Ontario landlords say some tenants using pandemic as excuse not to pay rent
TORONTO -- A Newmarket, Ont. man says he is “couch surfing” at a friend’s home and sleeping in his truck because the woman who is renting his house refuses to pay rent and leave.
“I am homeless because I have a tenant who is in my home in defiance of a N-12 properly served through the Landlord and Tenant Board. That's paperwork that says I need the house back for my purposes," Brown said.
Brown said the tenant hasn’t paid the rent for months and won’t move out and he has been frustrated trying to have the matter dealt with by Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board.
“There is no hearing in sight. They have done nothing to help me. They are completely missing in action,” Brown said.
Nana Boateng of Alliston, Ont. bought a condo as an investment to rent out. Boateng said the tenant hasn’t paid the rent in seven months and now he just wants to sell it, but the tenant won't leave or let potential buyers in to see the unit.
“She is refusing to move out again and it is quite unfortunate. These tenants are almost being professional these days and COVID-19 has made it worse," Boateng said.
Frustrated landlords in Sudbury held a protest last week over hearing delays at the Landlord and Tenant Board.
“We are not heartless, we are not wanting to throw the people (out) who are poor. We are trying to evict people who are not paying because they don't want to pay,” Sudbury landlord Carole Legault said.
According to Kayla Andrade of Ontario Landlords Watch, a landlord advocacy group, the current backlog at the Landlord and Tenant Board has become “a mess."
“Landlords are at a loss for words … they can't get someone out of their home, who is also damaging their home and preventing them from selling their property,” Andrade said.
In a statement from Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board to CTV News Toronto a spokesperson said, “the landlord and tenant board is gradually resuming services and strengthening its ability to deliver fair, effective and timely services during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
But some landlords say they want the process to move faster.
“Until we hear back from the Landlord and Tenant Board it looks like she is just going to be enjoying free rent," Boateng said.
The Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, a group that represents tenants, says only a small number of renters are a problem and feels that evictions should not be allowed to take place during the pandemic.