How to Serve a Landlord or Tenant with Documents

Table of Contents


This brochure explains the rules for serving documents on another party. It is not a complete summary of the Residential Tenancies Act and it is not legal advice.

What does it mean to serve a document?

Landlords and tenants involved in a case at the LTB are called parties. Giving the documents related to your case to another party is called “serving” the other party. You may be able to serve a document in person, by courier, by mail or by email, depending on the situation. The Landlord and Tenant Board serves documents on parties as well.

When you need to serve a document

Notices: A landlord may need to give a tenant a notice of entry, a notice of rent increase or a notice of termination. A tenant may need to give a landlord a notice of termination. The timing for serving the notice depends on the reason so be sure to read the instructions carefully.

Applications: In most cases, the Landlord and Tenant Board will serve the application on the other side, but there are exceptions. For example, landlords are usually required to serve tenants with an above guideline rent increase application and landlords who are applying for an order for unpaid rent, damages or compensation from a former tenant, will have to serve the former tenant the application and the notice of hearing. Occasionally, the LTB will order a landlord or tenant to give a copy of their application or motion and notice of hearing to the other side.

Proof of service

If you file an application with the LTB that relates to a notice of termination, you must give the LTB a copy of the notice or document you served as well as a Certificate of Service completed by the person who served the notice. The Certificate of Service tells the LTB when, where and how the document was served.

Consequences of not serving or not serving correctly

If you don’t serve a document that you were required to, it is possible that your application or motion will be dismissed. If you serve a document using a method that is not permitted, you may be required to prove at the hearing when and how the other party received the document

Method of service determines when the LTB considers them received

Many notices and documents must be given by a deadline. For example, the tenant must usually be served an N4 notice of termination for rent arrears at least 14 days before the termination date listed on the notice. The method you use to serve documents will determine when the LTB considers them to be received.

Method you use to serve the document When the documents are considered received

Handing them to the party in-person  

The day you hand the documents to the party

Leaving them in that person’s mailbox or if there is no mailbox, by leaving it at the place where mail is ordinarily delivered to the person

The day you leave the documents in the mailbox or at the place mail is ordinarily delivered

Sending them by courier

The first day after the documents were sent, or if that day is a holiday, the next day that is not a holiday

Sending them by fax to the person’s home or business fax

The date on the fax confirmation

Sending them by regular mail to that person’s last known home or business address

5 days after you mailed the documents

Emailing them.

Note: You are only allowed to serve documents by email if the person has agreed in writing to accept documents by email, e.g. in the standard lease or by signing the Consent to Service by Email.

The day you send the email



More Methods of Service

The methods of service above can be used in any circumstance, except when a landlord is filing an application against a former tenant. Other ways of serving a document that apply to specific people are noted in the table below.

Person or organization you are serving Acceptable method of service

Landlord

Give the documents to an employee or representative of the landlord (such as a superintendent or property manager)

Tenant, subtenant or occupant of the rental unit or a co-op member

Give the documents to an apparent adult in the unit

Tenant, subtenant, or occupant of the rental unit or a co-op member

Place the documents under the door of the unit or put them through the mail slot in the door of the unit (as long as the person is still in possession of the unit.)

Person’s agent or representative

Deliver the documents to the person’s agent or representative by fax, mail or courier. 

Non-profit housing co-operative

Place the documents under the door of a non-profit housing co-operative's head office or business office, or give them to the manager or co-ordinator

Serving a Former Tenant

A landlord must give a former tenant an Application to Collect Money a Former Tenant Owes (L10) and notice of hearing using one of these methods:

Alternative Methods of Service

You may ask the LTB for permission to use an alternative method of service including service by email or service on the party's representative. The request must be made in writing prior to the hearing or at the hearing.

Learn More


Contact the Landlord and Tenant Board

Call us:
Toll free: 1-888-332-3234
Toronto area: 416-645-8080
TTY: Bell Relay Service at 1-800-268-9242

Visit our website at tribunalsontario.ca/ltb
Map a solution to your dispute: Navigate Tribunals Ontario


Last updated: September 2021