What To Do If Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent Ontario| Resolving Tenant Rent Non-Payment

What To Do If Tenant Doesn’t Pay Rent Ontario| Resolving Tenant Rent Non-Payment

As a landlord, it can become stressful if a tenant does not pay rent. Not paying is the most common reason tenants are evicted from their homes. In Ontario, there are some rules and regulations specific to the circumstances that need to be followed by the landlord for such issues.  

In this article, we will talk about what to do if a tenant does not pay rent in Ontario. 

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    Notice to Pay Rent or Move Out Form N4

    The Form N4 Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-payment of Rent is served by the landlord to warn the tenant of a deadline to pay the overdue rent or face eviction. The tenancy termination date should be at least 14 days from the serving of notice for a monthly tenancy and 7 days for a weekly tenancy. 

    Check out the N4 Form online or download it for later use. 

    The notice becomes void if the tenant pays the due rent or any additional payments after the notice is served. Ensure that the notice complies with the Residential Tenancies Act 2006 (RTA) requirements to avoid any potential legal challenges. 

    Applying for Eviction and Rent Owed Form L1

    If the tenant does not resolve the issue within the specified timeframe, you can apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) of Ontario, Canada, with a Form L1 Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-Payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes. Once you file that application, you have to serve it to the tenant to ensure they know you have filed for this eviction process. 

    The LTB will issue a hearing. It can take up to 4 months to get a hearing date. Be prepared to provide evidence of the rent arrears and any attempts you made to resolve the issue. Based on solid evidence, the judge or adjudicator hearing your case will issue an eviction order.  

    Landlords can seek assistance from the Sheriff’s Office to enforce the eviction order and remove the tenant from the property if they don’t move out. The tenants do not have to move out before the termination date if the LTB issues an eviction order. 

    Click here to download the Form L1 Application. 

    Collecting Rent Owed without Eviction Form L9

    Form L9 Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes is used when the tenant owes you money and occupies the rental unit. The L9 Application serves as a formal request to the LTB to issue an order requiring the tenant to pay the overdue rent.  

    Landlords typically file this application after serving the tenant with a Notice of Termination for Non-Payment of Rent (N4) and the specified period for payment has elapsed without resolution. Once the L9 Application is completed, it must be filed with the LTB along with the required filing fee.  

    The application will then be processed, and a hearing date will be scheduled. Both the landlord and tenant will receive notice of the hearing, at which they will have the opportunity to present their respective cases before an adjudicator. 

    If the adjudicator determines that the tenant owes the rent as alleged, an order will be issued compelling the tenant to pay the unpaid amount within an established time frame. Failure to comply with the order may result in further legal action, including eviction. 

    Click here to download the Form L9 Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes. 

    Required Information for Form L9

    When completing the L9 Application, landlords must provide detailed information regarding the tenancy, including: 


    • Landlord and Tenant Details: Full names, addresses, and contact information for both parties. 
    • Property Address: The address of the rental unit in question. 
    • Details of Rent Owed: Specify the amount of rent outstanding, the period it covers, and any applicable late fees. 
    • Evidence of Non-Payment: Attach supporting documentation, such as copies of the N4 notice and proof of delivery to the tenant. 

    Section 82 and Section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, Ontario

    The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) governs the landlord-tenant relationship in Ontario.  

    Section 82 allows the tenant to justify the reasons, issues, or concerns as to why they haven’t paid the full rent or part of the rent. Examples include the landlord requesting illegal deposits, not making the requested repairs, or not tending to maintenance concerns. 

    The tenants can also raise issues under Section 83 of the Residential Tenancies Act to delay the eviction. This is concerned with the personal issues of the tenant, which should be looked upon with a soft side, such as the tenant being a single mother and having to be evicted in the winter season. This can delay or deny the eviction. 

    Tips for Landlords

    Communication with the Tenant

    Communication is key when dealing with rent arrears. Reach out to the tenant when you notice a missed payment to discuss the situation openly and explore potential solutions. 

    Document Everything

    Keep detailed records of all communication with the tenant regarding rent payments, including emails, letters, and notes from in-person conversations. Documenting these interactions will serve as evidence if legal action becomes necessary and can help demonstrate your efforts to resolve the issue. 

    Negotiate a Payment Plan

    In many cases, tenants facing financial difficulties may be willing to negotiate a payment plan to catch up on rent arrears gradually. Work with the tenant to establish a realistic repayment schedule that considers their circumstances while ensuring your financial stability. 

    Consider Mediation

    If direct negotiation proves unsuccessful, consider engaging a mediator to facilitate communication and help reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation can be a less challenging alternative to legal proceedings, which may lead to a faster resolution without the need for court intervention. 

    Additional Resources

    Legal Assistance

    Seeking guidance from a legal professional specializing in landlord-tenant law can provide invaluable support and ensure that you navigate the legal process effectively. Consider consulting with a lawyer who can offer personalized advice tailored to your specific situation. 

    Community Resources

    Several community organizations and government agencies in Ontario offer resources and support services for landlords dealing with rent arrears and tenant disputes. These include legal clinics, housing help centers, and landlord advocacy groups that can provide information, advice, and referrals to relevant services. 

    The Ontario government offers programs such as the Ontario Renovates Program and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Landlords to provide financial assistance to landlords facing hardship. 

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    Dealing with a tenant who doesn’t pay rent can be stressful. As a landlord in Ontario, it’s essential to understand your rights and follow the proper legal procedures.  

    By communicating openly with your tenant, issuing notices as required by the RTA, and seeking assistance from mediation services or the LTB when necessary, you can effectively address the situation and protect your interests as a landlord. 

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    No, landlords must follow the legal eviction process outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act, which involves obtaining an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board. 

    In such cases, landlords can seek assistance from the Sheriff's Office to enforce the eviction order and remove the tenant from the property. 

    Landlords cannot increase rent suddenly in Ontario. Any rent increases must comply with the guidelines set out in the Residential Tenancies Act. 

    Yes, the Ontario government offers programs such as the Ontario Renovates Program and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Landlords to provide financial assistance to landlords facing hardship. 

    Landlords and tenants can present evidence and arguments at the Landlord and Tenant Board hearing for a resolution to be determined. 

    No, these actions are considered illegal and constitute harassment under the Residential Tenancies Act. 

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