Landlord and tenant disputes are heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board (“Board”), an administrative tribunal in Ontario. Appeals of landlord and tenant matters can be taken to the Divisional Court. The procedure of landlord and tenant matters before the Board are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (“RTA” or “the Act”), S.O. 2006, c. 17.
Before a dispute even arises, a lawyer, such as Ben Azimi, can give a party to a landlord and tenant dispute legal advice about their rights and obligations. For example, the Act imposes certain notice requirements in particular contexts; a tenant wishing to end a tenancy must, in order to meet the legal requirements of effectively ending the tenancy, complete and deliver a notice in the proper form to the landlord within a prescribed time period. By addressing these types of matters prophylactically, in this manner, it can help to prevent a dispute from emerging in the first place.
During the course of an LTB proceeding, there is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism offered under the Act. During a mediation, the parties can meet with an LTB dispute resolution officer who will discuss the case with them in an attempt to settle.
Before a hearing date, a case management conference is conducted by an LTB dispute resolution officer who will help the parties to reach any partial or complete settlement and/or prepare for the hearing such as making disclosure orders.
At a hearing, which is presided by a Member of the Board, also referred to as a “decisionmaker” or “adjudicator”, the parties are given the opportunity to present their evidence that is relevant to the issues in the LTB application. The Member will review the evidence and the applicable law and arrive at a decision on the LTB application.
Evidence includes documents given to the Board (such as photographs, videos, letters, invoices, receipts, medical records, report of a building inspector etc.) and witnesses called at the hearing (people with knowledge and information relevant to the issues in the application, which may include family members, friends, social workers, police officers, building inspectors etc.).
If dissatisfied with an order of the LTB, there are three options:
- A Request to Amend an Order – This process occurs through the Board and is used for clerical errors such as if one of the party’s names or addresses is misspelt in the order. The same Member who made the original order is the one who would amend the order. A stay of the order may be sought.
- A Request to Review an Order – This process occurs through the Board and is used for serious errors such as errors of fact, jurisdiction, procedure, law or remedy. A different Member than the one who made the original order would be the one who would review the order. A stay of the order may be sought.
- An Appeal of an Order – This process occurs through the Divisional Court and is used for errors of law. A stay of the order is automatic and operate until the Divisional Court makes a decision about the appeal.
Legal representation can be of benefit to a party involved in a landlord and tenant dispute such as: identifying and completing the correct forms; applying advocacy skills in representing the party in a mediation, conference or hearing; giving the party legal advice about any offer to settle provided by the other side; and providing counsel about amendment, review and appeal options.