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Landlords Face Significantly Bigger Fines for Wrongful Evictions
Thursday, July 23, 2020
New legislation will make it harder for landlords to wrongfully evict tenants across the province by increasing fine penalties and encouraging resolutions to rental disputes outside of courts.
The new changes to the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act that took effect July 22, 2020 will put measures in place to increase fines to unlawful evictions and reinforce that landlords explore repayment options before they resort to kicking renters out.
Tenants and landlords are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and some renters may be facing eviction due to job loss and unpaid rents. The province says the changes to the act should protect people from losing their homes.
The legislation, which updates the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 and Housing Services Act, 2011, will make it easier to resolve disputes while protecting tenants from unlawful evictions by:
- Requiring tenant compensation of one month's rent for "no fault" evictions.
- Allowing the Landlord and Tenant Board to order up to 12 months' rent in compensation for eviction notices issued in bad faith or where the landlord does not allow the tenant to move back in after renovations or repairs.
- Doubling the maximum fine amounts for offences under the Act to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation.
These changes are designed to encourage landlords to use alternatives to formal court hearings to resolve eviction disputes and encourage settlements between the renter and the landlord. The Landlord and Tenant Board under the new rules must consider first whether a landlord tried to negotiate a repayment agreement with the tenant before they can issue them with an eviction notice for non-payment of rent related to COVID-19.
Other disputes like unpaid utility bills will now be handled by the Board instead of disputed in small claims court.
For more information on what the government is doing to protect tenants in Ontario visit the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Communities Act, 2020.