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We can only touch very briefly on what your rights are as a landlord, because until or unless the family law aspect of your situation has been clarified—presumably by a family court judge—the rights available to you as a landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act, contract law, etc. are available and relevant to both co-landlords. To get a better idea of how to bring the matter before the courts and what position to take if action is initiated by either party, we suggest that you speak to a family law lawyer. You can contact the Law Society Referral Service, where you will be connected with a lawyer for a free 30 minute consultation. Their website is https://lsrs.lsuc.on.ca/lsrs/ or they can be contacted by telephone  at 416-947-3330 or 1-800-268-8326 toll-free. Your options under the Residential Tenancies Act would be to: File an A1 application (which can be found at http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/forms/with the aim of naming your former spouse as a party and asking whether or not the Act applies—or in this case, does not apply to the agreement between the landlord and the tenants. Alternatively, you could raise this as a preliminary issue at the beginning of your hearing if you file an L2 application to follow up your N12 notice(s). Please note if there are multiple units, then you must file an L2 application for each unit. Also, unless the rent is actually due on the 2nd day of each month, then I suspect that the N12 notice(s) served have the wrong termination date, it should probably have been July 31st. As the notes on the form state—“The termination date cannot be earlier than 60 days after the date the landlord gives the tenant this notice. Also, the date must be the last day of the rental period, or, if the tenancy is for a fixed term, the last day of the fixed term.” If you are re-serving the form because of this, the termination date will have to be the last day of the corresponding month if the rents are due on the 1st day of each month. My overall hunch is that the Board will assume their hands are tied with respect to deciding for or against either of you as landlord, as defined by the Act, given that you may both have collected rents. It is not their role to determine Landlord/Landlord disputes. I am not sure how much further we can comment on your situation, given that our role is to give summary advice to landlords who have difficulties with their tenants. Your tenants are caught in the middle of a landlord/landlord family law dispute, and are probably not too worried for the time being because the conflict is working in their favour.

As you might imagine, a situation such as yours is complex and difficult to separate into its component parts. There are no legislative guidelines to help determine the rights of what can loosely be called “landlord-landlord disputes.” These matters tend to be determined in the courts, and presumably the family court involvement may end up determining what rights each of you have in the context of property ownership, and in the landlord and tenant relationship. We only give advice to the small-scale landlord community. However, my own assumption in this matter is that if the tenant was to get legal advice on the issue, he would be told to deal with your ex-spouse exclusively, and to consider you to be a neighbouring tenant, rather than a landlord. This stems from the fact that your ex-spouse is the sole person who actually showed and rented the unit to the downstairs occupant, (presumably) charged him, and continues to charge him rent, and is the person responsible for issues like maintenance. Your ex has presumably not given the tenant any agency authorization letter to allow you to act on his behalf to enter the unit with proper written notice for inspections or repairs, so I imagine that is why you are getting resistance—he does not likely have to let you in unless the landlord has given him proper written notice or he consents to letting the landlord or his agent in at the time of the request.

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