By Chris Seepe

LTB – letters known to residential landlords as Landlord & Tenant Board but better described as “Loves Tenants Best, Landlords To Blame, Let Tenants Be” and other similar themes. Perhaps the most divinely inspired joke is the anagram of “landlordtenantboard” – “abandon rent, add troll.”

The LTB in Ontario, broken for years, is now resorting to deliberate underhandedness to further frustrate landlords into abandoning their right of due process.



Above Guideline Increase (AGI) applications are taking over a year to set hearing dates and three to five months to issue an order after all parties have agreed. But, woe betide you if you complain.

We filed our first AGI application on Sept. 11, 2018 and a second for another property on March 11, 2019. After several emails over four months went unanswered, we received a letter from LTB regional manager Lynn DiCaire dated Oct. 4, 2019. The “preliminary” hearing dates for the first and second AGIs were Nov. 22, 2019 (one year) and Nov. 8, 2019 (eight months) respectively. However, the LTB allowed only 2.5 business days to deliver the 25-page Notice of Hearing (NOH) to every tenant in the building, despite setting the hearing dates 10 days earlier.

The NOH states, “Where a … Hearing is rescheduled as a result of the applicant’s failure to serve … the Board may consider costs against the applicant.” And, “Once service has been completed, you must file the Certificate of Service (COS) … with the Board” but no instructions were provided on how to do this. The COS states, “… any tenants who were not served … the application may be amended to remove those tenants.”

If we’d not delivered the NOH within the 2.5 days, I’d wager the LTB would have added three months because “we” delayed the NOH.

Our paralegal, who does only AGI applications, wrote, “The practice of late is for the board to provide as little advance time (as possible) for landlords to serve the tenants.”

Two letters to Attorney General Doug Downey ([email protected]), five letters to the AGI Unit in Ottawa ([email protected]), seven letters to the LTB East office ([email protected]) and five letters to SJTO Complaints (Social Justice Tribunals Ontario – [email protected]) all went unanswered. However, the LTB retaliated by rescheduling the first AGI hearing to Jan. 24, 2020 – 1.2 years after filing, which doesn’t include the three to five months for the decision to be issued afterwards.

The LTB discloses to any tenant affected by the AGI the private financial information about each of the other tenant’s rent amounts. The Privacy Commissioner says that the information is not the landlord’s private information, so each tenant would have to file their own complaint.

We filed a simple case on May 28, 2019 against a tenant who refused to accept any responsibility for the estimated $4,000 damage caused by them not turning off the water valve of their overflowing toilet. The case was heard Aug. 26, 2019 (three months). Decisions are routinely rendered about 11 days later. We received no decision, so we requested an update Sept. 17, 2019. Three days later we received a terse “we’ll get to it” reply.

On Sept. 30, 2019 we escalated the compliant to SJTO Complaints, alleging the member had grossly abused her judicial power during the hearing and asked that the hearing audio recording be reviewed. The auto-reply email stated that they’d respond within 15 business days. After more than two months and eight follow up letters, we’ve not received a reply from the LTB or SJTO.

The LTB takes about 11 days to issue a standard order after the hearing. There’s no legislative requirement for this. This grants a tenant two more weeks of free rent. The LTB sets the eviction date for a Friday so if the tenant didn’t move out by that date, you can’t go to the sheriff’s office until the following week, losing another week of rent. The sheriff’s office schedules evictions only on Fridays, despite the huge backlog. It issues a “Notice to Vacate” and waits 11 more days for a tenant’s reply or non-reply, which again lands on a Friday or Saturday, giving the tenant two more rent-free weeks. There’s no legislative requirement for this delay either. The eviction date is then set three to six weeks after that.

During this time the tenant has not paid any rent, since they’re being evicted anyway. Minutes before the eviction, the tenant has the right to pay all rent arrears and court costs to void the eviction. This is like a retail store customer caught shoplifting being lawfully permitted to continue shopping by simply paying for what they tried to steal.

