The Ontario government passed the Tenant Protection Act in June 1998 to try to make evictions faster and simpler. As a result of the legislation, tenants have to be aware of the short time limits available, given the circumstances of their case.
The most crucial limit is when a tenant is served by the landlord with an Application for Eviction and a Notice of Hearing to appear before the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal.
A tenant must dispute an Application to Terminate the Tenancy within five days of being served with the Notice of Hearing. The dispute must be in writing and filed with the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal within this short time frame. Failure to file a dispute results in a Default Order and the hearing date is cancelled. However, if a tenant files a dispute late but before an order is issued then the matter still proceeds to a hearing.
When a tenant is served with a Default Order, the tenant has 10 days after the order is issued to make a motion to the tribunal on notice to the other party to have the order set aside. The motion effectively renders the order unenforceable and a new hearing will be held.
Sometimes the tribunal will hold a hearing without the tenant being present and this results in an order which cannot be set aside but must be reviewed. The request for review does not stop the order. The review will be granted in cases of “serious error” and costs $25 to file.
In order to review an order, the tenant requesting the review must do so in writing within 30 days of the date the order is issued. The tenant must serve the request upon the other party within five days of filing the request.
Finally, any party affected by an order of the tribunal may appeal the order to the Divisional Court within 30 days after being given the order, but only on a question of law.
As you can see, the time limits in the Tenant Protection Act are quite short and vary depending on when the tenant is served with orders issued by the tribunal. If you have tenancy problems and do not understand the eviction process, please call the community legal clinic in your area. For residents west of Holland and Fisher avenues, call West End Legal Services at 596-1641.