What Toronto Landlords Need to Know About Renovictions

 

After a tough year of rent freezes, inflated real estate prices, and economic headwinds, landlords in the GTA are looking to the future. This time of year, when spring is on the horizon and the new year signals a new start, many Toronto property owners are looking to spruce up their investments and finally get around to those big construction projects they’ve been postponing.

But what if your property is currently occupied? Is it possible to turf out tenants so you can do necessary repairs with a “renoviction?” In a word, yes. But, as with most property issues, it’s not quite that simple.

What is an N13 eviction?

Also termed a ‘renoviction’, an N13 eviction covers situations where a landlord wants to do some work on his property and needs the unit vacant to do so. Acceptable grounds for eviction under an N13 fall into one of three categories:

  1. The landlord intends to demolish the rental unit or residential complex
  2. The landlord needs the unit vacant so they do repairs or renovations so extensive that they’re required to get a building permit and the rental unit must be vacant to do the work
  3. The landlord wants to convert the unit or complex to non-residential use

In the case of extensive repairs/renovations, tenants have the right to move back into the unit once they’re completed – as long as they give the landlord written notice. Where the property is being demolished or converted, landlords must pay compensation before the tenancy is terminated.

While the legislation sounds clear, the reality can get complicated. Tenants, understandably, aren’t always thrilled at the idea of packing up so the landlord’s workmen can start ripping up their home and disputes often arise over what constitutes repairs, what rights and responsibilities tenants have, and whether there are grounds to challenge the eviction notice.

How can I use an N13 eviction?

N13 evictions tend to generate scolding headlines, as tenants claim that the law is being used by unscrupulous landlords to oust them from the property under the guise of fixing it up. 

This puts the onus on landlords to know their rights inside and out. You may think you have grounds for an N15, but there are strict procedures to follow if you want to see it through.

First, the landlord has to serve their tenant with an eviction notice, outlining the details of what renovations will take place and what permits have been (or will be) secured. This notice must include a termination date no less than 120 days from when the notice is served. If the tenant wants to move out sooner, they’re welcome to, provided they give their landlord ten days written notice before evacuating.

If a dispute arises – if, for example, the tenant challenges the legitimacy of the repairs or demands compensation – the matter is referred to the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario (LTB) which will generally schedule an in-person or virtual hearing to resolve it. The landlord will likely be asked to prove the claims they’ve made, and their tenant then has a chance to air their concerns and respond.

The LTB takes many factors into account for these types of hearings – putting a lot of weight on what’s called the ‘good faith requirement’. This looks at whether landlords are acting in good faith and genuinely trying to carry out their repairs or renovations rather than just getting rid of a troublesome tenant. One factor that will count against landlords here is whether they’ve served previous N13 notices within the past two years. And they should ensure any building permits are already obtained or underway.

As with most issues, the devil’s in the details. When problems arise in these types of evictions, they usually stem from varying interpretations of what repairs actually mean. Does drywalling fit the definition of ‘extensive repairs’? What about giving the lobby a new coat of paint? These matters aren’t black and white and it can be tough for both landlords and tenants to navigate the grey areas. That’s why landlords should consider legal advice or work with a reputable property management firm to be confident they’re safe from challenges and on the right side of the law.

Highgate Property Management has extensive experience working with landlords and their tenants to ensure peaceful and productive relationships. Our team has the industry know-how and knowledge to guide you through any issues with your investment. Contact us today to find out more about our property management and realty services.  

 

By |2022-02-11T15:17:41+00:00February 1st, 2022|Home Improvement & Reno, Residential property, Toronto Tenant/Landlord Relations|Comments Off on What Toronto Landlords Need to Know About Renovictions
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