Recent changes at the Landlord and Tenant Board
The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt acutely by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB). This past August, ONPHA participated in a stakeholder engagement session and made a number of recommendations regarding changes to LTB rules, practice directions, and guidelines.
Since the stakeholder engagement session, the LTB has implemented a number of modifications to their services and procedures. Read on to find out what’s new at the LTB.
Improvements to operations
The LTB has introduced and continues to introduce policies and procedures to improve operational efficiency, work through the backlog of cases, and to enhance its dispute resolution services to make them more equitable.
The LTB announced changes to its operations including:
- Appointing 39 full-time adjudicators and 35 part-time adjudicators
- Adding three new fax lines to receive applications
- Redirecting staff to focus on the scheduling of hearings from November into 2021
- Implementing the Advance Resolution Request form to resolve disputes that are not complex without the need for a hearing
Based on feedback from the engagement session in August, the LTB also finalized LTB rules, practice directions, and guidelines which came into effect on December 1, 2020, and the new Payment Agreement which is now available for use. ONPHA was pleased to see a number of its recommendations adopted in these changes.
The LTB also announced that it had updated its Practice Direction on Hearing Formats, effective November 30, to clarify the format that hearings will take (i.e.: electronic, telephone, written, in person) as services are adjusted to deal with pandemic-related restrictions.
Effective January 18, the LTB implemented regional hearing blocks with the aim of improving scheduling and fairness in procedures going forward. The changes mean that each region now has dedicated days of the week scheduled for different hearing types. This is meant to allow LTB representatives to better assist landlords and tenants.
Recognizing the difficulties faced by Ontarians with limited access to technology in attending virtual hearings, starting February 1 the LTB expanded options for alternative hearing formats. Phone and computer terminals are now provided for use at the Hearing Centre in Toronto. Parties who have received a notice of hearing must contact the LTB to request use of the terminals. This is considered a pilot project and may be expanded to other locations across the province.
Advocating for increased access to technology to assist tenants in participating in hearings was part of ONPHA’s submission to the LTB’s engagement process and we are gratified to see steps implemented towards making the hearing process more equitable for individuals with limited access to technology.
On February 1, the LTB revealed that landlords and tenants can now pay application fees online as well as by cheque or money order. Applicants who are unable to pay the application fee can still request a fee waiver if they meet eligibility requirements.
Hearings and orders
Urgent health and safety concerns
ONPHA has heard from a number of housing providers who have pre-COVID applications outstanding for which they still do not have a hearing date. Some of them involve serious issues that could impact the tenant’s well-being as well as posing a significant risk for other people in the building. In order to be considered for an earlier hearing date for matters of “urgent health and safety”, ONPHA urges housing providers to complete the LTB form Request to Extend or Shorten Time. This form should be submitted quickly to the LTB and include as much detail as possible around why the request should be granted.
Pause on eviction enforcement
Effective January 14, 2021 and coinciding with the second provincial emergency, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced that most residential eviction orders will not be enforced at this time. The LTB “encourage[s] landlords and tenants to work together to resolve their disputes during this challenging time”.
Enforcement of eviction orders may still occur for evictions requested under section 84 of the Residential Tenancies Act. Grounds for eviction in section 84 are:
- Willfully damaging the rental unit
- Using the unit in a way which is inconsistent with residential use and caused, or is likely to cause, significant damage
- Committing an illegal act in the unit involving the production or trafficking of illegal drugs
- Seriously impairing someone’s safety
- Substantially interfering with the landlord’s reasonable enjoyment – in cases where the landlord and tenant live in the same building and the building has three or fewer residential units
On February 8, the Province announced that three regions will move into the “prevent” category of health restrictions, meaning that eviction orders can be enforced as of February 10, 2021 in:
- Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
- Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
- Renfrew County and District Health Unit
Continued advocacy and engagement
ONPHA continues to provide feedback through the LTB stakeholder engagement activities and we continue advocate to the Landlord and Tenant Board on behalf of our members. We will continue to update our members on new developments.
Stay on top of recent developments on the Landlord and Tenant Board’s ‘Latest News’ page.
Questions about the latest developments at the LTB? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to hear from you, and to help!
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