Fighting an eviction
What you can do before the hearing
Whatever you decide to do, make sure to get more information and legal help. See the Key Point box.
Stop the application by paying what your landlord says you owe
If your landlord has applied to evict you because you owe rent, you can stop the eviction if you pay what your landlord says you owe, before the hearing. The form your landlord gave you (usually a Form L1) should have details about the amount you have to pay to stop the application. Usually this includes the $190 fee your landlord paid to the Board and charges for any bounced or NSF cheques.
You can pay the full amount to your landlord or to the Board. Get a receipt. Bring the receipt to the hearing to make sure the landlord's application is stopped.
Get help paying the rent
If you can usually pay your rent but are having a problem right now, you might be able to get help from organizations in your community.
Some communities have rent banks that lend people money to help pay their rent. Rent banks don't charge any fees or interest for these loans.
If you owe a small amount of rent, you might be able to get help from other programs that try to help people keep their homes. These are sometimes called homelessness prevention programs.
Call 211 or check www.211ontario.ca to find programs in your area.
If you get assistance from the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, ask your worker about how to get help paying your rent.
Make an agreement with your landlord
You can try to make an agreement with your landlord to stop or delay the eviction if:
- you cannot pay what you owe,
- you do not agree with the amount, or
- the application is not about owing rent.
This is sometimes called a "settlement" agreement.
The Board has employees called mediators who will try to help you and your landlord reach an agreement. A mediator might phone you before your hearing or speak to you on the day of your hearing. In some areas of Ontario, it is up to you or your landlord to ask the Board for a mediator if you want one.
You do not have to go to mediation. You and your landlord can try to work out an agreement with a mediator's help or without it. Either way, you can bring a lawyer or someone else to help you, such as a family member, a friend, or a social worker.
You do not have to make an agreement with your landlord. But sometimes making an agreement with your landlord is the best thing. For example, if you owe rent but cannot pay it before the hearing, an agreement might include a payment plan that gives you more time.
It is important to be very careful about signing an agreement, especially in mediation. If you sign a mediated agreement but then do not follow it, your landlord might be able to apply for an eviction order without giving you any notice and without you having a hearing.
Before you sign any settlement agreement, try to get legal advice, and make sure the agreement:
- says exactly what you agreed to, and
- does not include anything you think is not fair or that you will not be able to do.
If you sign an agreement, make sure you get a copy of it, and take it to the hearing.
Prepare for the hearing
If you cannot stop the application from going ahead, then you will have to prepare for the hearing. You might need to arrange for witnesses to come to the hearing, or you might need to make copies of papers or photographs you want to use at the hearing.
Key Point: There is important information about payment plans, mediation, preparing for a hearing, and other topics in the Tenant Tip Sheets produced by the Tenant Duty Counsel Program. To find them online, go to www.acto.ca, click on "For Tenants", then on "Tip Sheets". To find out where to get legal help and information see, Where to get help and information .