Is the LTB collapsing under its case weight?

October 20th, 2020 by Celia Chandler

As you likely know, because of the pandemic restrictions, the Landlord and Tenant Board (the LTB) suspended hearings related to eviction applications and also put the brakes on issuing eviction orders. The Sheriff too was stopped from carrying out eviction orders from mid March until the end of July.

In our August 5 post, we told you that LTB had started to:

  • issue eviction orders that are pending;
  • issue consent eviction orders which are based on landlord and tenants settling their dispute through an agreement;
  • continue to hear urgent eviction matters related to health and safety that are scheduled;
  • schedule hearings for non-urgent evictions; and
  • conduct non-urgent eviction hearings starting in mid-August and into the fall.

(For more info on what’s happening at the LTB, take a look at their website here.)

Throughout the height of the restrictions, clients asked us to continue to file applications on their behalf so that they would be in the queue ready for the LTB to deal with when they got up and running. There weren’t a lot – our clients are sensitive to the very challenging times that many of their tenants and co op members have experienced and have held back on all but the most serious files. We have worked closely with many of them to try to resolve non payment and behaviour through other methods. But for those serious cases, we have filed applications – nine for behaviour and four for arrears since March 16. Two of those were filed on an urgent basis and these are the only two for which we have received hearing dates.

We are very concerned that the LTB is collapsing under the weight of the considerable backlog. As readers of this blog will know, the system was already very overwhelmed long before COVID-19 because the government had failed to fill adjudicator vacancies. Take a look at our piece on that from May 2019 here.

What is the answer for housing providers? Yes, it is a difficult time for tenants. The vast majority of our clients – non profits and housing co ops – are not “pro eviction”. They are, however, in favour of having quality and timely access to fair adjudication of valid eviction cases. They are also providing affordable housing which is in very short supply. Some are occupying units without paying or behaving in a way that is inconsistent with the standard required in the Residential Tenancies Act. This is leaving others without any housing at all.

We urge the province to find ways to clear the LTB backlog. But we also urge all orders of government to redouble efforts to find fast ways to house people.

Filed in: Co-operative Law, Housing

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