Covid-19 caused many changes within, and to, the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board (LTB), some good and some bad. Many of my clients are frustrated with the LTB process and have been asking many similar types of questions so I have summarized them in this article. It is important to note that the LTB is evolving rapidly, and you should discuss your exact situation with your Paralegal.
From the time you file your application with the LTB, either Tenant or Landlord, your matter will likely be scheduled in 5-6 months’ time. The LTB’s handling of their scheduling process is troublesome to many. Pre-covid, and early covid files are delayed more than newer matters. Older files, some up to a year old or more, are only being scheduled now. While newer files are on the 5-6 month track as previously stated.
The Board will contact you and your paralegal, when the hearing has been scheduled, by email. Ensure that you are checking your “Junk Mail” and ensure that your spam filter is not preventing delivery. The LTB established a new portal, and your paralegal can check or contact the board every three months. We have found that with the large backlog, technical issues and system changes some applications have been lost or delayed.
Not really, the majority of all applications will have to wait no matter the circumstances. I have found that the board does not consider anything urgent until your matter deals with Form N7 matters – N7 matters deal with border line criminal issues such as – tenant has illegal drugs in the unit, criminal activity occurrence on the property, ie. Possession of guns. Even for these types of serious matters, it will still take time to be scheduled.
No, hearings are all being done virtually via Zoom. When joining a meeting it is important to be on time.
Just because your matter is scheduled does not mean that your matter will be heard that day. Your matter may be scheduled with other difficult matters or with many other cases, not permitting the members to reach everyone in a single day.
Many times, the members are unable to get through all of the matters in the block. If your matter is adjourned, then there will be further delays. It may take up to 3 to 4 months for your matter to be rescheduled.
We suggest that you utilize all of the tools that are available to you such as:
a. During the hearing, all parties are encouraged to attend mediation to resolve or narrow the issues.
b. Focus on core issues and keep your matter succinct, the more complex your matter the greater the chance your application will heard at the end or adjourned.c. You can also reach out to the opposing party to seek out a resolution and possible settlement.
Simple matters, including consents are heard first, complex matters with many witnesses or extensive evidence are normally held at the end. Look to your paralegal to navigate through the hearing and to assist you in making a quick assessment of the hearing block. They will advise whether to contest your application or to find resolutions through mediation, or other means.
I always encourage settlement. If you believe that the opposing party is reasonable and may be open to a settlement then many times it is advisable to reach out and try to work out a settlement. However, sometimes I have seen those discussions, prior to a hearing, resulting in more disputes being raised which can make the matter more complicated and result in delays or your matter not being concluded during a hearing. It is important to talk to your paralegal if you have any questions about the best tactic to use prior to a hearing.
Jathusan is a Licensed Paralegal with Precision Paralegal Services, focusing on both Small Claims Court and Landlord/Tenant Matters. During Covid-19 he moved his practice within Precision Paralegal Services to be focused exclusively on Landlord and Tenant Matters. Operating out of the Precision Paralegal Scarborough Offices, he represents Landlords and Tenants across Ontario in both English and Tamil.
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