Canadian landlords call for “automatic eviction” rights

Landlords in Ontario, Canada, have launched an online petition calling for the “automatic eviction” for tenants who don’t pay rent.

Landlord Christopher Seepe is behind the petition and admits it is an “extreme position” to take, but noted it was born out of frustration with long delays in the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) hearing applications.

According to Yahoo News, in 2022-2023, the LTB received more than 37,000 L1 applications to evict tenants for not paying rent but only seven per cent of hearings occurred within the target timeframe of 50 or 55 days, depending on the application type.

Hearing times have improved more recently, with 73 per cent scheduled within the target time during the second quarter of the 2023-2024 fiscal year, but Mr Seepe argues there shouldn’t be a need for many cases to go to an LTB hearing at all. 

His petition calls for a system similar to what’s in place in British Columbia (BC), where landlords can get an eviction order without a hearing if the notice is uncontested.

In BC, if a tenant has not paid their rent, a landlord can serve them with a 10 day notice to end the tenancy.

The tenant then has five days to either pay the rent or apply to the province’s Residential Tenancy Branch to dispute the notice.

If the tenant does neither of those things, the landlord can then apply for an order of possession without a hearing.

Mr Seppe said there were now more than 30,000 signatures on his petition, which he has sent to all Ontario Members of Provincial Parliaments.

He is also encouraging all landlords to speak directly with their local MMP.

One landlord who supports the push is Zahid Mahmood.

Mr Mahmood bought a property in Oshawa in 2021, believing the rental income would help him and his wife pay for post-secondary education for their three children.

But just a year into their tenancy, their tenants stopped paying rent. 

Last month, when he walked into the home, he found piles of rubbish, bottles of urine, rodents and dog faeces covering the property.

Screen Shot 2024 03 25 at 7.32.13 pm
The state of Zahid Mahmood’s investment property after tenants were evicted for not paying rent. Photos: Zahid Mahmood.

He had issued the tenants with an eviction notice in August last year, but waited months for a hearing with the LTB, before they issued an order to terminate the tenancy last month.

The tenants still owe more than $24,000.

“Going through all this [caused] stress and mental torture and financial crisis as we had to pay the mortgage during this whole 10 month period,” Mr Mahmood told Yahoo News.

Lawyer and tenant advocate Robert Patterson, with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, said the system could lead to speedy evictions, but landlords could also take advantage of the situation.

He said he hears regularly from tenants who say their landlord lied about giving them notice before applying for an order of possession.

“I think whenever we talk about accelerating eviction timelines and making it easier to evict, we always have to keep in mind that the flip of that is that tenants are more vulnerable in their homes,” Mr Patterson said.

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