Your first stop for self-help is a review of our FAQs. Take a look at the ever increasing collection of questions asked by Ontario’s small-scale landlords as well as the actual answers provided by Landlord’s Self-Help Centre.
If a landlord fails to allow the tenant access to their belongings during the 72-hour period following the eviction by the sheriff’s department, the Board may do one or more of the following: 1. Order that the landlord not breach the obligation again; 2. Order that the landlord return the former tenant’s property that is in the possession of the landlord; 3. Order that the landlord pay a specified sum to the former tenant for, a. The reasonable costs that the former tenant has incurred or will incur in repairing or replacing the former tenant’s property that was damaged, destroyed or disposed of as a result of the landlord’s breach, and b. Other reasonable out of pocket expenses the former tenant incurred or will incur as a result of the landlord’s breach. 4. Order that the landlord pay the Board an administrative fine not exceeding the greater of $10,000 and the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court; 5. Make any order that it considers appropriate.
What happens after the 72 hours has passed and the tenant did not retrieve their belongings? Can the landlord keep, sell or dispose of them? Does the landlord have to compensate the tenant if they make a claim after the 72 hours have passed?
If the tenant does not come for their belongings within the 72 hour period then you are allowed to sell, retain or dispose of their property. Section 41 of the Residential Tenancies Act outlines this in more detail:
41. (1) Disposal of abandoned property if unit vacated – A landlord may sell, retain for the landlord’s own use or otherwise dispose of property in a rental unit or the residential complex if the rental unit has been vacated in accordance with,
(a) a notice of termination of the landlord or the tenant;
(b) an agreement between the landlord and the tenant to terminate the tenancy;
(c) subsection 93 (2); or
(d) an order of the Board terminating the tenancy or evicting the tenant.
(2) Where eviction order enforced – Despite subsection (1), where an order is made to evict a tenant, the landlord shall not sell, retain or otherwise dispose of the tenant’s property before 72 hours have elapsed after the enforcement of the eviction order.
(3) Same – A landlord shall make an evicted tenant’s property available to be retrieved at a location close to the rental unit during the prescribed hours within the 72 hours after the enforcement of an eviction order.
Section 41(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act states a landlord may sell, retain for the landlord’s own use or otherwise dispose of property in a rental unit or residential complex if the tenant vacated according to: a) a notice of termination given by the landlord or the tenant; b) an agreement between the landlord and tenant to terminate the tenancy; or c) an order of the Landlord and Tenant Board terminating the tenancy or evicting the tenant.
If a tenant dies and there are no other tenants in the unit, the tenancy is deemed to be terminated 30 days after the death of the tenant. – The landlord must preserve any property of the tenant who has died other than property that is unsafe or unhygienic – The landlord must provide reasonable access to the rental unit to allow the executor of the estate or family member to remove the tenant’s property. – The landlord is permitted to sell, retain for the landlord’s own use or dispose of the property once 30 days have passed from the day the tenant died. – The Act states that if within six months of the tenant’s death the executor or administrator of the tenant’s estate or a family member claims any of the property that the landlord has sold, the landlord shall pay to the estate the amount of the proceeds from the sale, after deducting the landlord’s reasonable out of pocket expenses for moving, storing, securing or selling the property; and/or any arrears of rent owing. – Where the landlord has retained the belongings for his own use, if the executor or administrator of the tenant’s estate or a family member claims the property, the landlord shall return the property to the tenant’s estate
My tenant has vacated the rental unit before the end of the lease, what should I do with the belongings they left behind?
There are different rules about this depending on the circumstances that the tenant moved out. Please look at our Fact Sheet on Abandoned Belongings to find out these rules https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Tenant-Belongings.pdf
My previous tenant owes $8,000 in unpaid rent. At the Board she agreed to pay in instalments, but has defaulted leaving a car behind. She isn’t returning my calls and I don’t know her new address. Can I sell the car as a means to collect my money?
We are not aware of a way that you could sell this vehicle without having the ownership. The Residential Tenancies Act does state that a landlord can sell, retain or dispose of belongings left behind by a tenant but it does not make any specific reference to abandoned vehicles. You might have to speak to a lawyer about this. Contact the Law Society Referral Service online at www.findlegalhelp.ca. They will refer you to a lawyer and you are entitled to receive a free 30 minute consultation.
I received an order from the Board and the tenants were evicted by the sheriff. What about their belongings?
If the tenant was evicted pursuant to an order of the Landlord and Tenant Board, the landlord must wait 72 hours following the enforcement of the eviction before the landlord can do anything with the belongings. The Residential Tenancies Act allows evicted tenants 72 hours to retrieve their belongings. The landlord must make the belongings available for retrieval between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm at a location close to the rental unit. It is an offence under the RTA if the landlord fails to make the belongings available after the sheriff’s enforcement of the order.
If the tenants moved out pursuant to the notice of termination and the tenant has returned the key, any belongings they left behind can now be disposed of. In this case there is no particular time period that you would have to wait before disposing of the belongings. This provision is set out in the Residential Tenancies Act, Sec. 41 (1)(a).
A tenant left some of their belongings behind, and I let them know they’re still here. How long do I have to hold onto everything before disposing of them?
Different rules apply with respect to belongings left behind. It all depends on the circumstances in which the tenant has moved out. Below is a link to our Fact Sheet on Abandoned Belongings https://landlordselfhelp.com/media/Tenant-Belongings.pdf