This could be reason to serve an N5 notice to end the tenancy early. If notice is served for this reason, and the issues in the notice are corrected by the tenant, then the tenant can stay, if not, then the landlord may apply for an eviction hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board, and try to prove their case for eviction.
For damages and clean-up costs, you would need to first get written estimates from reputable companies or contractors. Proper 24 hours’ written notice to enter must be given in order to enter to do a maintenance inspection, or if you are doing work in the unit.
You can find the notice to terminate for damages and instructions on the Landlord and Tenant Board website, here – http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
You can also find a very good overview of how this procedure works in the Town Hall section of our website, here: http://landlordselfhelp.com/media/2016/01/TownHall_N5_public.pdf
My tenants did serious damages to the house during their 8-year tenancy, including breaking holes in the walls. How can I paint the unit, so that it is more presentable for showings, while the tenants are still there?
You cannot really do maintenance work as involved as painting so close to the end of the tenancy, so you will have to wait until the property is empty before cleaning thoroughly and painting it.
During the tenancy, you would have had many opportunities to do a maintenance inspection and raise the problems that you discovered at those times. It may or may not be worth filing for the damages at the Landlord and Tenant Board before they leave, using an L2 application, but again, there is no guarantee that you can collect even if you are successful. The form and instructions are available here: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
My tenant has caused some damages in their rental unit. Can I quote the damages myself, or do I have to hire a third party to do so?
Although you can certainly provide your own detailed estimate as part of your evidence, it is advisable to get at least one other quote from a reputable and competent tradesperson or company.
Can I still serve an N5 notice to a tenant for damage if the tenant claims they don’t know how the damage actually occurred?
Yes, you can still serve an N5 for damage in this situation. It can be given where you can show that the tenant wilfully or negligently did the damage. If they are claiming it is ordinary “wear and tear”, you will have to be prepared to show how this is not the case.
If you have a move-in inspection report or pictures of before they moved in, this will be relatively easy. If you do not, then it is your word against theirs.
Keep copies of correspondence between you, and copies of your notices to enter in case they are required at a hearing regarding this matter in the future.
Despite having extensive photographic and video evidence at my hearing of the extensive damage caused by my tenants, I don’t think the adjudicator will rule in my favour. What can I do?
Unfortunately, if you have not received the written order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, it is too early to try to analyze the results of the hearing. Once the written order is received, with the reasons attached, there will be a better sense of where your case’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
Generally speaking, it is much harder to get termination on an N7 than it is on an N5, as the Landlord and Tenant Board sets the evidence bar very high for applications where tenants are not being given an opportunity to stay in the rental unit by correcting their behaviour. It is also much harder to prove deliberate or wilful damage (N7) than it is to prove wilful or negligent damage (N5).
Finally, relying heavily on photo or video evidence is not a great strategy, as the Board would prefer eyewitness evidence from other tenants in the building who were affected by the behaviour.
The Residential Tenancies Act does not specifically address this issue. There is no sure way of preventing tenants from installing a washer and dryer in their unit. You can include a clause in the tenancy agreement that states the tenant is not allowed to install these appliances in their unit. However, if they install them anyway and damage is caused, electrical problems occur or the noise from the washer and dryer interferes with other tenants THEN you can issue a notice to terminate the tenancy using Form N5. This notice gives the tenant seven days to correct the problem. If the tenants do not comply with the notice the landlord can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a hearing.
We have a tenant that left the unit. Our property management team found damaged estimated to be $1,900+ when they inspected the unit. Can we try and claim this from the tenant? Is there any action we can take against the property management?
Since the tenant is no longer in possession of the rental unit, your recourse is to file a claim in Small Claims Court. However, in order to take action you must be able to serve the claim, you’ll need to have the tenant’s new residential address.
We cannot advise on whether you can take action against the property management company, as we can only advise on the landlord and tenant issues. You might have to speak to a lawyer or paralegal about this issue, as it would probably come under contract law.
The tenants painted unit without consent, they did a bad job of it and used horrible bright colours. Can we ask they repaint?
A poor paint job may be considered damage to the rental unit. You can ask tenants to repaint the rental unit before they leave as it was done improperly and without your consent. If they do not comply and vacate the rental unit without repainting you can bring an action against them in Small Claims Court for the costs you incurred repainting the unit.
The tenants damaged the toilet tank and the main entrance door, what can I do if the tenants do not repair the damages? How can I take legal action?
When the tenants have caused damage to the property and refuse to repair it, you can serve them with a Form N5 which is the legal notice based on damages. It’s a 20 day notice which allows the tenant to correct the problem within the first seven days and if not then you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board. This form can be downloaded from the Board’s website at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
The tenants are moving out but have been leaving the lights and fans on and the water running, what can I do?
If the tenants are already moving out your options are limited to rectify this situation. You could try writing them a letter stating your concerns about the possibility of damage and about the safety of other occupants of the house as well as the increased consumption of hydro, but that would be all you could do for the time being. Once they have moved out and you discover any damages, you may pursue an action against the tenants in Small Claims Court.
The tenant vacated leaving damages which cost $5000 to repair. What’s the best way to recover the money I’ve spent?
