By MPP Jessica Bell
Duty council lawyers have been sounding the alarm for months that landlord matters are routinely scheduled ahead of tenant matters at the Landlord & Tenant Board (LTB). This means that landlord applications to evict are being fast-tracked ahead of tenant concerns about illegal lockouts, harassment, and a failure to complete basic maintenance.
The Attorney General Doug Downey and the LTB have refused to heed our repeated requests to release statistics documenting how many tenant applications and landlord applications the LTB has and is processing, and the average wait time for each type of application.
Now, after months of delaying tenant applications, the LTB has decided to notify tenant applicants by email advising them that their applications will be pushed back to 2022, and if they do not respond by December 7th via email to confirm they want to proceed, their applications may be considered “administratively closed”.
In order for renters to live and safe well maintained homes, the LTB must provide fast and fair hearings to tenants and landlords. The tribunal's threat to kick already long-delayed tenant cases completely out of the queue is unfair, unjust and harmful. Some tenants will be forced to live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Some tenants will be illegally evicted. This shouldn't be happening in a law-abiding province like Ontario.
These concerns have also been raised by the Ontario legal clinic association, ACTO, in a statement they released on Friday November 26.
The LTB is one of Ontario’s busiest tribunals, resolving disputes between tenants who see a house as a home, and landlords who view that same house as an investment.
The Ontario Ombudsman has launched an investigation into delays into the LTB, and I have called for that investigation to be expanded to address whether the tribunal's new online format is providing everyone with access to a fair hearing, which is their right.
If you have or know someone who has received this letter, please reach out to our office at [email protected] or call us at 416 535 7206.