Under the Tenant Protection Act there are two reasons that allow money to be paid into the bank account of the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. One reason is to prove the tenant has satisfied an order of the Tribunal and the other is to pay rent arrears owing in order have an adjournment that would benefit the tenant.
Section 72(2) of the Act allows a tenant to voluntarily pay any rent owing to the landlord into the Tribunal. A tenant may wish to do this because the tenant is also bringing an application against the landlord for an abatement of rent. If the tenant believes there may be problems collecting an order from the landlord because of an impending change in owners or the tenant is moving. The tenant could ask the Tribunal to hold the money until it is determined who should have it. As well, if there is an order of the Tribunal requiring the tenant to pay the landlord an amount of money by a certain date, the tenant may choose to make the payment to the Tribunal to prove the money has been paid.
Section 182 allows the Tribunal to Order that the tenant pay money the landlord claims is owing into the Tribunal. This is done in cases where the tenant is in rent arrears and is requesting an adjournment so that he/she can bring an application against the landlord for an abatement in rent. The adjournment is usually granted providing the arrears are paid into the Tribunal.
Some tenants, who feel frustrated by their landlord's lack of attention of doing repairs to their homes, withhold rent. This was a procedure that was allowed under the old Landlord and Tenant Act. It is no longer an allowable practice. It can put the tenant in a position where they could be evicted for rent arrears. You could loose your right to a hearing or be evicted if you do not have the money to pay into the Tribunal.
When we say pay money into the Tribunal we do NOT mean you actually take your money to the Tribunal and they keep it. There is a complex procedure that must be followed:
1. The tenant must go to the reception area of the Tribunal office, which in Ottawa at 255 Albert Street, 4th floor. Here the tenant will receive a deposit slip for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
2. The tenant must then take the deposit slip to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at the corner of Bank and Queen along with payment in the form of cash, money order or certified cheque.
3. The bank will give the tenant a receipt which the tenant MUST take back to the reception desk at the Tribunal office. The tenant should ask the Tribunal staff for a photocopy of the receipt for his/her records.
If the tenant does not return the receipt to the Tribunal office the tenant could loose his/her right to present evidence at the hearing or the sheriff could enforce the eviction order.
If you have any questions about payment into the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal you can call the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal at 1-888-332-3234 or your local community legal clinic.
For residents living west of Holland and Fisher Avenues, please call West End Legal Services at 596-1641.