Non-payment of rent by a tenant can cause serious headaches to the small landlord. Below is a guide for landlords on everything you need to know about non-payment of rent in Ontario & termination of tenancy.
When is rent considered late?
Rent is considered late if it’s not paid on the day that it’s due. So for example, if the rent is due on the first day of the month, it would be considered late on the second day.
What should you do as a landlord?
It’s recommended to start the process of issuing an N4 (Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent) to the tenant as soon as possible.
What is an N4 notice?
An N4 notice is a notice to end a tenancy early for non-payment of rent. A few important notes about the N4:
- Only you (the landlord) or your legal representative can serve the N4 notice.
- Gives the tenant 14 days to either pay the full amount owing or move out by the termination date.
- The tenant can ignore the notice and wait until you file with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB)
- Ensure that there are no errors on the N4 notice, otherwise, the LTB Tribunal may deem the notice invalid.
Names on the notice
- Include names of those that are on the lease agreement.
- If your tenant uses a nickname, include their nickname and legal name on the N4 notice.
- If there is a joint tenancy (2 or more tenants), include the names of all tenants.
- Include full names of all of the landlords.
- Occupants are not required to be on the notice.
- Include the FULL address of the rental unit and if required also include the level and unit number.
If you make a mistake on any of these the LTB Tribunal may ask you to start the process over.
- Only you (the landlord) or your legal representative can sign and serve the N4.
- If there are multiple landlords, only one of you needs to sign the notice.
- The date next to the signature is the date that the notice will be given to the tenant.
- If there are multiple tenants, they all need a copy of the N4.
Other important notes
- You can only list rent arrears on the N4 given to the tenants.
- You cannot claim unpaid utilities on the N4
- If you have already served the tenant with an N4 notice and another month becomes past due, do not serve them with another one unless the money owed on the last month has been paid.
- You can file the N4 with the LTB by way of an L1 application to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent as early as the day after the termination date on the N4.
- If you don’t file the N4 within 30 days of the termination date, the N4 becomes void.
- The current (as of December 2021) average amount of time to receive a hearing is 9-12 months.
How you can serve notice to your tenants
- Handing it to the tenant in person.
- Handing it to another adult in the rental unit.
- Placing it in the mailbox.
- Sliding it under the door.
- Faxing it to the tenant.
- Registered mail or courier.
If you are using mail, registered mail, or courier, you must add 5 days to the termination date.
The hearing with the LTB
- As of August 2021, the LTB is holding video and telephone hearings.
- Anyone can attend, either as a party to a notice of hearing or as an observer.
- You or your legal representative must attend the hearing, otherwise, the hearing will go on without you.
- The LTB encourages landlords and tenants to work together on a repayment plan.
Once the process with the LTB has run its course, you will have an eviction notice in place. Here’s what will happen on the date of the eviction.
- The sheriff will arrive to evict the tenant.
- The sheriff will post a notice of vacant possession to the door.
- They will grant you vacant possession and the door locks will be changed.
- You must provide the tenant access to the property for 72 hours in order for the tenant to remove their belongings.
- After the 72 hour period, the landlord can dispose of, sell or keep anything that’s left on the property.
Enforcement of collection of arrears
In addition to an eviction, the LTB may enforce the collection of arrears rent by:
- Garnishment of wages (if the tenant is employed)
- Garnishment of bank account (if you have the tenants banking information)