Release date: March 24, 2021
One of the many impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health crisis has been significant disruption to the court and tribunal systems in Ontario. While all (or nearly all) levels of court and administrative tribunals have experienced some degree of disruption, few have been as affected as the Landlord and Tenant Board (the LTB).
As many people reading this will be aware, the LTB adjudicates nearly all disputes between residential landlords and tenants in Ontario. Given the number of condominium units that are occupied as rental properties, the interests of condominium unit owners and residents, and condominium corporations, are often at issue in LTB proceedings.
Prior to COVID-19, a party bringing an application forward at the LTB would generally wait 1-3 months for a hearing date, depending on the area in which the property was located and the nature of the application. At present, it is not uncommon for as long as 5-6 months to pass between the filing of an application and the scheduled hearing date. It is difficult to project at this point when, if ever, things will return to the pre-COVID state of affairs.
If the matter is not ready to be heard on that date, or cannot be reached because the LTB has more matters to hear on a given day than time to hear those matters, then further delays will result. Where the application is being brought because of an issue like rent arrears or the landlord’s failure to comply with its obligations, these delays will not typically affect parties other than the landlord and the tenant.
However, where the application is being brought because of an issue like tenant conduct that is disturbing the residents of other units, any delays will have a much broader impact.
With limited exceptions, condominium corporations have no ability to directly obtain orders terminating tenants’ tenancies (though they can seek orders addressing tenant conduct through an application to the Superior Court of Justice). However, condominium corporations and their managers may have a role in assisting unit owners in dealing with their problem tenants through the LTB.
This could include ensuring that owners are advised of issues with their tenants, and providing documentary and oral evidence to be used at a hearing to assist the owner in establishing that the tenant’s conduct meets the threshold for termination of the tenancy.
In order to minimize the impact of these delays on condominium corporations and unit residents, where appropriate, we suggest that condominium corporations and managers fully cooperate with unit owner landlords to assist them in dealing with their problem tenants. Obviously, if there is any doubt, the corporation or manager should seek advice from the corporation’s lawyer to confirm the appropriate scope of cooperation.
This information is being provided by the CCI-T Legislative Committee, in response to questions from our members, as to what can be expected from the LTB in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.