Has a tenant at one of your rental properties become delinquent on rent or been causing problems? While evicting a tenant is never pleasant, sometimes it’s your only solution. After all, you can’t have a tenant living there free of charge, damaging the property, or upsetting the neighbours. Since a rental eviction has several steps that you must go through mistake-free for a court to grant the eviction, it’s important to understand what’s required and get everything right the first time.
Checking the Laws in Your Area
Before you get started on evicting a tenant, look up the laws for the jurisdiction where the rental property is located. Even though the general eviction process is similar throughout Canada, aspects vary in different areas. For example, the amount of notice you’re legally required to give the tenant can change by jurisdiction and, in some areas, based on the reason for the eviction. If you give a shorter notice than required, that notice becomes invalid and you must start the process over again.
Terminating a Lease
You need to end the tenant’s lease and provide him an opportunity to vacate the premises before an eviction filing. If you’re lucky, the tenant may decide to leave by the termination date of the lease and spare you the trouble of eviction.
When you terminate a lease, you must have a valid reason. If the reason doesn’t have anything to do with the tenant, then it’s considered no fault. Terminating a tenant’s lease so that the landlord’s family can move into the unit or to demolish the unit, are both examples of situations that are considered no fault. If the reason is related to the tenant, then it’s for cause. Here are a few common examples:
- The tenant isn’t paying rent
- The tenant is conducting criminal activities in the unit
- There are too many people living in the unit
Select the appropriate notice form from your area’s rental board, fill it out with details on why you’re terminating the lease and the end date, then give the notice to the tenant. You can mail it, post it on the unit’s front door, give it to any adult who answers the door, or put it in the mailbox. Keep a copy of the form, and record the date.
Depending on the issue, you may try to work with a tenant first. For example, if the tenant is delinquent on rent, you could use a form notifying him that he must catch up on what he owes within a certain time frame or have the lease terminated.
Notifying the Renter of the Eviction Filing
If the tenant’s lease ends and he hasn’t moved out, then you need to apply with your area’s rental board requesting an eviction order. The rental board sets a date for a hearing, and you’re responsible for giving a notice of the hearing to the tenant. While you can mail the notice through certified mail, you run the risk of the tenant not accepting it. It’s better to hire a process server to deliver the notice for you.
Do your best to maintain a professional relationship with the tenant throughout this process, regardless of the reason you’re evicting him. By treating the tenant respectfully, you’re making the situation less emotionally charged and the tenant is less likely to take his frustrations out on the property before he leaves.
Preparing for an Eviction Hearing
At the hearing, you and the tenant have the chance to present your cases to the court. Remember that the more evidence you bring with you, the better, because you never know what you’re going to need. Make sure you have a copy of the tenant’s lease so you can demonstrate that the tenant agreed to certain terms and is now not following them.
If the tenant isn’t paying his rent, the case should be fairly cut and dry. You go in, show the court how much the tenant is supposed to pay, and when the tenant can’t show proof of payment, it’s obvious who’s in the right. If you’re evicting the tenant for another reason, then you should gather any potential evidence that could bolster your case, such as witnesses, photos, or documents.
Since you’re managing the property, it’s best to keep the owner updated throughout the eviction process. It may also be the owner’s call whether to go to the hearing or have you go as a representative, depending on the terms of your agreement.
Resolutions After the Hearing
If you have a legal reason to evict the tenant and you follow the eviction process correctly, you should end up with a favourable ruling. The court makes an eviction order and gives the tenant a date to leave by. If the tenant still doesn’t leave by that date, you can file an order with the sheriff to have the tenant removed. This could happen in a matter of days, or the sheriff may take a few weeks. You do need to wait for law enforcement, as you aren’t allowed to evict a tenant on your own.
The eviction process can be a lengthy one, making it all the more important to start promptly and avoid errors, keeping everything as hassle-free as possible.