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Landlords call on province to speed up eviction process for unpaid rent

A group of landlords are calling on the province to speed up the eviction process when tenants don’t pay rent, saying months of backlogs at the Landlord and Tenant Board is costing thousands.

“We are seeing homeowners and landlords lose their properties. We are seeing them go into significant debt just to hold on to their houses,” said Ottawa property manager, Varun Sriskanda.

Sriskanda says landlords are waiting months and even longer for a hearing at the Landlord and Tenant Board, all while unpaid rent piles up.

“You either paid rent or you didn’t pay rent. We waste about one year going to a hearing that we know from the very start will go in the landlords’ favour,” said Sriskanda.

Between 2022 and 2023, the LTB received more than 37,000 applications to evict tenants for non-payment of rent. Only seven per cent were heard within its target of 50 to 55 calendar days.

“It’s the small guys that are getting obliterated. It’s the small ones that are going bankrupt, not the big operators, so the issues at the LTB have a dramatic impact,” said Toronto-area landlord, Chris Seepe.

Seepe estimates he loses between $15,000 and $30,000 a year in unpaid rent and recently started a petition calling on the Ontario government to implement automatic evictions.

It has received just over 32,000 signatures.

Such a policy, if implemented, would follow in the footsteps of provinces like British Columbia, where landlords can apply for an expedited 10-day eviction notice for non-payment of rent.

“I don’t believe that there’s any adjudication process required. It should simply be, here’s an order. You need to move out without penalty, let’s say and then it gets turned over to the sheriff’s office,” said Seepe.

“It’s fundamental contract law administered under common law. And if you don’t pay for that, then you have to move.”

Tenant advocates don’t agree with the policy of automatic evictions, saying it’s simply part of the risk that comes with renting out a property.

They say speeding up the process could mean fewer rights for tenants.

“I think the petition is obscene and ridiculous,” said Edward Rouè, chair of the central Ottawa chapter of ACORN.

“It says nothing of the direct impact on all the people who again are going to lose their homes or would lose their homes without so much as the courtesy of being able to explain their situation to someone at the Landlord Tenant Board.”

Seepe estimates landlords are loosing about $1 billion a year. He believes the change would help alleviate the backlog, create more rental units and incentivize more landlords to enter the market.

“Once landlords or housing providers realize they have the law of the land protecting their investment and that they can get an eviction, they’re much more willing to take the risk of renting out the property,” said Seepe.

CTV News reached out to the Ministry of Housing and the Landlord and Tenant Board but did not hear back in time for deadline.

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