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The Residential Tenancies Act has rules for landlords and tenants to follow. If a landlord or a tenant thinks someone has not followed these rules, they can file an application with the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).
When an application is filed, the LTB will schedule a hearing. The LTB holds a hearing to consider the application. The person who made the application will try to show why the application should be granted, and the other side tries to show why it should not be granted.
The person in charge of the hearing is called a member. The member will listen to what each person has to say and then make a decision.
The Landlord and Tenant Board also holds case management hearings for applications filed by landlords who want to raise rent above the guideline because they have made capital expenditures (major renovations, repairs, replacements or additions). Case management hearings are discussed in more detail in the Practice Direction on Case Management Hearings.
A member (adjudicator) will be at your hearing. The member is in charge of the hearing. They cannot provide legal advice or tell you how to present your case. It is up to you to present evidence that supports your position. The member may ask questions during the hearing.
The person who filed the application is called the applicant. The applicant or their representative must come to the hearing. If they do not, their application may be dismissed.
The other person named in the application is called the respondent. They are also given notice to come to the hearing. If the respondent or their representative does not come, a decision can be made without them.
The applicant and the respondent are called parties to the application. In most cases, this is the landlord and tenant. In some cases, there may be more than one landlord or more than one tenant.
If the applicant or respondent has a representative who will represent them during the hearing, that person will be at the hearing too.
If a party has a witness or witnesses who can tell the member something about the situation, then they will also be in the hearing room for some or all of the hearing.
Hearings are held in one of 4 formats:
The LTB will decide which format your hearing will be in.
Once an application is filed, the LTB will usually mail a copy of the application and the Notice of Hearing to you and the other parties.
The Notice of Hearing tells you the time, date, and location of your hearing, or if a written hearing will be held, it tells you the deadlines for filing documents with the LTB.
If you are having an oral hearing, you should arrive at your hearing 30 minutes before the actual start time so that you have time to sign in, locate your hearing room and organize yourself for the hearing. If you are late, the LTB can decide to hold the hearing and make a decision about the application without you.
If you are having a telephone hearing, make sure you call in at the time on your notice of hearing, using the numbers provided. If you have a video hearing, join the videoconference 30 minutes before the start time.
Every hearing takes a different amount of time. The length of your hearing can depend on things like:
For oral and video hearings, there are usually several hearings booked on the same day and time as yours. Everyone is asked to come at the same time. The member will decide the order in which each application will be heard that day.
You should not be late for your hearing because if you are, the application may be heard without you. On the other hand, you may have to wait several hours for your case to be called. You should plan to be at your hearing for the entire day, just in case your hearing is called later in the day.
You can represent yourself at the hearing, or you can have someone else represent you. A representative can be a lawyer, a paralegal, a friend or a relative.
If you have anyone other than a lawyer or paralegal represent you, you must give the LTB your written permission to have that person represent you.
For more information, read the Practice Direction on Representation before the Landlord and Tenant Board.
If you want to give any evidence at the hearing, such as a document or a picture, you should bring three copies – one for the member, one for the other side and one for you.
If you have witnesses that you want at the hearing, you must arrange for them to come.
If you think your witness will come to the hearing when you ask them to, then simply ask them to come. Make sure they know when and where the hearing will take place.
If you are not sure whether a witness will come, you can ask the LTB to issue a summons by filling out a Request for the Board to Issue a Summons. A summons is a legal document that tells that person to go to the hearing. Send the form to the LTB well in advance of your hearing. For more information, read the Requesting a Summons brochure.
A hearing before the LTB is an important legal matter. It is important that you attend.
If you know before your hearing date that you cannot come to the hearing, you have three choices:
To request a hearing or mediation in French, complete the Request for French-Language Services or Accommodation Request form. A member who speaks French will be assigned to your hearing. Make your request as soon as possible and well in advance of your hearing date.
The LTB does not usually provide interpreters for languages other than French or English. If you want an interpreter with you at the hearing, then you are expected to arrange for someone to interpret for you. This person could be:
The LTB will provide a sign language interpreter (American Sign Language, langue des signes québécoise) or real time captioning for anyone participating in a proceeding who has a hearing impairment. To request a sign language interpreter, complete the Request for French-Language Services or Accommodation Request form. Make your request as soon as possible and well in advance of your hearing.
If you have a disability or another Human Rights Code-related need, you can ask the LTB to make special arrangements (called an accommodation) so that you can have full access to LTB services and participate fully in LTB hearings and mediations.
To make this request, submit the Accommodation Request form. If it is difficult for you to fill out the form, email the office handling your case or call. The email addresses for each office are on the Contact the LTB page.
For more information, please see the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario Accessibility and Accommodation Policy at tribunalsontario.ca under "Accessing our Services".
Note: The following describes the standard process for an oral, video conference or telephone hearing. If you have a written hearing, you will be given instructions in the Notice of Hearing.
When the hearing is over, the member might tell you their decision right away, but often they "reserve" the decision, which means they will take more time to consider your evidence and submissions. In either case, you will receive the decision in writing. This decision is sometimes called an order.
If the landlord files an L1: Application to Evict a Tenant for Non-payment of Rent and to Collect Rent the Tenant owes, or an L9: Application to Collect Rent the Tenant Owes, the tenant can raise concerns about maintenance, illegal charges and other ways they think their landlord is not following the RTA.
For more information on this topic, see the brochure Issues a Tenant can Raise at a Hearing about a Landlord's Application for Non-payment of Rent (Form L1 or L9).
Mediation is a service that the LTB offers for most types of applications. In mediation, a dispute resolution officer talks to the parties to see if they can come to an agreement which settles some or all of the issues in the application. If all of the issues are settled, a hearing is not necessary.
Mediation is voluntary. There will only be mediation if both sides want to try it.
If you do try mediation and you do not settle the issues in the application, your hearing will take place as scheduled. At your hearing, you cannot talk about what was said in mediation, because mediation is confidential.
For more information about mediation, see the brochure: Mediation at the LTB.
Tenant duty counsel is a lawyer or other legal professional who helps tenants on the day of their hearing. The service is offered by Legal Aid Ontario which is independent of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Tenants do not need an appointment to speak with tenant duty counsel. If you want to meet with tenant duty counsel, you should come to your hearing 30 minutes before the start time.
The counter or security staff can tell you where the duty counsel office is. You may need to put your name on a sign-up sheet. Duty counsel won't necessarily see you in the order you arrive. Tenants with a hearing that day who are facing eviction and tenants with emergencies will be seen first.
If your file is called before you have a chance to speak to duty counsel, let the member know that you would like to speak to duty counsel first.
If you are speaking with tenant duty counsel when your hearing is scheduled to begin, you must go to the hearing room and tell the member. If you don't, your hearing may might go ahead without you.
Tenant duty counsel are usually available in-person at all LTB offices, except Sudbury, and at most other hearing sites. In parts of Northwestern Ontario, tenant duty counsel will be available by phone when you call in for your telephone hearing.