If you have a non-rent payment issue, the Rental Housing Enforcement Unit reportedly resolves within two days about 75 per cent of about 25,000 complaints received annually.

Your best bet to change tenancy legislation is with the generally “deaf” MPPs. If you’ve truly had enough, you could sell your property to a “minimalist” operator. Aside from the large operators who enjoy economies of scale, only these low-end operators seem to be able to make a living owning and operating residential rental properties in Ontario.

22 COMMENTS

  1. I have found rental property very profitable. Yes there are a few problems sometimes and it can be frustrating. The LTB is slower than I prefer, but effective.
    There are just as many greedy and noxious landlords as bad tenants. Many landlords would suck the blood out tenants; if allowed.
    I will continue to purchase and rent residential properties

  2. We all know, it’s a double-edged sword. It’s very dangerous to let all the landlords do what ever they like on the back of the (generally) poorer renters, the low-income seniors, unwed mothers, and of course, new-Canadians, without any form of legislative guidelines.

    However, restrictions, and specially, bureaucratic bungling, (as we have seen in the foregoing posts), or rampant socialism-totalitarian type controls, can easily kill the balanced social fabric that Canada has long enjoyed.

    Shelter is one of the fundamental human needs, like food, security, etc. Governments at ALL levels, must wake up and start treating shelter more seriously now. We Realtor(R)’s must do our role in pressing for judicial overhauls. We have the clout, and, we are closely associated with the rental segment of our society. Thank you all.

  3. The landlord and tenant board madness needs to be corrected ASAP or small landlords will pull out of the rental market causing more housing shortages and rising rents.

  4. Chris: Thank you so much for writing this. Now everyone: please send this to your MPP hoping they will raise a finger to initiate changes.

  5. This is what happens when government bureaucracies grow, and grow, and grow. They never, ever, shrink.

    From behind their desks, bureaucrats idolize charts and graphs while ignoring what’s really going on out there in the real world. They associate only with one another. They become indoctrinated with their own group-thinking dogma. They rely on learned theories vs observed actuality. They often despise those of us who seek to improve our ‘own’ lives via our ‘own’ efforts and ideas vs relying on big government (read bureaucracies’ there-forever bureaucrats which influence the here-today, gone-tomorrow, elected politicians) to look after us.

    It’s called creeping socialism, which is just another name plate for socialists’ despised view-from-on-high of business profit-seeking ventures/ambitious individuals that/whom socialists disdain, and thus treat as the enemy. Welcome to Orwell’s world.

      • The socialist/communists down at city hall are coming after Airbnb as well. Spent 30 years renting to tenants in Toronto and the landlord and tenant board become progressively criminal in their attitude towards landlords. They are absolute scum.

      • The socialis/communists down at city hall are coming after Airbnb also. Spent 30 years renting to tenants in Toronto and watched the tenant protection board get progressively criminal in their attitude and treatment of landlords. They are political scum.

  6. No wonder rental properties are so hard to find for people! Who would want to take the risk and be a Landlord? Until the Landlord and Tenant operates without bias and starts to improve the efficiency of their claims processing; the rental shortage will continue and the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the government itself. This article was well written and shows the challenges facing the Landlord today.

  7. Another example of truly unbelievable behaviour by this bureaucracy. Yet all levels of government run around scratching their heads at the lack of affordability and rental housing inventory. If investors weren’t scared to death of being mauled by the current system, more would take the plunge into being a landlord, and the problems that our tax dollars are thrown at would be (partially) solved by the private sector. These same governments are losing money selling pot… that’s got to say something about how well they understand how the real world works.

  8. I haven’t been in residential rentals for some time now and I’m very happy about my decision to sell. What is it that we can do to start a change Chris. This just seems to get worse and worse and something needs to be done

  9. The powers that should NOT be long ago gave control over private property to those with no skin in the game, essentially stealing from the rightful owners.

  10. Extremely well written, with great examples and in depth knowledge of rights of landlords and tenants.

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