Since the tenants have already moved out, the only recourse you have is to sue them in Small Claims Court for the damages. However, in order to file a claim in Small Claims Court you will have to find out their new residential address to be able to serve them with the claim. Here is a link to information on the Small Claims Court process, http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/scc/
The tenant vacated at the end of a one year lease and left the unit extremely dirty. There is no structural damage but it appears he didn’t clean the place once for the entire lease. Is there any other way to recover the cost of cleaning?
To recover the cost of cleaning from the tenant you would have to file a claim in Small Claims Court. The filing fee is $95.00. If you want to pursue this you will need to have the tenant’s new address where he/she can be served with the claim. For more information on the Small Claims Court process please visit: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/guides/Guide_to_Making_a_Claim_EN.html
In this case you may have to serve your tenant with a notice based on damages which is Form N5. You will have to find out the cost of repairing the damage before giving this notice. Once you serve the notice the tenant will have seven days to correct the problem otherwise you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order to evict and compensation for the damages. You can obtain this form on the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
On inspection of rental unit I found a structure built without consent and damage. There is no written lease agreement, what can I do?
The Residential Tenancies Act applies to the landlord-tenant relationship regardless of whether or not the rental agreement is in writing. You should send the tenant a letter outlining the issues that you mentioned and request that it be corrected. If they do not comply you may serve them with a Form N5 Notice to Terminate a Tenancy for damaging the rental unit. This form can be obtained from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
Tenants are responsible for any damage they cause either wilfully or through negligence. The problem that landlords face though is being able to prove that the damage was caused wilfully or through negligence. If you can prove that they have caused the problem then you can request that they repair or pay for the cost of the damages.
My tenant signed an agreement to take out and maintain fire, theft, liability and water damage insurance. She let her kitchen sink overflow and it caused a lot of damage to the apartment below. She never got insurance, what can we do?
There is usually no recourse for a landlord when a tenant does not obtain their own insurance even when it’s stated in the tenancy agreement. In your situation, you might have to claim it on your own insurance and ask the tenant to at least pay for the deductible since it seems she caused the problem. If she refuses to pay for anything then one of the options you have is to serve her a Form N5 based on the reason that she has caused damage to the property and is liable to pay for the repair costs, or in this case, your deductible. If she has caused other damages, they can also be included on the N5. I’m not sure if this is the way you want to proceed, but if so, you can obtain the form from the Landlord and Tenant Board’s website at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
My tenant is supposed to look after the lawn but he didn’t and I had to repair it on my own. It cost around $1,600 with materials and labour to repair the damage. How do I prove these amounts are legitimate? How would I find the tenant after he moves?
If your tenant has already moved out, then your recourse would be to file a claim in Small Claims Court but you do have to obtain the tenant’s new residential address. It’s not easy to track down a tenant, and you may have to hire an agency that provides this service. You can search on line for agencies that will do this; they’re called skip tracing agencies. As for the claim issues, you can try claiming for your own labour costs but it can be difficult to justify the amount you’re claiming. One way that might help is to obtain a quote from a landscaping company on the cost of doing the work, including labour costs. It’s ultimately up to the judge to decide what would be a reasonable amount. I’ve included the link below to the Small Claims Court website for information on the procedures and forms, https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/guides/.
My tenant is leaving at end of the month and has caused damage to the new floors in the unit. What can I do to recover the cost for repair?
You have two choices:
- You may apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board on an L2 application for the damages. You must do this while the tenant is still occupying the unit. Forms are available online at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/
- You may apply to the Small Claims Court AFTER THE TENANT MOVES OUT. Small Claims requires that you know the current residence of the former tenant, so that may be the only drawback to filing your claim there. Forms are at https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/guides/Guideto_Making_a_Claim_EN.html.
In either case, you will have to get at least two estimates for the repair or replacement costs, and since it is better to take photos and take witnesses to verify the damage that you see, it is easier to do this after the tenancy is over.
The tenant has the option of filing an application requesting that the tenancy be terminated and for a rent abatement for the period of time they suffered the loss or reduction of use of the property. Many tenants simply opt to leave and possibly sue at a later date. You cannot stop them from leaving, nor can you rely on the fact that they will vacate when they say they will even if they have received some kind of payment from you. To make it clear that you are taking the obligation to maintain the property seriously, ensure that you are entering the unit properly when doing the repairs. WRITTEN notice is required, at least 24 hours before the time of entry. A 2-3 hours window of entry such as “between 9 and 11 am” can be given and this particular notice can be put on the door.
Since damage deposits are unlawful and since it is an offence (under the RTA a landlord could be fined up to $25,000.00) to charge them I recommend you return that amount, get a receipt and make a full damage claim in Small Claims Court. The issues will be easier to prove with the unit empty anyway.
I came home one morning to find that our tenant had authorized the installation of a satellite dish. She had not asked us about this. We feel she has compromised our insulation. Can she do this? Can we ask her to take it down? What are our rights?
The law does not make any specific references to satellite dishes. However, if the installation of the dish has resulted in damages to your property, you have the right to claim that from the tenant, especially if they did this without your knowledge. If you cannot come to a resolution with the tenants then legally you could serve the tenants with an N5 Form, Notice to Terminate a Tenancy based on the damages, and apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a decision on the issue.
A damage deposit is illegal, you can only ask for the last month’s rent deposit. A landlord cannot require a tenant to provide post-dated cheques. A tenant may choose to pay the rent in that manner or make payments on a monthly basis.