Roommate arrangements can be a blessing for many Toronto tenants, splitting the burden of paying the rent and utilities between two or more people. It’s most common for young people to live with roommates, especially during college and the early days of entering the workforce. These relationships often work out perfectly well without any interference by a landlord, but there are plenty of times when an arrangement simply isn’t working out and the landlord is forced to interfere.
Co-tenant and roommate agreements only work when all parties are upholding their end of the bargain – when one roommate neglects their duties or responsibilities, things can quickly spiral out of control. When roommate living situations go bad, they can be catastrophic. These situations usually require a roommate eviction, which can be a tricky process for both landlords and tenants.
Who is responsible for evicting a roommate?
The party in charge of dealing with a roommate eviction will depend on how the situation has been arranged. The first question you’ll need to answer is how exactly has the lease agreement been signed? Is the roommate on the lease agreement, or is the principal tenant the only person on the lease? This will decide who is responsible for evicting a roommate, and how they’ll proceed in doing so.
What if the roommate isn’t on the lease agreement?
If the roommate is not on the lease agreement, the problem generally falls on the tenant on the lease, as they’ve arranged to have a roommate and the landlord may not even be aware of the arrangement.
A roommate who isn’t on the landlord-tenant lease agreement has a rental agreement with the legal tenant which isn’t covered by the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). This means that the responsibility will generally fall on you to evict your roommate – they are your subtenant. If your roommate has violated the rental agreement or has neglected to pay their part of the rent or utilities, then you have just cause to evict them from your unit with proper notice. If they refuse to leave after this time, you may have to seek assistance from the authorities or your landlord.
If the roommate is on the lease agreement
If the roommate in question is also on the same lease agreement, then the tenants are co-tenants, and the landlord will be responsible for the eviction process. Evicting a roommate on a lease agreement follows the same process as any tenant, though it can become complicated as all tenants are under the same lease and both will be equally liable for paying rent and following the terms outlined in the lease.
Under these situations, the landlord has legal grounds to evict all tenants under the lease agreement, though the non-evicted tenant(s) can request that the landlord sign an agreement releasing them from liability. The remaining tenant(s) may be responsible for the damages or nonpayments of the evicted co-tenant, and may pursue legal action against that party, though it would have to take place in a small claims court. Non-evicted tenants who have been upholding their end of the lease agreement may also request to sign a new lease agreement with the landlord.
If all tenants are on separate agreements with the landlord, then the other parties occupying the property are not responsible for repaying damages/missed payments. In this situation, the landlord would evict a roommate using the process outlined by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) without affecting other tenants.
Toronto property management companies like HighGate Properties have experience dealing with roommate evictions and co-tenant evictions, saving you time and money by applying our team’s expertise to quickly resolve the process in a way that benefits you and the tenants upholding the lease agreement. For more information about the Toronto property management and real estate services offered by the team at HighGate Properties, contact us today.