The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) allows a landlord to evict his or her tenant due to the tenant’s illegal act or business in the rental complex. This right to evict also applies when the tenant permits an occupant or other people to conduct illegal acts or business in the rental complex.
What is Illegal Act or business?
An illegal act does not necessarily mean a criminal offence. For the purpose of eviction under the RTA, illegal acts may include acts that are in breach of any legislation, regulations, or bylaws. On the other hand, not all illegal acts will justify the landlord’s eviction. The case law¹ has established a two-part test to determine an illegal act for eviction purposes:
- The act must be serious in nature, and
- The act will “affect the character of the premises or disturb the reasonable enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants.”
Additionally, the person who conducts an illegal act or carries on illegal business does not have to be the tenant. It could be an occupant or any other person who is permitted in the rental complex.
Location of the illegal act or business
It is also important to consider where the illegal act or business takes place before the landlord gives a notice of termination. The RTA provides that the occurrence of the illegal act or business must be in the rental complex or the residential building such as the parking lot. For example, a landlord might not be permitted to evict a tenant who is charged careless driving. However, if the tenant drives in the parking lot of the rental building while drunk and hits another resident, this action will secure the landlord’s eviction.
Criminal Offences and burden of proof
Committing a criminal offence is an illegal act. Besides, if it meets the location requirement, it will allow the landlord to evict a tenant.
The LTB proceedings are separate from criminal proceedings. When the landlord applies to the LTB for an eviction order, the LTB only determines if there is an illegal act and whether it will order an eviction. Therefore, it is the landlord’s responsibility to prove the tenant’s illegal act.
If the tenant is charged with a criminal offence, the case law² has established that the criminal charge against the tenant is not proof of an illegal act. On the other hand, if the tenant is not charged, the landlord may still apply to the LTB for an eviction order as long as the landlord can prove the illegal act of the tenant.
The standard of proof in the LTB is a balance of probabilities, a relatively low standard of proof.
Termination notice and Termination date
There are two types of notice depending on the nature of the illegal acts or businesses:
- 10 days notice when there are drug offences, or
- 20 days notice that applies to all other illegal acts or businesses.
The termination date can be any date after the notice.
The landlord may file an application for eviction with the LTB right after giving the notice of termination but within 30 days after the termination date.
There is a special termination notice when the illegal act or business occurs within 6 months of the receipt of the first notice of termination that has become void. The notice is 14 days for all other illegal acts or businesses.
- Samuel Property Management Ltd. v. Nicholson (2002), 61 O.R. (3d) 470 (C.A.)
- Samuel Property Management Ltd. v. Nicholson (2002), 61 O.R. (3d) 470 (C.A.).