What is a Landlord Tenant board, and how does it affect you or your tenants?
The landlord tenant board is an adjudicative tribunal that is operated by individual provinces throughout Canada. It is an alternative to the courts in resolving disputes for landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
If you or your tenants have a disagreement you are unable to resolve, each province has a rental tenancy board for issues involving:
- Unpaid rent or utilities
- Security deposits
- Other common disagreements
In Alberta, contact the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS Alberta); in BC, contact the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB, BC); and in Ontario, contact the Landlord Tenant Board LTB, Ontario).
History of tenancy boards
Historically, landlord tenant relations were governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act and could only be addressed through the court system. However, in Ontario in 2006, The Act and Tribunal were dissolved and replaced with the Landlord and Tenant Board which essentially removes landlord-tenant law from the court system.
Depending on the amount of the claim in Alberta and BC, landlords or tenants can apply to either Provincial Civil Court the RTDRS, or the RTB to resolve tenancy disputes.
Once landlords or tenants have filed an application to the RTDRS, Landlord Tenant Board, or the RTB, the procedures and length can vary between provinces. Applications and hearings can take weeks or even years to be processed and heard.
The Ontario, Alberta, and BC, the process basically follows the same four steps:
- Landlord/tenant file application
- Landlord and tenant attend LTB hearing in person or by phone
- The Landlord/tenant board determines Order Ruling
- Order decisions are enforced
For a comprehensive explanation of the Ontario dispute resolution processes click here. For a summary the of Alberta’s process click here. For an overview of the BC procedure click here.
Legal Representation of landlords and tenants
Depending on the province, a person may be represented by a lawyer, a paralegal, or unpaid representatives. However, the individual claiming the representation exemption must show proof of their legal authorization to represent a person or company in front of the board.
Most common landlord-tenant disputes
Disputes between landlords and tenants are common and can happen at any time before, during or after the tenancy. The most common landlord-tenant disputes are:
Beginning a tenancy
- Property not ready for occupancy
- Disagreement between verbal and written agreement
- Unauthorized or unregistered occupants
During a tenancy
- Noise complaints
- Conflicts over responsibilities for repairs
- Unlawful notice for rent increases
- Substantial breaches of the lease for the tenant/landlord
- Notice requirements not followed
- Tenants/landlords changing locks without permission
- Unregistered/unauthorized occupants
- Assaults or threats
- Offenses against the RTA
- Incorrect service of notice
Ending a Tenancy
- Terminating tenancies due to domestic violence
- Tenant refuses to leave
- Security deposit not returned
- Tenant disagrees with security deposit conditions
- Tenant’s belongings left behind
Ontario Landlord Tenant Board in the news
Many articles have been published about Ontario landlords being months in arrears for rent while they go bankrupt while waiting for hearings.
“In 2022, the Landlord and Tennant Board of Ontario was sued in the Superior Court of Ontario through a class action lawsuit, claiming that the LTB has caused “extreme financial hardship and loss, and emotional and psychological stress, due to the tenant being permitted and incentivized by the defendant (government of Ontario) to live rent free in Elsie’s home”. (Lawsuit against the Ontario government of Landlord and Tenant Board Delays).
For landlords and tenants seeking to resolve disputes, the first step is to understand and practice the RTA and, if possible, resolve differences outside of an adjudicated process. However, when conflicts cannot be resolved, the provincial landlord tenant boards provide an adjudicative tribunal as an alternative to the courts in resolving disputes for landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
What are your thoughts on the RTDRS, LTB, and RTB? How have they affected your business?
I’d love to hear how [email protected].
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