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How a Landlord Can End a Tenancy
The Residential Tenancies Act (the Act) has rules for how a landlord can end a residential tenancy and evict a tenant. This brochure provides some general information about these rules.
It is not a complete summary of the law and it is not intended to provide legal advice. If you need more information about the law, please see For More Information at the end of this brochure.
There are special rules for ending a tenancy in a care home. These rules are not explained in this brochure. For information about the rules relating to cares homes, see the Board’s brochure on Care Homes.
Information in this brochure
When a landlord rents a unit to a person, they enter into a tenancy agreement - a contract in which the tenant agrees to pay rent for the right to live in the rental unit. This agreement may be in writing or it may be an oral or implied agreement. A written tenancy agreement is often called a lease.
Fixed term tenancy
If the landlord and tenant agree that the tenancy will last for a specific period of time, this is called a fixed term tenancy. This is because both the start and end date are set out in the tenancy agreement. Most leases are for a fixed term, usually for a year.
Renewing a lease
The end of a fixed term tenancy or lease does not mean that the tenant has to move out or sign a renewal or new lease in order to stay.
The lease is renewed automatically on a month-to-month basis (if the rent is paid monthly) or week-to-week basis (if rent is paid weekly). This means the landlord and tenant do not have to sign a new fixed term lease when the term of the lease runs out. All the rules of the former lease will still apply to the landlord and tenant.
The landlord and tenant can also agree to renew the tenancy agreement for another fixed term period, or enter into a new lease. If the landlord and tenant agree to enter into a new lease, the terms of the lease can only be changed in accordance with the Act.
Security of tenancy
Tenants have security of tenancy. This means that a tenant can continue to occupy the rental unit until:
If the landlord gives a tenant notice to end the tenancy, the tenant does not have to move out. The landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board (the Board) for an order allowing the eviction of the tenant. The tenant has the right to go to a hearing and explain why they should not be evicted.
Landlord cannot lock tenant out of the rental unit
It is illegal for a landlord to change the locks to a rental unit or the building, without giving the tenant a key for the new locks. The only exceptions are where:
It is an offence for a landlord to illegally lock a tenant out of their rental unit or the building. If a landlord is convicted in Provincial Court under the Provincial Offences Act, they could be fined up to $25,000 if the landlord is an individual, or $100,000, if the landlord is a corporation.
If a tenant is illegally locked out and if the unit is still vacant, the tenant can apply to the Board for an order that requires the landlord to let the tenant back into the unit.
Agreement to End a Tenancy
Landlord and tenant can agree to end the tenancy
A landlord and tenant can agree to end the tenancy at any time, even during the term of a lease. They can make an oral agreement to end the tenancy, but it is best to have a written agreement. This way, if there is any confusion about the agreement, both the landlord and tenant have a written copy to refer to. Written agreements should be signed by all parties included in the agreement.
The Board has an Agreement to Terminate a Tenancy (Form N11) that landlords and tenants can use.
A landlord cannot require a tenant to agree to end a tenancy, or to sign, at the start of the tenancy, an agreement to end the tenancy at a later date. (There are, however, certain exemptions for student housing and care homes.)
If tenant changes their mind
If a tenant agreed with the landlord to end the tenancy and later changes their mind, the tenant can ask the landlord if they will consent to a new agreement allowing the tenancy to continue.
The landlord can apply to the Board for an order to evict the tenant if the tenant refuses to leave as agreed to, unless the landlord and tenant make a new agreement.
Important: In this situation, the landlord can make an application to the Board for an eviction order without giving the tenant notice that they have done so. The tenant will not be made aware of the application until they receive the eviction order from the Board. The tenant can apply to the Board to stop the eviction if the tenant believes that the eviction order should not have been given.
Notice to End a Tenancy
Landlord must give proper notice
A landlord can end a tenancy only for the reasons allowed by the Act.
In most cases, the first step is for the landlord to give the tenant a notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out.
The proper forms a landlord must use for giving a notice to end the tenancy are available from the Board. There are different notices for different reasons.
Landlords must use the correct notice form and fill it out completely and accurately to ensure that the tenant receives all the information that the Act requires. If the landlord does not give the tenant all the information required by the Act, the notice may be void. And, if the landlord files an application to evict the tenant based on an incomplete or incorrect notice, the application may be dismissed.
Reasons for ending a tenancy
The Act allows a landlord to give a tenant notice to end the tenancy early if the tenant, the tenant’s guest or someone else who lives in the rental unit does something they should not do, or does not do something they should. This is sometimes called ending a tenancy “for cause”.
Some examples of “for cause” reasons for ending a tenancy are:
There are also other reasons for ending a tenancy that are not related to what the tenant has done, or not done. These are sometimes called “no fault” reasons for ending a tenancy.
