Rules can result in a negligence claim. 

One of the most significant changes to the Rules is found in Rule 4 which governs the filing of materials, including e-filing of applications. On Dec. 1, the email address for e-filing will change (see Rule 4.2) so landlords and Licensees who e-file need to check carefully the following link:

https://tribunalsontario.ca/documents/ltb/Rules/LTB%20Rules%20of%20Practice_dec2020.html

The LTB Guidelines provide a “non-binding roadmap” to the LTB interpretation of statutory provisions and in our view an understanding of them is essential to effective LTB advocacy. One of the questionable additions to the Guidelines is in Guideline 7 which deals with factors relevant to the LTB Member’s exercise of discretion to grant or withhold termination of the tenancy and eviction of the tenant. Section 83 of the RTA was amended to add s. 83 (6) which makes it mandatory for an LTB Member to consider whether a landlord has attempted to negotiate an arrears repayment plan with tenants whose arrears accumulated after the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown. Many landlords did just that beginning in March and April of this year but some tenants refused to negotiate and instead withheld all rent payments. Guideline 7 suggests that details of arrears negotiations should not be disclosed: the landlord should only say whether it attempted to negotiate. In our view that statement is incorrect. If a landlord made good faith proposals to negotiate and the tenant outright rejected it, then in our view under s. 83 (6) that should be grounds to support eviction; however, if the landlord made bad faith efforts to negotiate then that should be a factor in refusing or delaying eviction. The Guideline suggestion that no details about the negotiation should be provided makes no sense in the context of s. 83 (6) and a corresponding exercise of discretion by the LTB.

The LTB Practice Direction gives guidance to parties relative to Case Management Hearings (CMH) which are becoming a key component of the procedures at the LTB for expeditious disposition of applications. A skilled advocate can use the CMH to either resolve an application or at least narrow the issues and evidence required at a hearing of the issues. Again, knowledge of, and compliance with, Practice Directions is essential to advocacy at the LTB. You only have a few weeks to get up to speed with the changes so good luck and happy reading

Author

Joe's main areas of practice include residential tenancies, municipal planning and zoning, expropriations, and property tax assessment appeals. Joe has a wealth of litigation experience before a variety of boards, tribunals, and appellate courts. He is author of "A Practical Guide to the Tenant Protection Act". More →