Small landlords also known as DIY landlords make up about 41% of Ontario’s investment property owners. Almost all of them have invested in the property as a means of ensuring an income for their retirement. Managing a rental property is far from a passive income as many imagine it to be. It is a business that requires a lot of effort and diligence. A tenant is, for all intents and purposes, a business partner for small landlords.
Choosing the right tenant is a very important step in property management. However, even the best of partnerships come to an end eventually. For some, it is a happy change, but in some others, it is bitter experiences, and financial losses and evictions. Evicting tenants can be a long, taxing process and brings joy to no one, but in some cases, inevitable.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are thinking about evictions.
When can tenants be evicted?
Though a landlord may own a property and may choose to do what they please with it, it is also important to remember that it is the home of your tenants and that you have to be fair and reasonable in your demands from tenants. Importantly, reasons for evictions should be well within the limits of Residential Tenancies Act of respective provinces where the property is located.. What are some common instances where a landlord can evict tenants?
- Non-payment, late payment or partial payment of rent: A tenant is obligated to pay rent for the rental property on the date it is due and in full. This is considered as the primary requirement for any rental agreement and cannot be broken in any circumstance, even if the tenant feels services provided the landlord are inadequate.
- Damage or destruction of property: If a tenant, occupant of the rental property, or any guest of the tenant causes damage or destruction of the property that require extensive repairs, a landlord may provide them with a notice of termination. However, the landlord should give tenants reasonable time to repair or replace damaged items and only on failure to do so on the tenant’s part can the landlord proceed with termination of tenancy.
- Illegal activity, affecting safety and enjoyment of other tenants/ landlord: If a tenant is known to be carrying out illegal activities or trades from the rental property, the landlord can terminate the tenancy within a short period of time based on local guidelines. In cases where a tenant endangers the safety of other tenants, neighbours or landlords, they should be given a reasonable time to correct the mistake and on failure, can be served a notice of termination.
- Extensive renovation of property: Every building reaches a point where it needs to be given a complete overhaul, either to accommodate modernizations, or meet new city guidelines. In cases where such renovations can take well over a few months’ time, tenants are requested to move out. However, in some provinces, like Ontario, the old tenants should be offered the renovated unit before trying to find other tenants.
- Landlord moving in or sale of property: Tenancies can be terminated in cases where a landlord may decide to use the property as their primary residence or for a close relative. This is true for scenarios where a property is sold and the buyer wants to move in. Tenants should be given at least 60 days’ time and monetary compensation to move, as agreed between the landlord and tenant or as specified in the RTA.
- Overcrowding: If the occupancy of a rental exceeds the number of people allowed in the space according to housing and safety regulations of the area, the landlord can serve the tenants with an eviction notice providing sufficient time for the tenants to rectify the situation.
In most situations where compliance to lease terms is the reason for eviction, the first step should always be to communicate with the tenant and work out a plan to resolve the problem in a way that is fair to both parties. For example, non payment of rent can be dealt with coming up with a payment plan that would let the tenant pay their dues with more time. As mentioned at the beginning, evictions are not easy for either the landlord or tenant and should be the last resort to resolving tenancy disputes.