Impact of COVID-19 on Landlords

Sep 15, 2020

COVID-19 has affected millions of people around the world. Few were prepared and capable to face the hardships that flow from this pandemic. Landlords are one group that has been impacted and arguably bore the brunt with some severe implications.

At the start of the pandemic, there was a suggestion posed to tenants that “if it came down to a choice between putting food on the table or paying rent, put food on the table”. However, landlords had continued obligations to the many costs of property ownership.

Many landlords could not receive mortgage deferrals and bills like heating, hydro, and water, could not go unpaid. Tenants typically contribute to these bills (either included in the rent or separate) but could not, which meant the landlords now had an obligation to cover those costs or risk contravention of the Residential Tenancies Act. Additionally, larger residences that offered shared services for tenants, like pools and gyms, are required under the Act to reduce the rent due to the reduction of services, losing more income for maintenance and upkeep.

Prior to COVID-19, Tribunals Ontario statistics had hearings for evictions averaging 7 weeks for non-payment of rent and eight weeks for other landlord applications. When the emergency was declared, The Landlord and Tenant Board counter services were suspended and, where possible, in-person hearings were rescheduled and held by phone, videoconference or in writing.

Issuance and enforcement of eviction orders was also suspended for months. The wait times for non-urgent applications that could be filed during the pandemic have drastically increased due to the Board’s capacity under COVID-19 work measures (staff rotations and remote working conditions). In-person hearings continue to be suspended until further notice to today. All of these factors have contributed to increased eviction times and accumulating months of unpaid rent that may never be recovered by landlords.

 Changes to Residential Tenancies Law During COVID-19

Here is a brief summary of some changes which directly impact landlords:

  1. Evictions
  • Only in urgent situations (an illegal act, a domestic abuse situation, etc.) could a landlord file for eviction. With the Superior Court also closed, filing orders of the Board for possession of a unit is also more complicated.
  1. Late Rent
  • Tenants are still obligated to pay rent, but many could not because of job loss, cut hours or lay-offs
  • Tenants who are asked to self-isolate and can not work remotely may have difficulty paying their rent
  1. Landlords Right of Entry
  • Landlords right to enter a rental unit still requires greater consideration. Along with following the current law on landlord entry, extra care had to be given to the health and safety of both the landlord and the tenant, especially if any of the parties were immune compromised, elderly or had other pre-existing medical conditions.

If you require assistance with Landlord and Tenant law matters, reach out to the Landlord and Tenant Board experts at DC Paralegals.


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