A hand being held up to indicate stop.

October 1st, 2018

What to do if I want to stop renting my property

The word eviction might make you think of negative behaviour by a tenant - e.g. missed payments or damaged property. But sometimes you may wish to bid farewell to a good tenant.

Maybe you want to rent the space to a family member. Maybe you’ve been renting your basement, but a new addition to the family means your office needs to drop down a floor. Whatever the reason, you can evict a tenant when you decide you no longer wish to publicly rent your property.

But before you make any decisions, it’s vital you understand and follow the legal guidelines.

What reasons can I legally evict a tenant for?

Under the law a landlord must have a valid reason to evict a tenant. Often, this involves poor behaviour, like causing excessive noise. However, a landlord can also legally evict a tenant if they want to renovate, or demolish the premises, or if they require the space for personal use-including renting to family members.

You must ensure you are open and honest with your tenants, but if they refuse to move, you can not evict them without going through the correct process.

How much notice do I have to give?

The amount of notice you have to give to a tenant before asking them to leave depends on your reason for doing so.

Say you’ve been renting your basement but have now decided you want to use the space for yourself. You will have to give your tenant at least 60 days’ notice. The same applies if you are hoping to rent out the space to a family member or caregiver.

If you want to start construction work, or tear down the space you are currently renting, you have to give at least 120 days.

What process must I follow when asking a tenant to move out?

There are six key parts of the process to ask a tenant to move out.

  • Give written notice: First and foremost, you should give your tenant written notice explaining the reason you want them to leave, and when you need them to leave by. If you are on good terms with your tenant, this may very well be the only step in the whole process.
  • File an application with the board: Alas, there are occasions where your tenant might not want to move out, or they may not think the terms set out are unfair. In this case, once the required notice period has passed, you may go to the Landlord and Tenant Board and apply for a hearing. You will be asked to fill out an Application to Terminate a Tenancy and Evict a Tenant, and file it at the board alongside an application fee. The board will then give you a hearing date and prepare a notice for your tenant.
  • Give the application and hearing notice to your tenant: It is only fair that your tenant is kept in the know, and therefore you must deliver a copy of the application and notice of hearing to the tenant at least ten days before the hearing.
  • File a certificate of service with the board: Once it has been verified that all of the right documents are in the right hands, you must fill out a Certificate of Service form, and file it with the Board no later than five days after you have delivered paperwork to your tenant. In many cases, the Board may contact both parties and try to help solve the issues outside of the courtroom during mediation.
  • Attend the hearing: Both you and the tenant must attend the hearing. If you do not show up, the application may be dismissed. If the tenant does not show up, chances are the ruling will go in your favour.
  • The final ruling and eviction order: If the Board agrees you should be allowed to evict your tenant for personal reasons, an Eviction Order will be issues stating when they must leave the premises. If they continue to refuse, you must file an application for a sheriff to come and evict the tenant. You cannot change the locks or remove the tenants belongings with a sheriff.

Having to ask a tenant to leave is never going to be a pleasant experience, particularly if they have been a good tenant. Having an open discourse could be the key to a straightforward transition.