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Your defence to an eviction notice

Your home is your sanctuary, so if you’ve received an eviction notice, it can turn your world upside down.

In most cases it’s not a complete surprise, as there’s a warning that happens prior to receiving an eviction notice. If the landlord has received noise complaints, for example, the usual process is to first notify you in writing and give you the opportunity to address the issue and make changes.

Reasons for eviction

Common reasons for receiving a notice include failure to pay rent, willful damage to the property, and having too many people living in a unit.

According to Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act, the landlord does not have the right to evict you if you are in violation of a “No pets” agreement. However, if you have a dog that is barking all the time and disturbing other tenants, that would infringe on their rights and could be grounds for eviction.


Steps to eviction

In order to evict, the landlord needs to give written notice with the date and reason why. If you don’t want to move, try contacting a Community Legal Clinic for advice. Most Community Legal Clinics provide free legal help on tenant issues for people with low incomes.

Only the police can evict you, not the landlord. The landlord has to apply for an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, and a hearing will be scheduled.

The hearing gives you an opportunity to tell your side of the story. It’s helpful if you bring documents, photos and witnesses that can help support your case.

Landlord Tenant Law

Stopping an eviction

An eviction notice isn’t always final. If you are behind in your rent, pay what you owe or contact the landlord to set up a payment plan. When you’ve received an eviction notice, it’s more important than ever that you get a receipt for any payments made.

If you cannot make your rent payment without assistance, programs like the Toronto Rent Bank may be able to help. Eligible households facing eviction can receive a one-time interest-free loan for overdue rent.

As a tenant, be proactive to mitigate the chances of receiving an eviction notice. If you’re ever going to be late with paying the rent, contact your landlord right away to explain the situation and let them know when they can expect it.

Read over your lease or rental agreement and make every effort to follow the rules. You want to have a good relationship with your landlord so that you can use them for a reference for a future rental.

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