Emergency Legislation Suspends Limitation Periods for RTA Filings

On Friday, March 20, 2020 the Province of Ontario enacted emergency legislation suspending limitation periods for the filing of proceedings under all Provincial statutes, including the RTA. The suspension of deadlines is retroactive to March 16, 2020.

What this means for Multi-res landlords is that deadlines for filing AGIs, Applications to terminate tenancies within 30 days of termination dates set out in Notices of Termination, compliance with statutory filing deadlines for disclosure of documents, are all suspended. The suspension of such deadlines means that at a landlord which has deferred the filing of, for example, an AGI out of concern for the negative backlash it may cause both from a public relations perspective in the media and within a residential complex, will not forever lose the right to file and seek recovery of capital costs incurred at a property.

Note that it will still be necessary to give 90 days’ notice of rent increase on the prescribed form (N1) if you wish to do so. The time limits for giving notices to tenants and for tenants complying with such notices is not suspended, it is the time limits for filing steps in legal proceedings or for initiating legal proceedings which is suspended.

In the past few days, in response to landlord concerns, we had confirmed that if they wish to preserve their right to recover capital costs, the limitation periods prescribed by the RTA require that their application be filed, and at least one Notice of Rent Increase above the Guideline be issued. Landlords who were pressed to file or lose their right to recover capital costs were either proceeding per the RTA or waiving the collection of the increase; alternatively they were considering forgoing entirely the right to recover capital expenditures. The emergency legislation proclaimed overnight by the Province relieves landlords of the requirement to file within limitation periods prescribed by the RTA. While some landlords may still choose to serve AGI Notices of Rent Increase, those who were reluctant to do so but were also concerned about the loss of the right to apply no longer need to be concerned and can defer the filing of the AGI.

It is not known at this time what future legislation will be passed to reinstate time lines or when that will occur, but for now landlords who were torn between filing Notices of Rent Increase for AGIs or deferring them at least have a choice. Note that limitations for Small Claims Court collections and the time for filing LTB applications have been suspended; however, where notices of termination have been issued for conduct offences such as “interference”; impaired safety; illegal acts and so on, landlords are still obliged to proceed to the LTB promptly or risk exposure to liability for failing to act.

As we advised in an earlier bulletin, we are still able to e-file applications and motions at the Board so that landlords can meet their obligations to address such issues; once filed, the Landlord and Tenant Board, not the landlord, will be vested with responsibility for any adverse consequences of delay. With respect to collections in Small Claims, we are also able to e-file and there is no reason to defer filings unless it is concluded that the debtor is judgment proof…no point in throwing good (and now scarce) money after bad.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Joe Hoffer at hoffer@cohenhighley.com or 519-672-9330.

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