“My recent experience sitting as a single judge of this Court to hear motions has convinced me that there is a growing practice by unscrupulous residential tenants to manipulate the law improperly, and often dishonestly, to enable them to remain in their rented premises for long periods of time without having to pay rent to their landlords. It is this practice that imposes an unfair hardship on landlords and reflects badly on the civil justice system in Ontario. It calls for the Government, the Landlord and Tenant Board and this Court to respond.”

Justice Ted Matlow
August 3, 2012 – D’Amico v. Hitti

Link to full text of order http://canlii.ca/en/on/onscdc/doc/2012/2012onsc4467/2012onsc4467.html

Why do we need this change?

The law needs to be changed to balance the playing field and prevent it from being improperly manipulated.S-210_lowres

Section 210 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, (RTA) gives all tenants an automatic right to appeal decisions of the Landlord and Tenant Board to the Divisional Court on questions of law. According to subsection 25(1) of the Statutory Powers and Procedure Actand Rule 63 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, any provision of the Landlord and Tenant Board order that requires payment of money and/or evicts a person is stayed until the appeal is addressed.

When an order is stayed the tenant remains on the premises and is not required to pay the rent owing or the rent that becomes due.

Landlord’s Self-Help Centre believes that changing the rules for appeal will have a positive impact on all Ontario landlords and provide a mechanism to eliminate the abuse of the automatic right of appeal.

Obtaining an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board for termination of the tenancy and payment of rent arrears does not necessarily signal the end the case. Every Ontario landlord faces the risk of their tenant defaulting in rent payment and eventually filing an appeal to prolong the time they can stay in the rental unit without paying rent.

The appeal process is expensive, requires the representation of a lawyer and will generally take any where from several weeks to several months before the appeal is heard – during this time the tenant remains in the unit without paying rent.

A solution to eliminate the inappropriate use of the appeal process would be to simply change the rules. LSHC proposes that the party appealing the decision made under the RTA in which the payment of rent and/or eviction of a person for non-payment of rent is ordered, be required to obtain leave of the Divisional Court to appeal.

What is leave to appeal? Leave to appeal is simply obtaining the court’s permission to appeal. When leave is required, the person appealing must seek and obtain leave before bringing an appeal.

We need your support to lobby for change to Balance the playing field – end the rent games!

What has be done to lobby for the change?

Landlord’s Self-Help Centre has created an online petition to gather support for the lobby to change the law. The petition can be found at – http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/residential-tenancies-act-s-210.html. To date, we have the support of more than 1,000 people through petition signatures gathered both on and off line.

Landlord’s Self-Help Centre has written to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister Bob Chiarelli and Minister Linda Jeffrey, proposing an amendment to Section 210 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, which would require an appellant to first obtain leave to appeal. This means that before an appeal could proceed the person filing the appeal, tenant or landlord, must first have the reason(s) for appeal reviewed by a judge to determine whether there is merit before the appeal may move forward.

Call to Action

What can you do to support the campaign to balance the playing field?

  • Sign the online petition
  • Contact your MPP and/or
  • Contact the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Tell a friend

Online Petition: Sign the petition – http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/residential-tenancies-act-s-210.htmlor print a hard copy of the petition, collect signatures and mail it to us:

Landlord’s Self-Help Centre
15th Floor – 55 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2H7

Contact your MPP: Discuss the need for change to end the inappropriate use of the law with your MPP. Contact information for Ontario MPPs: http://ontla.on.ca/web/members/member_addresses.doAddType=QP&locale=en

Contact the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: Let the Minister know we need changes to theResidential Tenancies Act to address provisions which allow the law to be manipulated and allow the tenant to live rent free for months while under appeal.

By phone: General Inquiry 416-585-7041 TTY (for hearing impaired): 416-585-6991 or 1-866-220-2290

By email: minister.mah@ontario.ca

By fax: 416-585-6470

By mail: Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

777 Bay Street, 17th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2E5

Media: Below are links to a variety media coverage on this issue:

  • Law Times – Focus: Judge calls for change to rules around rental disputes