Some examples of “no fault” reasons for ending a tenancy are:
A complete list of the Reasons a Landlord can Apply to Evict a Tenant is provided at the end of this brochure.
When the landlord must give notice
Where a notice to end a tenancy must be given, the landlord must give the notice to the tenant before the termination date (the day the tenancy will end). The amount of advance notice depends on the reason for ending the tenancy.
The list of Reasons a Landlord can Apply to Evict a Tenant provided at the end of this brochure shows the amount of advance notice required for each reason.
For some of the for cause reasons for ending a tenancy, a tenant can prevent the tenancy from ending by stopping the behaviour referred to in the notice, or by doing what the notice requests. This is a called a tenant’s remedy. The notice explains what this is, and gives a deadline for the tenant to comply. If the tenant does what the notice asks them to do by the deadline, the notice to end the tenancy is then void. The landlord cannot apply to the Board to evict a tenant based on a void notice.
For those reasons for ending a tenancy that do not have a remedy, the tenant cannot do anything to void the notice. However, this does not mean the tenant has to move out.
If the tenant does not move out after receiving a notice to end the tenancy, the landlord can file an application to the Board to end the tenancy. The Board will decide if the tenancy should end after holding a hearing. Both the landlord and the tenant can come to the hearing and explain their side of the story to a Member of the Board. (For information about when a landlord can apply to the Board see the Application to the Board section).
Application to the Board
Applying for approval to end the tenancy
A landlord can apply to the Board for approval to end a tenancy if:
If there is a tenant remedy, the landlord cannot file an application to the Board unless the tenant fails to correct the behavior referred to in the notice, or fails to do what the notice requested, by the deadline set out in the notice.
Where the tenant does not have a remedy, the landlord can file their application as soon as they give the notice to the tenant.
Deadline to apply
In most cases, there is a deadline by which the landlord must file their application to the Board.
Most, but not all, landlord applications must be made within 30 days of the termination date set out in the notice. However, there is no deadline for making an application to terminate a tenancy where the landlord has given the tenant a Notice to End a Tenancy Early for Non-Payment of Rent (Form N4).
The list of Reasons a Landlord can Apply to Evict a Tenant provided at the end of this brochure shows the deadline for filing each application.
A hearing will be scheduled
In most cases, the Board will schedule a hearing to decide the landlord’s application. However, the Board will not usually schedule a hearing if the application was made because the tenant:
If a hearing is going to be held, it may be one of three types:
The Board will decide which type of hearing you will have.
Landlord must inform tenant of the hearing
The Board will issue a Notice of Hearing and give it to the landlord. The landlord must give a copy of the Notice of Hearing and a copy of their application to the tenant. The deadline for giving the Notice of Hearing depends on the reason the landlord is ending the tenancy.
Information about the deadline for serving the Application and Notice of Hearing can be found in the Board’s brochure, Instructions for Landlords: How to serve the Application and Notice of Hearing.
Tenant can dispute the application at the hearing
At the hearing, a landlord will have to prove that the tenant should be evicted. The tenant can go to the hearing to explain why they should not be evicted, even if they have done something that is a reason for eviction.
Even though a landlord proves their case in an application to evict a tenant, the Board must consider all the circumstances of each case to decide whether or not the eviction should be refused or delayed.
A Member of the Board will make a decision about the landlord’s application to end the tenancy and whether the tenant should be evicted or not.
The Member’s decision is always put in writing. This written decision is called an order. The Board will mail a copy of the order to both the landlord and tenant, and their representatives, if any.
Only the Sheriff can evict a tenant
If a tenant doesn’t leave the rental unit by the termination date in the eviction order, a landlord cannot personally enforce the order (remove a tenant from a rental unit or change the locks). See the section called Landlord cannot lock tenant out of the rental unit for more information.
An eviction order can only be enforced by the Court Enforcement Office (the “Sheriff’s Office”). The Board does not enforce an order.
The landlord must file a copy of the Board order with the Sheriff’s Office to have the order enforced. The Sheriff’s Office will charge the landlord a fee for the enforcement of the order. Further information about enforcement can be obtained from the Sheriff’s Office.
For More Information
The Board also has brochures on these related topics:
Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board
This brochure provides general information only. For more information, or to obtain copies of the Board’s forms and publications, you can:
Release date: September 14, 2007
ISBN 978-1-4249-3007-4 (HTML)
© Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2007 - Last Modified: March 07, 2010
This information is provided as a public service. Although we endeavor to ensure that the information is as current and accurate as possible, errors do occasionally occur. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. Readers should where possible verify the information before acting on it.