An update on the different resources available for tenants and landlords in Ontario along with Landlord & tenant FAQ’s during COVID-19.
- Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is currently not an essential service and it’s closed until further notice.
- The LTB is suspending the issuance of eviction orders and all hearings related to eviction applications — unless the matter relates to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious impairment of safety. For more information, please see the news release.
- Any rent relief or mortgage deferral will be in the form of a loan.
- Tenants are still required to pay rent while an eviction is not being enforced. If they can’t pay due to the pandemic, the government asks landlords and tenants to work together to come up with an alternative arrangement.
- Tenants may be eligible for financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to cover the costs of basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, through the Ontario Works program.
Landlord & tenant FAQ’s
As a landlord, what are my options if the tenant tells me they can’t pay their rent?
Currently, you cannot evict your tenant for non-payment of rent. However, as a landlord, there are a number of options.
- You can give the tenant an N4 notice (Notice to End your Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent) It’s not enforceable now but it’s good to have a paper trail.
- Negotiate a rent reduction during the pandemic with the rest deferred later. Make sure to have this in writing. Seek legal advice to ensure that you are not actually lowering the legal monthly rent.
As a tenant can I refuse showings to prospective buyers or sellers during the pandemic?
I think everyone would agree that given the current circumstances it would be a reasonable request by the tenant. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms supersedes the Residential Tenancies Act if you can prove that by allowing showings you would be at risk. If you are over the age of 65, disabled or have serious underlying health issues you would have a strong case. Currently, there is no direction by the Government of Ontario in this regard so it is a gray area. I would recommend you seek independent legal advice.
I received a notice of rent increase from my landlord, can they still do that?
In short, yes. The Government of Ontario has not implemented a rent freeze at the moment and landlords can increase the rent as long as they follow legal rent increase guidelines.
Can I defer my mortgage payments on investment properties?
Most lenders will defer mortgage payments on investment properties on a case by case basis. The best thing to do is to contact your lender and discuss the details with them. Your credit score won’t be affected unless the lender makes a mistake in registering the defferal, in which case it would show up on your credit report as a missed payment.
As a landlord, can I refuse to do maintenance while the state of emergency is in effect?
There are no changes to this when it comes to the COVID-19. The landlord is responsible for maintenance of the property and common elements (if there are any). If the landlord can’t or won’t fix it themselves they can hire a professional, most of which are still considered as essential services.
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