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Bill 184, therefore, does provide tenants with an opportunity for redress in case they are not pleased with a negotiated settlement with their landlords, and the LTB still has oversight of the arrangements reached by landlords and tenants.
But tenant advocates are critical of the provisions in Bill 184 that enable a landlord to get an eviction notice without notifying the tenant if the tenant is in breach of the negotiated repayment plan. Tenant advocates believe that landlords will be able to act on evictions unilaterally without any oversight by the LTB.
The Ontario government’s position is that this is not a new provision.The existing Residential Tenancies Act allows landlords to secure an eviction notice should the tenant breach the mediated settlement endorsed by the LTB.
Trade groups representing landlords point out that under Bill 184, a tenant could still challenge an eviction notice, thus making the LTB the final authority in a dispute between a landlord and a tenant.
Until recently, moratoriums of one kind or another on residential rental evictions had been in place across Canada. Provincially declared emergencies restricted landlords from evicting tenants who had defaulted on rent payments. Ontario’s moratorium on evictions was lifted in late July. The LTB, which was not conducting eviction hearings since the lockdown, also started to operate again on Tuesday.
For those who have the financial wherewithal to reach an agreement with their landlords, Bill 184 will help them to do so without having to wait for a hearing at the LTB.
But for tens of thousands of renters who have lost their jobs, paying rent on time may not be an option, despite the help from various tiers of government. Without jobs or stable pay, those tenants are unlikely to come to a resolution with their landlords. For them, the LTB might continue to be the mediator of last resort.
Murtaza Haider is a professor of Real Estate Management at Ryerson University. Stephen Moranis is a real estate industry veteran. They can be reached at www.hmbulletin.com.