A landlord who follows the rules in the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA), and gets an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), can go to the sheriff to have you removed from your unit and get the locks changed if you don't leave. This is a legal eviction.
However, sometimes a landlord will change the locks without getting an LTB eviction order while the tenant is still living in the rental unit. This is an illegal lockout.
Different situations have slightly different procedures. For example, the process for evicting a tenant for not paying their rent is not exactly the same as the process used when a tenant damages the unit. However, for most evictions, the landlord must follow the five steps below:
In the cases below, your landlord can apply to the LTB without giving you a notice, and the LTB can issue an eviction order without having a hearing:
It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your unit. Only a sheriff from the Court Enforcement Office can force you to move out. A sheriff will only force you to move out if your landlord has received an eviction order from the LTB and you didn't move out by the date specified in the order.
Remember: A notice of termination is not an eviction order.
A notice of termination is your landlord asking you to move out of your rental unit. An eviction order is an LTB decision ordering you and all other occupants to move out of your unit.
If a landlord doesn't follow the RTA process and locks you out illegally, you can:
If your landlord has locked you out illegally, you can file the Application about Tenant Rights (Form T2) to ask the LTB for an order requiring your landlord to let you back into your unit and continue your tenancy.
Fill out the T2: Application about Tenant Rights. You can save time and money by filing your application through the Tribunals Ontario Portal.
It is important that you act quickly. Once another tenant is living in the unit, the LTB cannot order the landlord to let you back in.
You can also get this application and the instructions on how to complete it at tribunalsontario.ca/ltb/forms, at a ServiceOntario location, or by calling us.
If you use the paper form, you can mail it or drop it off at a ServiceOntario location.
When you file the completed application, LTB staff will schedule a hearing on the next available date and send you a Notice of Hearing with the date and time of your hearing.
To ask for an earlier hearing date, fill out the Request to Extend or Shorten Time and file it with your application. In your request, you will need to explain why your situation is urgent. An LTB member will decide whether or not to give you an earlier hearing date. The decision is made as quickly as possible.
In your request, you can also ask the LTB to make an interim order which would prevent the landlord from renting the unit to anyone else or getting rid of your property before the hearing is held.
In most cases, the LTB will send a copy of the application and the Notice of Hearing to you and your landlord. The exception is if the LTB has agreed to hold an early hearing.
If the LTB has agreed to hold an early hearing, you will have to "serve" (deliver) the application and Notice of Hearing on your landlord. You will need two copies of the Notice of Hearing and two copies of your application. Keep one copy of each document for yourself and give the second copy to your landlord. It is important that you give the landlord (or their representative) copies of both the Notice of Hearing and the application right away; the same day if possible. You can deliver them by hand or send them by courier or fax. You can email the documents if the landlord has agreed in writing to accept documents by email, e.g. in the standard lease or by signing the Consent to Service by Email. Once you have given the landlord their copy, you must file a completed Certificate of Service with the LTB, explaining how and when you gave these documents to the landlord.
At the hearing, both you and your landlord will each have a chance to explain your side of the situation. You may bring a lawyer or an agent to represent you. You can contact the Tenant Duty Counsel program to get free legal advice before your hearing. Request a consultation online at acto.ca or call 1-800-668-8258.
If you want to have witnesses attend to support your case, complete the Request for the LTB to Issue a Summons.
You need to provide the LTB and the landlord with all your evidence and written submissions at least 7 days before the hearing or 5 days in the case of reply evidence, unless the LTB orders or directs otherwise. For more information, read the Practice Direction on Evidence.
Once the LTB member (adjudicator) has heard what you and your landlord have to say, they will consider the evidence and arguments and issue an order.
The member could order that the landlord:
The member could also order that your tenancy be terminated on a specific date.
The member may announce the decision at the end of the hearing or may wait and give the decision in the written order. The order will be emailed or mailed to you and your landlord.
If the LTB orders your landlord to let you move back into your unit and your landlord does not obey the order, you will need to have the order enforced by a sheriff. This means you will have to ask the Court Enforcement Office for your area to come to your unit and make sure that the landlord lets you back in. You will have to pay a fee.
You will need to act quickly. If you don't apply within 15 days of the date on the order, it will expire and the sheriff cannot make your landlord let you move back in.
To find the Court Enforcement Office in your municipality, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General's court finder and select "Enforcement" in the "Choose a court office" drop down menu.