Author: Marshall Yarmus
Date Posted: April 01 2020
Due to the extraordinary COVID-19 situation, many tenants are having trouble with their finances.
If a tenant has not paid their rent, the first action the landlord should take is to contact the tenant to ask why the rent was not paid.
Has the tenant’s income severally dropped? Did the tenant lose their job?
You should inquire if the tenant will be automatically receiving or applying for government benefits.
Be careful not to harass your tenant. You should document or note any conversations you have had with the tenant about how they will pay rent during this time.
If the tenant is making the effort to pay all or part of their rent, and is availing themselves of government initiatives, a landlord should try to work with the tenant.
If your tenant is deliberately refusing to pay rent, refusing to work with you, or refusing to provide you information on their financial circumstances and the government benefits they have applied for, you should immediately apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) for an eviction hearing.
A new section of the Residential Tenancies Act, section 83(6), now requires the Board on all non-payment of rent applications during COVID-19 to consider whether to delay or deny an eviction based on whether the landlord offered the tenant a payment plan.
The offer of a payment plan should not to be confused with a rent reduction. A rent reduction done improperly, can have severe consequences for the landlord.
It is important that your application gets into the LTB queue as soon as possible as the queue for LTB hearings was already very backlogged before Covid-19 began.