Many of you are anxiously
awaiting the end of the current moratorium on evictions and the end of the
bureaucratic paralysis at the LTB so that major arrears applications can
finally be processed in the wake of COVID-19.  Here is our best
information at this time as to when the new normal at the LTB might begin.

The Executive Chair of
Tribunals Ontario has advised that there will not be any in-person hearings at
the LTB before September.  He also indicated that after the Emergency
Order is lifted (whether that’s July 22 as currently planned or some other date
in July), the Board will then start scheduling eviction hearings and
“clear the backlog”.  Since the lifting of the Emergency Order
will, in any event, be effective July 31, it means that enforcement of pending
eviction orders (those obtained before March 17 when the Emergency Order first
issued) will, for all practical purposes, begin August 4, 2020.  At that
time you may ask the Sheriff to enforce those orders currently in the queue
(about 2400 in the Province right now).

In addition, it won’t be
until August 4th that they even start processing the eviction
applications and getting notices of hearing prepared and sent out, which means
that it will be the middle of August, at best, before the first standard
eviction hearing occurs.  Tribunal Ontario is expecting (as they should
be) a surge in applications after the Emergency Order is lifted.

Tribunals Ontario also
expects to have a full complement of adjudicators at the Board come September,
so they will hopefully be prepared to handle the demand and keep things
moving. We are advised they will be using Microsoft Teams for the hearings
and mediations because of the break-out feature on that platform and there will
be an emphasis going forward on video hearings rather than via phone.
There is a video-conference pilot project scheduled to begin in August (not
sure exactly what that entails), but stay tuned.

As many of you know,
Bill 184 is nearing the end of the legislative process. Contrary to media
reports and deliberate misrepresentations of some tenant advocacy groups, Bill
184 does not allow for easy evictions of tenants.  Instead, what it does
is set up an alternative to mediation when settling arrears and eviction
applications.  Right now, if you mediate a settlement, the settlement
usually includes a s. 78 clause which allows a landlord to file a motion for an
eviction and arrears order if the tenant fails to pay.  Under Bill 184,
instead of waiting for hours for a mediator (followed by months’ long
adjournments because the mediator was unable to get to your file) you will be
able to work out a settlement with the tenant and include a s. 78 clause in the
settlement.  The file will then be shelved by the Board the same way a
mediated settlement is.  Everything else about s.78 clauses remains the
same, including the right of a tenant to move to “set aside” an Order
you get when the tenant breaches the settlement.  We often have
recommended against mediation because professional tenants know they can use it
as an interim step to further drag out proceedings (the set aside motion and
hearing process can take months) and the same will hold true for settlements
under Bill 184.  Bottom line, not much will change when Bill 184 becomes
law but you might get your hearing day over with more quickly if you enter into
settlement agreements.

Tribunals Ontario will be updating the
settlement forms on the website soon to facilitate early resolution options
(which is now being emphasized) and to align with the proposed changes to allow
landlord/tenant settlements under Bill 184.

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